|Vazquez vs Marquez III: A Fight For The Fans - Part II
By Gabriel Montoya (March 1, 2008) Doghouse Boxing (Photo © German Villasenor)
Tonight fight fans get one of those rare gifts from the sport. Tonight from the Home Depot Center in Carson, CA televised by Showtime, Rafael Marquez and Israel Vazquez do battle for the third consecutive time to close out what many are calling one of the greatest trilogies of al time. This one promises to be as good as boxing gets. These two fighters are what boxing should be all about. Each gives each other nothing but respect outside the ring and no quarter inside of it. No hype necessary. No trash talking to be heard. Just brutal honesty between the ropes.
In the first bout, both men gave as good as they got but it was Marquez with his superior boxing skills that edged out Vazquez by breaking his nose and causing him to end the contest on his stool before the sixth round. “I sat on my stool and thought about continuing,” said Vazquez at the final presser. “ But I realized that this is a sport and that I could have a better day some other time.” A warrior knows when to fight another day and Vazquez’ decision to end it early proved a wise decision. “Some of my fans understood my decision; others did not. Some media members said I was a quitter and that I could have continued. I wanted to prove to all of those who doubted me that I was more than capable to beat Marquez. (But) I did not put any pressure on myself to beat him the second time around. The only feeling I had was the need for revenge.”
In the rematch, both men picked up where the first fight left off. Brutal exchanges were the nom in this mini Castillo/Corrales. The problem with this was that Marquez remembered the brawl of the first fight while ignoring what got him ahead; his boxing skills. “I never make excuses or blame anybody for what happens to me in the ring,” said Marquez of the loss. “But I lost focus during the last fight. I know I did not underestimate Vazquez. But I made mistakes I don’t usually make. I never leave myself open with my hands down the way I did in our rematch. I had to review the tape to
realize the mistakes I made. I didn’t do what I had to do in the ring. It was many things.”
For the brawl first, ask questions later Vazquez, the tempo, inside game terrain, and the mentality of the rematch proved all good as he fought his way inside and despite a rocky moment or more, he badly hurt and stopped Marquez in the sixth. “I really wanted to show the world I was stronger and better than Marquez; that my strategy and conditioning would be too much for over him. I was so excited when the referee stopped the fight and I won. I was screaming like crazy because everything worked out that night.”
Now we get a third fight in a row between the two fighters. In an age where it isn’t uncommon for championship level fighters to get in the ring once a year, it’s an unprecedented move that hopefully sends a message to the other elites in the sport. From neither fighter have we heard show me the money or if it makes dollars it makes sense. The need to simply prove who is the better fighter is what motivates both men. “If I had revenge on my mind the second time around,” says Vazquez, “You can bet that now I want to make sure that everybody knows that I am the best of the two.”
“I feel different for this fight,” says Marquez. “I know this is something special that we are doing and because of that I trained even harder. I’m always confident but since losing I changed things around so I would feel more focused.”
What we can learn from the first two fights to determine a winner in the third is pretty clear. If Marquez comes to box first and fight second, his chance of winning increases exponentially. “I did learn something from the loss. I learned that for this fight, I need to box intelligently in order to win,” says Marquez.
For Vasquez to be successful, a brawl-like war of attrition must take place. “Marquez is going to have to fight me,” says Vazquez. “But I will push him around. I will put pressure on him to get him off his rhythm, to make him change his strategy. If he wants to beat me he has to fight me blow-by-blow. No other way around it. But I will not give him that opportunity.”
One thing both men can agree on is that this will be a fight to remember. After all, chemistry this good only comes around every so often.
“This is a fight the fans have been waiting for and the press has been waiting for and one I know I have been waiting for. Saturday is going to be a great night for boxing,” says Vazquez. “I have faced other great fighters in my career. I have had some rough fights against Jhonny Gonzalez and Oscar Larios, but because of the intensity of the two matches against Marquez and the way our fighting styles are, this is an all time classic.”
Says Marquez, “This fight definitely has the possibility of being better than the last two.’’
Amen to that.
It’s hard to pick between fighters I admire so much. With a fight like this, it’s the fans that truly win. But if you twist my arm, I’ll go with Marquez by decision. I see him picking back up the little things that won him the first fight; namely his jab and movement. With both guys knowing and respecting each other after the first two fights, I see this one being just as brutal but with a few more gaps in action. Marquez has to know when to fight and when to back off in order to win and in my opinion he will do just that en route to a majority decision.
Look for an exclusive one on one with Zab Judah in the coming week.
Gabriel at: Coyotefeather@gmail.com
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