LOS ANGELES – Before Israel Vazquez (42-4, 32 KOs) and Rafael Marquez (37-4, 33 KOs) renew boxing’s most exciting rivalry on Saturday night, fight fans get to catch young, promising, fighters on the under card of the most highly anticipated rubber match of the year. Some of the boxers boast ties to the well-regarded, prospect-based series, ShoBox: The New Generation (Showtime), which has produced 23 current or former world champions in its six year history..
One of the most exciting attractions on the under card and the last fight before fans lay witness to Vazquez-Marquez III, is the six-round super lightweight battle between Jorge Paez, Jr. (18-1, 10 KOs) of Mexicali, Mexico and Felipe Campana (4-3-3, 3 KOs) of San Diego, Calif.
Paez, the son of former world champion Jorge Paez, Sr., is promoted by San Diego-based Sycuan Ringside Promotions.
“I’m looking forward to giving sports fans an exciting fight that will lead up to the great showdown between Israel Vazquez and Rafael Marquez,” said Paez, who is coming off a six round unanimous decision win against Aaron Drake in October 2007.
“I want to show the audience what I have and look good doing it.”
Another prospect to look out for comes from the Gary Shaw Productions camp and is a ShoBox alum Antonio De Marco (17-1-1, 13 KOs) of San Diego. De Marco’s opponent for the eight round super lightweight bout has yet to be finalized.
“I’m not worried about having to wait for an opponent for this fight,” said De Marco, who has won his last ten fights. “I’ll be able to adjust to my opponent’s style once the fight starts.”
Prospect Nick Casal (16-2-1, 12 KOS) of Niagara Falls, N.Y. is going up against the savvy James Wayka (15-6, 8 KOs) of Mounds View, Minn. in a six round super lightweight bout.
Casal last fought on ShoBox against De Marco in September 2007 in what turned out to be a hard fought loss for the New York native.
Making his fifth start in six months and sixth appearance at Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez, Calif., DeMarco opened up a brutal cut at the top of Casal’s nose in the seventh round and cut his opponent’s lip with punishing combinations throughout.
Despite suffering a brutal cut and trailing on the scorecards, Casal never backed down and brought the raucous crowd to its feet with a courageous effort at the end of the 10th round. However, Casal absorbed too much punishment and lost for the second time in three fights.
The last ShoBox alum to watch closely is the undefeated and scorching hot Yonnhy Perez (14-0, 11 KOs) of Santa Fe Springs, Calif., by way of Cartagena, Columbia. Perez tests his undefeated record against the experienced Alejandro Becerra (19-5, 9 KOs) of El Paso, Texas in an eight round bantamweight bout.
In Perez’ last outing, the talented, undefeated bantamweight improved to 14-0 with 11 knockouts with a dominant, impressive fourth-round stoppage over comebacking Alexander Fedorov (18-4-1, 10 KOs) Friday, Oct. 5, 2007 on “ShoBox: The New Generation.’’
The five-foot-seven-inch Perez is big for a bantamweight and his size, strength and punching power were too much for Fedorov.
“There’s still work to be done and I know I can get better, especially when it comes to cutting off the ring. But I feel I’m ready to step up and take on any of the top guys in the division,’’ said Perez, who won all the rounds on the three judges’ scorecards before the fight was stopped 44 seconds into the fourth.
“Learning-wise, this was a good fight for me and it being on television made it even better. I am very happy, extremely satisfied. The guy was tough, awkward and moved a lot. But I know I can hit, and if I can hurt an opponent, I can finish him. So I am not surprised the referee stopped it when he did.”
A four-time Colombian national amateur champion, Perez was cut over the left eye in the third round, but it was not a factor. “I was never hurt,’’ he said. “The best is yet to come.’’
Israel Vazquez and Rafael Marquez I and II produced the most exciting, bloody, give-and-take slugfests of 2007 and inevitably has led to one of the most highly anticipated rubber matches in history. Now they battle for the World Boxing Council (WBC) 122-pound title, The Ring Magazine 122-pound title and super bantamweight supremacy in the third and final chapter of boxing’s best rivalry in recent memory in Vazquez-Marquez III “Final Confrontation,” Saturday, March 1, 2008 from The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
Vazquez – Marquez III, which headlines an exciting night of world-class boxing action, will be presented by Gary Shaw Promotions, in association with Sycuan Ringside Promotions, Golden Boy Promotions and Romanza Boxing Productions. Tickets, priced at $300, $150, $75, $50 and $25, are now on sale and may be purchased at The Home Depot Center Box Office, open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, at all TicketMaster retail ticket locations, as well as www.Ticketmaster.com and TicketMaster-Charge-by-Phone, by calling 213-480-3232.
The showdown will be televised live on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING beginning at 9 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast).