Sharkie’s Machine: Vazquez vs Marquez III Their Best Fight Yet!
By Frank Gonzalez Jr., Exclusive to Doghouse Boxing (March 3, 2008) All Photos © German Villasenor  
Rafael Marquez (37-5, 33 KO’s) and WBC Super Bantamweight champion, Israel Vazquez (43-4, 32 KO’s), two of the “best pound for pound” fighters in all of boxing, electrified the crowd with a rubber match to best all rubber matches Saturday night at the Home Depot Center in Carson California.

This may be the best fight of the year! But the year is still young and we may see Marquez vs. Vazquez IV before 2008 waves bye-bye. This last fight started with Marquez’ jab dictating the tempo early, to a lot of back and forth dominance
in the mid rounds, to Vazquez effectively landing big power shots that saw Marquez on the brink of collapse.

These guys fought for three minutes of every round. They didn’t talk any trash and showed plenty of class. There was no fabricated bad blood at the press conference, no angry stare downs or posturing, no pawing, not much talking at all, just plenty of non-stop action. These were some of the fastest rounds of boxing I’ve ever watched.

Marquez’ jab was the story of the early portion of the fight. It was most effective when it kept Vazquez just outside his reach to counter.

Vazquez can best be described by one word: Dangerous. He’s got the power to end a fight with one punch and the will to execute his plan. He made little adjustments to get closer and closer to Marquez as the rounds grew thicker and landed his powerful punches on the inside that started to break Marquez down and limit his effectiveness when it mattered most; late in the fight.

Vazquez targeted Marquez’ left eye, which was swelling shut. Marquez showed some amazing boxing skills and huge heart as he landed plenty of good power shots that often saw the tide turn in the late stages of a round. He stole a couple of rounds by rallying late with crowd pleasing aggression that was effective. The referee did a good job and made the right calls when needed. Marquez lost a point for a low punch after repeated warnings and in the last moment of the final round—well, read the round by round coverage below and see what I saw.

The Fight

Round One
Marquez led with his jab, following with rights and combos in spots. Marquez landed a nice body shot. Marquez in charge until Vazquez started landing some power shots that hurt Marquez, including an uppercut to the chin late in the round. Marquez went back to the jab and retakes the momentum as the bell sounds. Vazquez left eye reddened. 10-9 Marquez.

Round Two
Vazquez used his jab to get in closer and was effective. Vazquez landed a clean right. In close, Vazquez is dangerous. Marquez jabbed outside to retake a moment of the tempo. Vazquez pressured Marquez and during the exchanges, landed the bigger punches. Marquez best scores came from the jab. Vazquez landed a right hook and uppercut that stunned Marquez. A great fight as they exchange punches until Vazquez landed a big right as the bell rang. 10-9 Vazquez.

Round Three
Marquez looked great throwing his jab. Vazquez double jab stunned Marquez. Marquez kept landing his jab and an occasional right to follow. Marquez landed a low blow and gets a light warning from referee Pat Russell. 10-9 Marquez.

Round Four
Vazquez led with pressure, always punching and landing something. Marquez landed a strong right. Lot of action. Marquez landed more often but with less pop in his punches. Head butt occurred. Vazquez looked to suffer more from the butt. Marquez clocked Vazquez with a right and Vazquez was hurt and covered up. Marquez came forward and unleashed punches, many that scored and a right put Vazquez down for a count. Vazquez got up quick, and then rocked Marquez with a left hook and a double overhand right and was chasing Marquez down—as if HE was going for the finish! Incredible! Marquez came back with a solid left hook followed by an uppercut that stunned Vazquez. What a battle! 10-8 Marquez.

Vazquez corner told him to stay on the inside.

Round Five
Marquez was fighting ‘long,’ popping his jab and doing his best work when he kept Vazquez on the outside and at a distance. It was a very technical display from Marquez, who also did some work to the body. All Marquez, jabbing and controlling the action. Vazquez landed a big right hand to Marquez face near the ropes. Marquez 10-9.

Round Six
Marquez’ jab is the story of the fight so far. Vazquez landed a few good right hands. Vazquez got Marquez on the ropes and went to work, landing at will with good clean shots that were hurting Marquez. Another low blow by Marquez, referee warned him strongly, saying he’d take a point next time. They traded shots and Marquez landed another low punch unnoticed by the referee. 10-9 Vazquez.

By the midpoint, Marquez looked clean and uncut. Vazquez had a gash over one eye, reddening over the other one.

Round Seven
Vazquez was more aggressive and worked his way in close where he didn’t mind taking a shot to deliver one of his own. Marquez’ right eye started to close and Vazquez was aiming that way. Vazquez took the momentum as he kept his right hand in the face and body of Marquez. Marquez landed a left hook to the jaw of Vazquez. Left upper cut by Marquez, who stole the round with a crowd pleasing rally, relentless to the bell. 10-9 Marquez.

Round Eight
Lots of action! Both try to reassert themselves quickly. Marquez jabs, Vazquez shot power punches into Marquez face and body. They switch roles and scored. What a GREAT fight! Big right by Vazquez rocked Marquez. Vazquez pressed Marquez toward the ropes and shot his combinations with no regard for the return fire. The tide is turning. Vazquez’s power started to take over. 10-9 Vazquez.

Round Nine
Marquez makes it a boxing match, staying away, moving and popping his jab up or down. Vazquez effectively pressed forward into the chest of Marquez maintained control of the round, mindful to crack Marquez with heavy rights until about 10 seconds to go, when Marquez rocked Vazquez with a left uppercut, right cross combination that wobbled Vazquez just before the bell. 10-9 Vazquez.

Round Ten
Lots of back and forth action. Vazquez pursued Marquez with his jab, forcing him towards the ropes and letting the leather fly. Marquez landed a nice combination that caused Vazquez to hold. Marquez popped a power right straight into Vazquez face. Marquez landed another low punch and the ref stopped the action to take a point from Marquez, who protested the call. Vazquez moved in and Marquez had something for his ass as he peppered him with clean combinations that turned Vazquez’ offense back into defense. The bell rang. Damn…how do you score this round? 10-9 Vazquez compliments of the point deduction.

Round Eleven
Vazquez was taking aim at Marquez’ left eye, which was swollen like a fat lip and closing fast. Marquez takes a lot of shots to the face. Marquez moved a lot on defense. Vazquez kept on him. Marquez landed a few good shots but Vazquez landed more and heavier. Feels like Marquez is fading until with ten seconds left, Marquez lit up like a firecracker and the burst into fisticuffs until the bell sounded. What a fight!! 10-9 Vazquez.

Round Twelve
Vazquez landed a crushing right, they slugged it out. Vazquez the hunter, Marquez, the hunted. Vazquez rocked Marquez with a left hook to the face, followed by a right and a clinch initiated by Marquez. Right hook Vazquez, Vazquez combo. Marquez running. Marquez held on. Vazquez goes for the knockout and lands a slew of punches that staggered Marquez, who clinched. Vazquez landed shoeshine upstairs, Marquez staggers into ropes from a series of Vazquez punches. Marquez held onto the ropes but it was clear by his rubbery legs and that confused look on his face that he was down. If the ropes weren’t there, he’d have fallen down for certain. The ref rightly counted. Marquez was up and protesting the call. The bell rang. It was over. 10-8 Vazquez with a BANG, not a whimper.

The official Judges scores: Max DeLuca had it 114-111 for Marquez. Tom Kazmarik scored it 114-111 for Vazquez and Dr. James Jen Kin had it 113-112 for Vazquez.

Congratulations to Israel Vazquez, who won by Split Decision.

During the post fight interviews, both expressed an interest in a fourth fight. I think Vazquez has too big a chin and too strong a right hand for Marquez, who was on the verge of being knocked out in the waning moments of the last two fights. But no matter, their rivalry is the stuff boxing history is made of. As of Saturday, the score is Marquez 1, Vazquez 2. They battled three times now and there’s never been a dull moment yet. There was blood, head butts, low blows, excellent boxing skills, exciting brawls, some knockdowns, rarely a clinch, and even a little controversy at the end to keep things spicy. Maybe they can arrange something for this coming August?

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