Vazquez vs. Marquez – Boxing’s True Heavyweights
By Rob Scott (March 4, 2008) Doghouse Boxing (Photo © German Villasenor)  
In the last few years the UFC and other MMA outlets have pitched their product, but once up to bat, they have indeed hit some homeruns. Boxing’s pitches, on the other hand, have allowed the competition to advance to the next base, and like the IBF/WBO heavyweight unification bout between Vladimir Klitschko and Sultan Ibragimov weeks ago, you can see why some feel the sport of boxing has struck out.

In a sport where the perception of its very existence seem to hinge on the condition of the heavyweight division, it
always amazed me when people find it hard to see that, yes the heavyweights are the big boys, but the lower weights can always be seen in a much bigger picture – if only they were to open their eyes

When Israel Vazquez and Rafael Marquez twice met in ’07 for the WBC super bantamweight title, each bout left all who witnessed the action in awe. You name it; skills, wills, thrills and everything that is needed to cure boxing’s ills, were seen in those bouts. With both splitting the first two, a third bout had to be made. In that third bout, as in the previous two, both fighters showed every ingredient of why one ever fell in love with the sport of pugilism in the first place.

From round one on, both fighters displayed heart, soul and mental control, as control of the action shifted back and forth.

A Vazquez left hook wobbled his opponent in the first round; this after Marquez used his jab and boxing skills to control the earlier action. Even after being stunned, Marquez fought his heart out and persevered. In round four, Marquez stunned the defending champion, Vazquez, with a flurry, dropping him to the canvas. After Vazquez made it to his feet, Marquez went in for the kill, but like a wounded animal, Vazquez showed he was still dangerous, wobbling Marquez as he came in.

Without question, the most exciting fights that I have witnessed are the ones that have conjured up the old saying of “It ain’t over until it’s over,” as the aura of either man having the ability to win at any given time made for excellent drama. Back and forth action, then a point deduction in round ten against Marquez, which negated the extra point for the earlier knockdown, created even more of an aura of this bout going to either fighter.

Round twelve was a deciding round, when to Vazquez’s credit, he took the fight to Marquez, making the challenger literally hold on for what seemed like dear life. With ten seconds to go, he scored a knockdown that became the definite final turning point, as a split decision was announced with two cards in favor of Vazquez – one card by only one point.

Now Israel Vazquez moves to 43-4, (31) and Rafael Marquez’s record changes to 37-5, (33); but three bouts on each of their resumes will indelibly be left in the minds and hearts of any true boxing fan.

It can continue to be said that the big boys are the heart and soul of the sport, but the reality is, that thought itself is a big problem against the sport.

In a sport where many of the titles are splintered off between different Organizations, Councils and Federations, that’s OK in this case, because where both may just weigh 122 pounds, Israel Vazquez and Rafael Marquez have shown that they both are true heavyweight champions.


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