Following in the footsteps of another southpaw in Paul Spadafora from western PA is Sammy “The Who Can Mexican” Vasquez, Jr., 8-0 (5), from Monessen H.S. where Michael Moorer also went to school. He served two tours in Iraq as a Calvary Scout while serving in the National Guard from December 2003 to January 2012. He was 2-Time All Army and Armed Forces champion and also PAL champion in 2011-12 winning the outstanding boxer at the PAL with over 200 fights. “Sammy’s intelligence in the ring companied with his belief in himself and physical gifts at his fighting weight make him an extremely tough opponent for anyone. He has very strong legs and seems naturally wakes up in fighting shape, said Capt. Boyd Melson. Melson now 11-1-1 and supports www.justadollarplease.org in support of chronic spinal cord injuries in the US.
“He fought 2 of my fighters Mark Dailey and Jesse Lubash 3 times each and decided to come to our South Park Gym in Pittsburgh in 2007,” said Bob Healy. This writer was at the PA GG finals in Reading, PA, recently and met Healy along with Vasquez cut-man Mike McSorley. The latter is out of the Conn-Greb Boxing Club named after Pittsburgh world champions Billy Conn and Harry Greb. “Vasquez is the real deal. Speed, power, experience and he’s a class act and American war vet,” said McSorley.
Vasquez started boxing at age 9 at the (Ryan) Rimsek Gym at Donora, PA in 1997. He had over 200 amateur fights. Some of the top opponents were Julian Williams (beat 2x PA GG), split with Javonte Starks, now 6-0, from MN, lost to NY Steve Martinez, now 13-1, and Oscar Molina who was on the Mexican Olympic team and now 5-0. At the Olympic trials he lost to Amir Imam now 9-0 and Olympian Errol Spence now 4-0. He became Olympic alternate but instead of going to UK he decided he didn’t want to extend his orders again and was fine with starting his professional career.
“My coach when home is Bob Healy who is like another dad to me. When I am in Colorado Springs coach Charles Leverette trains me,” said Vasquez. He spends a good bit of his time in Colorado with his fiancee DelRae Hoyt of Calhan, Colorado who is expecting their daughter in September. “She is a great mom, cook and independent in having a job. Her daughters Natalee (5) and Bailee (3) are like my own,” said Vasquez. As a kid he attended St. Sebastians church and got away from the church until meeting Del Rae who told him “I take my daughters to church on Sunday (at Rocky Mount Calvary)”. He has since joined them in going to church. “I found my way back to God,” said Vasquez.
In asking him about his tatoo’s which say “Only God Can Judge Me” on his right arm and on his back “215” with another added since I saw him on you –tube he had the following to say: “On my right arm its self explanatory. On my back is a combo birthdate with my best friend Nico Smolec. He was born June “2” and I April “15”. My latest is a family tree with Mexican and American flags. Also a dead leaf due to my mother leaving when I was 11. My dad raised my 3 sisters and I. He is not a boxing man but does everything for me. He is at all weigh-in’s and looks over all my contracts,” said Vasquez. In talking to his dad first he informed me he owns Vasquez Landscaping and is very proud of his son. He is also CEO of TEAM VASQUEZ PROMOTIONS. One of his teammates from the 2008 PA GG team Omar Douglas, now 8-0 reflected on Vasquez back then had this to say, “he was skilled and strong enough to being a pro.”
In turning professional in April of 2012 Vasquez won 2 fights that month in PA and WV. Then in June and July he added another pair of wins. In August he scored his second straight first round stoppage in a row. He ended the year in November with a third in a row stopping George Sosa, then 6-1, in 2:27. In March of 2013 he was on a Golden Boy Promotions show and had his opponent changed 3 times before Leandro Damian Albornoz, then 16-2-1, of Argentina, now FL, was brought in 3 days before the show. “We knew he had a good record and a lot of fights but we were not going home without a fight,” said Vasquez. He stopped the Albornoz winning streak at 9 including a draw in the second round.
In Vasquez’s last fight he defeated tough Hector Orozco, 6-13 the end of March over 6 rounds. “I hurt both hands but that is no excuse. He could really take a punch,” said Vasquez. 16 of Orozco’s opponents were unbeaten of which he beat 3. Vasquez is scheduled to fight May 25th at the Rostraver Ice Garden, in Belle Vernon, PA. His opponent is Ghana’s Ben “The Congo Soldier”Ankrah, 17-14 (8). “I am close to signing with Golden Boy,” said Vasquez.
>Vasquez is a winner as an American soldier putting his life on the line serving two tours in Iraq. Remember the name Sammy “The Who Can Mexican” Vasquez, Jr. You will be hearing it by the end of 2013 quite a bit!
Ken Hissner responds to all his emails at: firstname.lastname@example.org