CARSON, CALIF.-In the battle between world champions from Mexico City, Rafael Marquez captured the WBC super bantamweight world title by technical knockout when defending champion Israel Vazquez could not continue due to a severe broken nose on Saturday.

“I was surprised he stopped because he dropped me,” Marquez said. “He’s the only one whoever dropped me.”

Before a somewhat small crowd for a fight of this magnitude, Vazquez quit at the end of the eighth round at the Home Depot Center despite stepping up the pressure on Marquez who was moving up in weight. But in the mere seven rounds that were fought, fans saw an electrifying battle fought at an elite level seldom seen in any arena.

It was seven rounds of true championship fighting.

Marquez jumped ahead during the first two rounds with sharp jabs and precision combinations that seemed to surprise Vazquez. It was later learned that one of those punches broke Vazquez nose.

It appeared Marquez was too sharp for his more muscular opponent, but a right hand-left uppercut combination by Vazquez dropped Marquez. He got up wobbly but survived the rest of the third round. His eyes seemed surprised at Vazquez’s power.

But unknown to the 5,155 in the crowd, Vazquez was unable to breathe due to the broken nose despite winning the seventh round on all three judges score cards, and the eighth round according to one judge.

Vazquez (41-4, 31 KOs) regained momentum in the last two rounds of the fight by attacking the body. Marquez appeared to slow down and seemed reluctant to engage. But in between rounds, Vazquez and his trainer Freddie Roach were debating whether to continue.

For two rounds Vazquez pounded at Marquez’s belly with lefts and rights. Little by little the guard lowered and soon Vazquez was able to land stiff jabs. Slowly the course of the fight seemed to turn.

“He wanted to stop two rounds earlier but I convinced him to give it a try,” said Roach. “He asked me to stop it.”

Vazquez said he suffered the broken nose in the first round and it affected his ability to fight effectively. But in the final two rounds of the fight, he was able to slow down the steady stream of jabs  by Marquez to a trickle. But that nose wasn’t cooperating.

“I was taking a lot of shots because of it,” said Vazquez of his broken nose. “I want a rematch.”

At the end of the seventh round, referee motioned to the crowd that the fight was declared over and Marquez was the winner. He jumped into his corner man’s arms and was jubilantly lifted into the air.

Marquez said he will remain at the 122-pound limit and welcomes a rematch with Vazquez.

“I didn’t know he had a broken nose,” said Marquez (37-3, 33 KOs), who abandoned his IBF bantamweight title to move up in weight. “If he wants to fight again he deserves another chance. All of Mexico should be happy with this fight.”

According to the judges Marquez was ahead 67-65 on two scorecards and one had it 66-66 a draw.

Gary Shaw, who promoted the event, said a rematch will be sought.

Burgos injured in IBF title fight

Left-handed slugger Vic Darchinyan, the IBF flyweight titleholder, proved he didn’t need his right hand in a dominating performance that ended in a 12th round technical knockout over Tijuana’s Victor Burgos (39-15-3, 23 KOs). Burgos was sent to a local hospital for observation.

“Mexico should be very proud of Victor Burgos. He is a hero,” Darchinyan 28-0, 22 KOs) said.

For six rounds Darchinyan stalked Burgos with both hands down and refused to fire the right hand until the sixth round. A left uppercut to the chest of Burgos sent the former junior flyweight to the floor in the second round. It was the only time Burgos was knocked down in the fight.

Lethal left hand punches were repeatedly fired by Darchinyan. The power puncher never fired a single jab throughout the fight. But he didn’t need it, as Burgos was more intent on surviving than exchanging.

Burgos had a few good moments in the seventh round when he landed a five-punch combination that sent the Armenian strongman to the ropes. All it did was get Darchinyan upset and he proceeded to batter Burgos in his own corner.

In the eighth round Burgos attempted to press Darchinyan and forced him to move backwards. It was his only hope.  But that proved fruitless too as Darchinyan responded with well-placed left hands that battered Burgos.

“His movement was giving me difficulty,” said Darchinyan. “We weren’t prepared for that kind of fight.”

The win by the Aussie Armenian may be his last at the 112-pound flyweight level. He intends to move up in weight.

Burgos was sent to the Harbor-UCLA Medical Center by ambulance in Carson.

“He was in and out of consciousness,” said Dr. Paul Wallace. “He was sloughing down in his chair. He didn’t respond well to punches.”

Other bouts

In a light heavyweight contest San Diego’s Carlos Ibarra (6-2-1, 4 KOs) landed a solid right hand that wobbled formerly undefeated Akinyemi Laleye (6-1, 3 KOs) of Nigeria. Unable to defend himself, referee Ray Corona stopped the fight to save Laleye from further punishment at 2:07 of the fifth round. Up until that round, it was a very close fight with plenty of action.

San Diego’s Antonio De Marco (12-1-1, 10 KOs) used six-punch combinations to drop San Bernardino’s Raymundo Gonzalez (12-9-2, 8 KOs) twice in the second round. The lightweight used superior speed and technique to force referee Ray Corona to halt the fight at 36 seconds of the second round.

A flyweight bout between Manuel Roman (19-0, 13 KOs) of Los Angeles and Ernest Marquez (5-1, 3 KOs) ended in a no contest. An accidental head butt caused a bad cut over the left eye of Marquez in the first round. Referee Jerry Cantu called the fight off at the end first round.