Super Bantamweights in the Spotlight! Marquez, Vasquez & Caballero Showcase Boxingís Most Talent Rich Division this Weekend!

caballero03.08.07 - By Rob Tierney, - Itís a connoisseurís weekend! Erik Morales is making another comeback, Kevin Johnson is looking to crack the Heavyweight ranks, and Boxingís most talented division is in the spotlight. Moralesís return and Johnsonís emergence has captured most of the interest thus far. However, itís what Super Bantamweights Rafael Marquez, Israel Vasquez, and Celestino Caballero have in store that is most intriguing to some in what might just be the Sportís finest hour this year.

While the general media has neglected to pay the division its fair due, the 122 pound weight class has forced the fight game junkies and the Boxing video archive collectors to cancel their plans for the upcoming weekend. With the help of the Showtime Network and HBO PPV, four fights including two world titles are on the line all within the 122 pound division.

In a sense, itís boxingís equivalent to the NCAA Basketball tournament. Considering that many of this weekendís winners will look to call out their division rivals in an attempt to sign future pay days, a unification path towards one division champion at 122, in some ways, can be carved out in brackets with this weekend resembling the quarter finals.

The divisionís main attraction this weekend is the highly anticipated rematch between Rafael Marquez and Israel Vasquez for the 122 lbs WBC Title. The fight is set to air on Showtime this Saturday night at 9 pm ET. The first fight earlier this year left Israel with a broken nose and his first loss in five years. However, despite his loss, Vasquez left his mark in the bout when he abruptly seated Marquez on the canvass with a vicious uppercut in the third round of a brutal affair. Together they put together a performance that sits on top of a long list of fights that are already being considered for 2007 Fight of the Year. Tomorrow nightís sequel could shake up the early rankings and throw another candidate in the mix.

On the same Showtime telecast, Celestino Caballero defends his version of the 122 lbs title, the WBA strap, against long time division veteran Jorge Lacierva. Caballero is looking to steal the show. However, Lacierva has been in bigger fights. The fight has been billed as a supporting act for the main event but it is equally significant considering that the winner will position himself as the next logical opponent against either Marquez or Vasquez in a unification fight. Yet, while the Showtime network headlines two of the four title holders at 122 this Saturday night, the future of the weight class is on display on another network.

Bob Arumís Top Rank HBO Pay Per View card headlined by WBC Lightweight Champion David Diaz and legendary challenger Erik Morales also includes two rising Super Bantamweight stars on the under card. Arumís workhorses, Juan Manuel Lopez and Bernabe Concepcion, attempt to leave their own impression on the Super Bantamweight division in the early stages of their promising careers. They fight well respected opponents Hugo Dianzo and Gabriel Elizondo in Chicago this Saturday Night on the Morales-Diaz Championship under card while Marquez, Vasquez, Caballero, and Lacierva look to claim their stake in Hidalgo, Texas on Showtime.

One or both of the two non-title fights on Arumís Pay Per View could find air time depending on what happens with the Ulises Solis versus Rodel Mayol Light Flyweight Championship also featured on the Morales-Diaz under card. All four of the Super Bantamweight fighters should utilize their respective opportunities to earn air time by engaging in exciting warfare. Considering that another prominent under card act, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., has a way of putting opponents to sleep rather quickly leaving extra time for other fighters to see time in the spotlight, anything is possible.

Still, the action doesnít stop this weekend. Next weekend is the second half of what could be called the 122 lbs division quarterfinals when Daniel Ponce De Leon defends his WBO Super Bantamweight Title against undefeated Rey Bautista. Ponce De Leon has been making a name for himself in the division with solid knockout victories. Bautista, on the other hand, is coming off an impressive victory against Sergio Manuel Medina on the Oscar De La Hoya Ė Floyd Mayweather under card this past May. Both of those fighters have a vested interest in what happens this upcoming weekend considering they are on deck for battle next week as well.

However, it isnít just Ponce De Leon and Bautista that cap off the division action next weekend either. On next weekendís card, Jhonny Gonzalez, who is currently fighting at Bantamweight just one division below 122, laces up the gloves against former Ponce De Leon foe Gerry Penalosa. Considering that more lucrative pay days are available at 122 than at 118, Gonzalez could use next weekendís fight against Penalosa to propel himself in the 122 lbs mix as well. Even if his fellow Mexicans Marquez, Vasquez and Ponce De Leon are unwilling to give him a shot, there is IBF champion Steve Molitor from Canada. Molitor also is actively seeking big name fights while embarking towards unification

Yet, regardless of what is to come in future bouts, there are five fights featuring ten fighters in the 122 pound weight class over the next two weeks. The action over the next two weeks is just the initial stages of an exciting process that could eventually lead to a true unified champion. I canít remember a fight featuring Marquez, Vasquez or Gonzalez that didnít include gashes, cuts and a fighter coming off the canvass to score his own knockdowns. Whatever the case, action is guaranteed. Considering that the 122 pound fights make up only a portion of the upcoming weekend schedule, there is plenty for fight fans to get excited about prior to what could be one of 2007ís most exciting weekends.

Article posted on 03.08.2007

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