Some boxers are described to have similar looks to that of a model. In the case of Dominic and Marques Valle, they are boxers who are actual models.
But the Valle brothers, represented by model agency NEXT Management, will be the first to say that boxing is their first and true love. Both Dominic and Marques have been able to juggle the life of a model and of a boxer fairly well. To them, it’s always boxing that takes precedence. Dominic even put off a photo shoot in order to focus for his pro debut on March 12 as part of the undercard for a Boxeo Telemundo in Plant City.
“Boxing’s always first. When things come up (for modeling), we’ll let them know if we’re free. If we got a fight coming up, like I was supposed to do a modeling job next week or something, I told them I couldn’t because boxing’s No. 1 on our list,” Dominic said.
Growing up as part of a Puerto Rican family, it was hard to not get swept up by the emotion that swelled inside of them watching Miguel Cotto fights on television. After all, Cotto was the biggest boxing star the island had in the mid-2000s to early-2010s.
It was also Cotto who inspired them to put on boxing gloves and lace up their boots.
The first Cotto fight Dominic can remember was his win over Zab Judah in 2007, a fight he credits that got him to be excited to be a boxer. Marques vividly remembers Cotto showcasing his toughness against Shane Mosley in 2007 as well, saying the Puerto Rican champion “was like a bull” in that bout.
“For as long as I can remember, I always loved boxing. We all got together and Cotto fights were an event. I don’t know what it was, but something in me was like, ‘This is something I want to do.’ Since then, for as long as I remember, that’s what I wanted to do with my life,” Dominic said.
“The crowds cheering for him and him fighting for Puerto Rico is exactly what I want and I know it’s what [Dominic] wants as well. That’s our dream.”Marques Valle
Becoming pro boxers was never the intended plan for either brother. Marques tried boxing when he was nine years old and promptly left after one fight. There was no major reason for his departure, but the sweet science’s siren-like call remained, and it was something that he could not ignore.
Even when he and Dominic took up boxing as teenagers, they were not initially trying to make a career out of it. But the more they tried it, the more they realized they were not satisfied with a casual approach. They wanted to go all the way.
“I had one fight when I was nine. It’s just kind of in our family. We tried it out. I didn’t stick to it for no reason as a kid. Later on, I was constantly watching boxing, watching Cotto fights. It lit a fire and I wanted to push to go to the gym. It didn’t start with me wanting to fight, but just train boxing. As soon my brother and I went to a fitness gym, I thought, ‘I don’t want this. I want to fight. We want to make something out of this.’ That’s what we did,” Marques said.
Despite not speaking a lot of Spanish, the two brothers want to represent Puerto Rico with the same pride they felt watching boxing when they were kids. Even when they describe their boxing styles, they don’t shy away from channeling their inner Boricua.
“I know with our styles, we’re going to get fans very excited to fight. We’re bringing back that old style that Puerto Ricans used to have. They would go in there and try to take your head off and add beautiful boxing with it.”Dominic Valle
“From what I’ve been told, since I started, people tell me I have a similar style to Tito Trinidad, so I would say around there. I hit hard, I don’t get tired, I’m smart. That’s more where I’m leaning towards,” Marques said.
Although starting out relatively late as amateurs compared to some of boxing’s current top stars, they found immediate success. Marques was a silver medalist in the 2018 Men’s Nationals as well as a being a 2020 Team USA Olympic Trials participant. Dominic, who had a reported 43-3 record as an amateur, was victorious in the 2016 National Silver Gloves and 2018 National Junior Olympics.
As pros, the duo are promoted by Garry Jonas and managed by Tim VanNewhouse of Split-T Management, a name perhaps familiar to some as the entity that manages unified lightweight world champion Teofimo Lopez. Even Marques got some valuable sparring experience, going toe-to-toe with current unified junior welterweight champion Jose Ramirez.
Marques was already victorious as a pro, winning his debut last year with a 93-second knockout against Jernato Harris. Marques is the first to admit that he was a bit nervous heading into the ring, but once that opening bell sounded, that nervousness and anxiety went away.
Neither him nor Dominic are concerned about their upcoming fight on March 12. Even as Dominic prepares for his pro debut, he feels more relaxed than he was when he was an amateur fighter. There’s no doubt that Marques’ small piece of advice, from one pro to one making his debut, certainly helped relieve Dominic of some of that stress. Even with the current pandemic still present in the United States, Dominic and Marques hope to have a busy 2021 with five or six fights each under their belt.
“I told him all the hard work that we’ve put in, it just shows. As soon as the bell rings, it just comes naturally. That’s how it was for me,” Marques said.
They also realized that March 12 is just the first of many, many steps to their ultimate goal. They don’t just want to carry on Puerto Rico’s legacy of greatness in boxing. To have the Valle name etched into immortality, that is what they feel is their destiny.
“I’m looking for us to be the best boxing brothers in history, with no doubt or not even a debate about it. We put in the hard work and we work harder than anyone I know. To do it together, put our name together, we’re going to show the world,” Dominic said.
However, it is up to them to make that destiny into a reality.