WEST LOS ANGELES-After 18 months of inactivity Israel “El Magnifico” Vazquez returns to the ring to re-establish his credentials as one of the top professional prizefighters in the world regardless of weight.
“I’m very happy and anxious for this moment,” said Vazquez.
The former WBC junior featherweight titleholder is sliding up one weight division and will test out the featherweights and also his reconstructed right eye against Colombia’s Angel Priolo (30-7, 20 KOs) on Saturday Oct. 10, at Nokia Theater in downtown L.A.
Recovering from a detached retina is not an easy thing.
“Everything is fine,” said Vazquez (43-4, 31 KOs), who is originally from Mexico City but now lives in Los Angeles. “I’m just very hungry to return.”
When Vazquez fought fellow Chilango Rafael Marquez in what is now one of the sport’s greatest trilogies, the explosiveness and violence had to take its toll on both fighters. And it did.
Along with Vazquez’s eye problems Marquez is said to have experienced dizziness for many months following the third cataclysmic encounter at the Home Depot Center in March 2008. It took almost a year for both to recover and the big question remains if either fighter can return to that former state.
Rudy Perez, who took over from Freddie Roach as Vazquez’s trainer after the first fight with Marquez, said he’s convinced that his fighter can and will return to his former eleite status as one of the world’s best fighters.
“So far he looks very sharp in the ring. He has a new energy,” said Perez, who formerly trained Marco Antonio Barrera during that fighter’s hey day. “Every thing is going smoothly.”
Vazquez is perhaps one of the sport’s greatest gentlemen and equally humble. If you ever run into the amiable fighter he always has a smile and eagerness to meet fans that shows in his energetic handshakes and nods of the head. He’s a class act.
But inside the ropes there is no doubt he performs at a level not often seen from other prizefighters. He’s more than willing to give that last ounce of blood to showcase his skills and ferocity. Equally so is Marquez the young assassin brother of Juan Manuel Marquez.
Strangely what has occurred is Vazquez and Marquez have developed a large base of fans that are divided straight down the middle. On one side are fans that do not want them to destroy each other. On the other side are fans that want to see yet a fourth violent encounter by the two best little men in the game today.
What does Vazquez think?
“We’re both warriors,” said Vazquez at the media workout in West L.A. held at Urbina’s Westside Boxing Gym. “It would be an honor to fight Rafael Marquez again.”
More than one boxing writer including myself worry that another collision with fellow Mexico City Aztec warrior Marquez could result in something far worse than a loss. But this is the sport of pro boxing.
It’s easy to understand that money lies beneath the quest for a fourth encounter by both fighters. In their last bout Vazquez and Marquez made about $400,000. Meanwhile, the heavyweights last weekend made about $4 million or more each. Is that fair?
Next week when Vazquez enters the ring against Priolo, it’s a prelude to a fight with Marquez and a fourth epic clash between Mexico City warriors. Don’t miss seeing one of the best fighters on the planet.
For tickets call Nokia Theater (213) 763-6030.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV