Boxing


Vazquez defeats Marquez in an Amazing Fight

vazquez marquezBy Anthony Coleman, photo by Tom Casino/Showtime: Daaaaaammmmnnnnn!!!!! Now that is what makes Professional Boxing such a great sport. A week after Wladimir Klitschko and Sultan Ibragimov would give the world one of the worst Heavyweight title fights in recent memory, Israel Vazquez and Rafael Marquez would fight for the third and final(?) time, and once again put on a hell of a show. This was clearly the best fight of the series, and that is saying a lot seeing how special those first two fights were.

In the end Vazquez would win a razor close decision via and amazing 12th round in which he knocked Marquez down and came very close to stopping him, but there was no real losers in this fight. This was one of those rare boxing matches (and yes this was a contest worthy of the label of “boxing match”), in which both men were elevated because of their performances, and in the end the crowd was treated to another superb fight. This fight is a certifiable instant classic.

The fight started off with Marquez dominating the action behind his movement and slick jab. In my score card he swept the first 3 rounds. Then round four happened, and Marquez would badly stun then drop Vazquez with a right cross. Sensing his man being hurt, Marquez stalked for the kill, and then got badly buzzed by Vazquez in return. Marquez managed to stay on his feet and fight back in return. Great, great round of boxing; perhaps better than their legendary 3 round from their first rematch.

Then starting in round five the ebb switched in Vazquez’s favor with him starting to come on strong with his pressure, double jab and he started unveiling his right cross, which sent Marquez off guard. He was obviously preparing for the champ’s wrecking ball left hook, but the right cross began scoring often and gave him considerable trouble.

The middle rounds was back and forth with both men taking turns pummeling each other with their power shots and fighting with technical precision. It was the best of both worlds. Then in the late rounds, Vazquez began to impose his strength on Marquez and it was he beginning to set the agenda. Yet still when the fight went into the final round, the outcome was still up for grabs and there for the taking by either men. And the champ took it.

Vazquez came out like a man possessed and immediately landed a huge overhand right in the opening seconds. From that point on Marquez was battered from every corner of the ring and just trying to hold on for dear life as the bell rang while Vazquez was unloading with that right hand. Finally Vazquez would pin Marquez in the corner with another right cross and forced him into the ropes and referee Pat Russell did the correct thing and ruled it a knockdown. Then when the final bell rang Vazquez was announced as the winner via split decision with the deciding card of giving him the nod via one point. Personally I have no idea who won this fight. It was that close of a fight that is why neither man is diminished either way. They are still two of boxing’s pound-for-pound elite.

But even more important is the series standing in history. This is clearly one of the greatest trilogies in the history of the sport. You could argue if it is better than Gatti-Ward, Ali-Frazier, Barrera-Morales or Zale-Graziano, but it is clearly in the discussion for greatest of all time. All three fights featured sustained ferocious action, and great boxing skills. Marquez and Vazquez used timing, ring-generalship, combination punching and defense to good advantage. And the third fight was a great capper because it featured so many changes in momentum and dramatic moments that it had you intrigued all the way through it.

In late 2006, when the first fight was announced, I was excited because I knew that they would produced a truly great fight. In the end these two men exceeded my expectations with their series, and it is the kind of fight you’d show to get people interested in the sport. While both men aren’t the name brand stars of Roy Jones or Mayweather, and they will only get a short blurb on ESPN, they will always be remembered for what they have given the sport over the last year, and their effort is worthy of a standing ovation.

Article posted on 02.03.2008



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