Marquez evens the score with Vazquez
Ringside by Francisco Salazar
Photography by “Big” Joe Miranda
After almost three rounds of action on Saturday night between Rafael Marquez and Israel Vazquez produced two deep cuts over Vazquez eyes, a knockdown, and a brutal barrage of punches at one another, both fighters agreed on one thing.
A possible fifth fight.
Maybe it is the respect both fighters have for one another, but that would be a hard sell, even for die hard boxing fans.
Marquez evened the score in one of boxing’s greatest rivalries, stopping his fellow Mexico City neighbor before a boisterous crowd of 9,200 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, CA.
The bout headlined a five-bout “Once and Four all” card, presented by Gary Shaw Productions and Golden Boy Promotions.
As if the previous three fights between the two fighters could not have generated anymore buzz amongst writers and fight fans, there was excitement and anticipation about Saturday night. There was hope that their fourth fight would pick up where they left off from their third fight and the fireworks that would follow.
However, did both fighters have anything left in them? Especially after the war both had over two years ago down interstate 110 from STAPLES Center at the Home Depot Center in Carson.
There was also concern for Vazquez, who was not at his best in knocking out Angel Priolo in the ninth round of a scheduled 12 round bout in October. Aside from ring rust, Vazquez’s defense was flawed as Priolo landed a fair share of punches over Vazquez. Not to mention that Vazquez had surgery on his right eye last year.
In his last bout, Marquez stopped Jose Francisco Mendez in the third round of a scheduled 10 round bout one day removed from exactly a year ago.
Both fighters fought on the inside from the opening bell. Marquez was busier, landing often and the more effective punches in the round. Almost halfway through the first round, a cut opened over Vazquez’ left eye from a Marquez right hand.
“That was the plan, to go directly at his eyes,” said Marquez, immediately after the fight.
Vazquez had a better second round, going at Marquez and landing right hands to the head. Marquez took them well, firing back short left hooks and straight right hands to the head.
At the beginning of the third round, Vazquez was cut over his right eye from an accidental head butt. Vazquez fought on bravely, not backing down because of the disadvantage of having blood seep into his eyes.
However, Marquez was able to score a knockdown with a right hand to the head of Vazquez. After getting up, Vazquez was met by a barrage of punches from Marquez. A three-punch combination sent Vazquez backwards, prompting referee Raul Caiz, Jr. to stop the bout at 1:33.
This was Marquez’ first bout without his longtime trainer, Nacho Beristain. In his corner was former world champion, Daniel Zaragoza, who also was a victim of suffering cuts over his eyes during his career. For that, Marquez was pleased in having Zaragoza in his corner.
“Zaragoza was very accurate in his planning,” said Marquez, who is promoted by Gary Shaw. Today, I felt the difference in having him in my corner. He wraps my hands better than Nacho. I think that Vazquez is a great fighter and a better human being.”
Asked about a fifth fight, Marquez replied, “I’m willing to do it. That all depends on my managers and my promoter.”
“If the people in my corner and the people want it, I’ll take it. I’m happy because we gave the fans four great fights. I think I need five to six months, plus surgery to recover.”
Although Vazquez lost the fight, he took nothing away from Marquez and feels physically fine despite the deep cuts.
“I feel okay. I can see and everything. But I need to take care of my eyes. He hit me with a good shot and the cut opened up. I didn’t know I was cut until I saw the blood. It was affecting me though.”
Márquez, from México City, DF, México, improves to 39-5, 34 KO’s. Vázquez, from Huntington Park, CA by way of Mexico City, DF, Mexico, drops to 44-5, 33 KO’s.
Mares-Perez draw in war
In the co-feature bout, Bantamweight titleholder Yonnhy Perez and challenger Abner Mares fought to a 12 round majority decision draw. With the draw, Perez retains his world title.
Both fighters are very familiar to one another. They fought each other in the amateurs and reside in the greater Los Angeles area after migrating from their native countries.
The Colombian-born Perez won his world title by out pointing Joseph Agbeko in October of last year. Mares, who acknowledged that he and Perez are acquaintances out of the ring, represented Mexico in the 2004 Olympics in Athens.
Mares started strong in the opening two rounds. He pressed the action and was rewarded by landing straight right hands to the head of Perez. Working from the center of the ring, Perez tried to counter as Mares came at him.
Perez pressed the action in the third round, letting his hands go. Perez found a home with left hooks to the head of Mares, who suddenly began backing up. Perez was more accurate as he stood and traded at times with his younger counterpart.
Perez controlled the middle rounds with left hooks to the head, occasionally going to the body. He continually stalked Mares around the ring, as Mares attempted to use angles to counter Perez. At times, Mares was able to land a straight right hand to the head or body of Perez.
However, Perez had a strong seventh round, where he landed a couple of hard right hands to the head of Mares.
By the ninth round, Mares looked as though he was getting a second wind and took more the initiative in the fight. He was much busier than in the middle rounds, even stunning Perez with a right hand to the head.
Mares had a strong 11th round, landing the harder and more accurate punches as Perez began to slow down considerably. He also began backing up as Mares began to move forward and had more spring to his step.
Perez started the 12 round well, landing what was working well for him throughout the fight: left hooks to the head. However, Mares controlled the last minute of the round, landing a series of hard shots to the head of Perez. Both fighters traded hard punches until the final bell sounded.
One judge (Marty Denkin) scored the bout 115-113 for Mares, while the other two judges (Gwen Adair and Regina Williams) scored the bout 114-114. Fightnews.com scored the bout 115-113 in favor of Mares.
“I won the fight,” said Perez, who is also promoted by Thompson Boxing Promotions. “It was not a draw. I’m wiling to fight a rematch, but it’s up to my promoters. He’s a good fighter, but he never hurt me.”
The soft-spoken Mares was visibly disappointed and very outspoken about the decision.
“I’m really sad because I really thought I won the fight,” said Mares, who had the majority of the crowd cheering for him throughout the fight. “I fight for the crowd and the people. The crowd saw that I won the fight. The judges didn’t. In the last round, I thought I was going to knock him out. I’ll fight him again, but if there are other good fights out there, I will take them.”
Perez, from Santa Fe Springs, CA by way of Cartagena, Colombia, goes to 20-0-1, 14 KO’s. Mares, from Hawaiian Gardens, CA by way of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, goes to 20-0-1, 13 KO’s.
In a six round junior middleweight bout, undefeated Rodrigo Garcia was the unanimous decision winner over veteran Taronze Washington. Washington, who has fought such big names as Andre Berto, Vanes Martirosyan and Alfred Angulo, was available to be hit but Garcia never fully committed to going for the knockout. Garcia, who bears an uncanny resemblance to Oscar De La Hoya, improves to 7-0 (5KO) while Washington drops to 14-13 (7KO).
In an eight round junior welterweight affair, Carlos Molina labored to win a lackluster unanimous decision victory over steppingstone Humberto Tapia. Both fighters fought only in spurts but Molina landed the harder shots over his taller, lankier opponent. The action finally picked up some in the seventh and eigth rounds with Molina getting the best of Tapia. Molina improves to 12-0 (6KO) while Tapia drops to 15-13-1 (8KO).
In opening action, a six round junior lightweight contest, Ronny Rios outworked the game Guadalupe DeLeon to emerge as the unanimous decision victor. There were no knockdowns in the fight and neither fighter was seriously hurt despite fighting shoulder to shoulder the entire fight and trading heavy shots. With the victory, Rios keeps his record unblemished and improves to 11-0 (5KO) while DeLeon drops to 8-11 (4KO). To date, including DeLeon, only one opponent on Rios’ resume has had a winning record.
- Featherweight champion Juan Manuel Lopez, Interim world champion Alfredo Angulo, former world champion-turned promoter Oscar De La Hoya, former world champion Fernando Vargas, Featherweight prospect Charles Huerta, Lightweight prospect Luis Ramos, trainer Freddie Roach, and NFL star wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald all took in the action at ringside.
- Thompson Boxing Promotions and Zanfer Promotions also assisted in the promotion of the card.
- The 2010 Amgen Tour of California time trials were taking place along the streets outside of STAPLES Center. Cyclists zipped in front of STAPLES Center as fight fans waited for the doors to open on a sunny and picturesque Saturday afternoon in Southern California.
- Gus Johnson, Al Bernstein, and Antonio Tarver called the action from ringside for Showtime.
- Ring announcer was Jimmy Lennon, Jr. for the televised portion of the card. Joe Martinez was the ring announcer for the non-televised portion.