Sharkies Machine Vasquez TKO's Marquez in 6!

rafael marquez04.08.07 - Photo: TOM CASINO/SHOWTIME - In a serious candidate for Fight of the Year, and a third round that could be the Round of the Year, Israel Vazquez won a spectacular, bloody, exciting, give-and-take slugfest and the WBC super bantamweight title with a sixth-round TKO over Rafael Marquez in their highly anticipated rematch Saturday on SHOWTIME.

By Frank Gonzalez Jr. Wow! That’s the best word to describe the rematch battle between WBC Super Bantam Champion, Rafael Marquez (37-4, 33KO’s) and Israel Vasquez (42-4, 31 KO’s). This is what its all about, the two best fighters in the boxing division facing each other.

There was no “bad blood” at the press conference, no over hype job on how much they don’t like each other, no overdone ring entrances; just plain old fashioned fisticuffs, the way it ought to be. So move over Ali Frazier, step aside Barrera Morales, Rafael Marquez vs. Israel Vasquez…not only do their names rhyme down the line but they’re proving to be one of the best boxing rivalries I’ve ever seen in boxing. Funny thing about rivalries, they usually consist of great fighters fighting each other.

It was an exciting contest from the on set, with both guys boxing skillfully and taking moments to slug it out in between. There was none of that boring, tap-tap and run business that have made other fighters so famous. No, this was a fight that reminded me of eras past. Two guys in the ring, with full respect for each other and yet, there to rip each other to shreds with boxing gloves.

When they met last March, it was a great fight, as intense as any we’ve ever seen. Marquez was executing his battery of boxing skills and landing the cleaner punches, winning the early rounds until Vasquez, the dangerous puncher, put Marquez on his seat in the third round compliments of a vicious left hook followed by a right. Marquez continued to win the boxing match until he landed a big shot that broke Vasquez’ nose in a manner that caused Vasquez to retire on his stool. Marquez walked away with victory. Vasquez was smart enough to know when to walk away and come again some other day.

That ‘some other day’ came Saturday night in Hidalgo Texas, where these two Champions met again to solve the question of who was the better fighter. This time, Vasquez kept the pace with Marquez and was able to trade punches at a higher ratio. Marquez, for the excellent boxer that he is, made the mistake of hooking with a hooker and Vasquez was able to land his left hooks over Marquez’s left hooks and do considerable damage.

They fought back and forth for six rounds, by which time I had it scored even when in the sixth, Vasquez landed a short inside left hook that put Marquez down. Marquez got up quickly but was visibly shaken. When action resumed, Vasquez jumped all over him and tried to finish. Vasquez was capitalizing on Marquez’ weakened state and kept pressing with punches. Marquez fought on bravely, finding himself against the ropes and hardly throwing anything back. He had a look in his eyes that was unfamiliar and
his legs were rubbery. Vasquez continued to apply the pressure when Marquez ate some stinging shots and sort of slid backwards along the ropes looking ready to go down when the referee, Guadalupe Garcia moved in and waved Marquez out.

There will be controversy about the stoppage of course but a good referee has to have a feel for the fighters safety and Rafael Marquez, for just that moment, looked about to go down from all the punches and not having regained his legs after the knockdown. Upon further review, good arguments can be made that the stoppage was quick but I don’t disagree with the call. Marquez is a warrior and he’ll be back. Just like Vasquez did last time.

The only logical thing in the boxing world is that these guys fight a rubber match, to show whose got less rubber in their legs next time up. They are great fighters who leave no doubt that the rubber match will be as exciting as the last two encounters.

Both will have time to refine their techniques for dealing with each other. Marquez should be mindful of Vasquez’ left hook, how he lost this fight and what approach might best suit him next time they meet. As for Vasquez, the most important thing he can do is come in the best possible condition. He will need good speed and stamina if he is to keep pace with the aggressively
effective Rafael Marquez.

Congratulations and thanks to both Vasquez and Marquez for a most memorable fight. If the pound for pound rankings were more in tune with realism, either of these two would be at the pinnacle of that ranking.

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Article posted on 05.08.2007

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