— Photo Credit : Chris Farina – Top Rank
In the HBO PPV opener to the Manny Pacquiao-Tim Bradley rematch card at the MGM Grand, Bryan Vasquez took on Jose Felix in a super feather attraction, and this was supposed to be, many thought, a steppingstone fight for the prospect Felix.
Vasquez didn’t get that memo.
From second one, he was calm, cool, sharp and smart; the judges, thankfully, agreed, seeing it for Vasquez, by scores of 117-110, 114-113, 114-113.
The wider score was the best of those three cards, for the record. Vasquez impressed the heck out of me, out the HBO crew, and one smart judge. The other two, not so smart, but we have come to expect that, haven’t we?
The Costa Rican showed stellar ring generalship, and puts himself in the mix for meaningful fights, immediately.
Vasquez (age 26; from Costa Rica; 33-1 with 17 KOs) was 130, 136 on fightnight, while Felix (age 21; from Los Mochis, Mexico; 26-0-1 with 21 KOs) was 130 and 145 on fightnight.
According to CompuBox, Vasquez went 115-619, to 161-553 for Felix.
In the first, Felix showed off a swell jab. Vasquez looked confident, not put off by the ramrod jabs. He came forward, feinted, threw some one-twos, and had a decent round. The Felix corner told their man he hurt Vasquez already; I didn’t see that. In the second, both ripped body shots. The ref warned Vasquez for fouling. He landed hooks, and ate a couple too. He sent a message to the judges by being the attacker.
In the third, Vasquez switched lefty and righty, moved his head, gave different looks. They traded power shots, but vasquez’ ring generalship took the round. He was master of that domain.
In the fourth, Felix worked to the body, but so did Vasquez, who mixes his shots so nicely. In the fifth, we saw a mellow round, with both men taking a breather round. “Don’t give him distance,” the Vasquez corner told him after the round.In the sixth, Felix landed two power shots early.
They both bombed away in the middle, and then Vasquez outboxed Felix in the last third.
In the seventh, Felix was gashed on his right temple. Vasquez went after him, after the butt did the damage. In the eighth, Felix bombed harder, maybe that hematoma on his head woke him up. Vasquez had to work harder to chase Felix most of the round, and it was a tough one to score. “The fight is even,” the Felix corner told him. after.
In the ninth, Vasquez slipped shots, and came back with lefts to the body. He jogged after Felix, who slid to his right most of the time. Felix had a point taken for a low blow, with a knee, at 1:20. Roy Jones said Vasquez is one of the smoothest boxers in the game.
In the tenth, Felix landed low, but Byrd said it was on the belt. Vasquez ripped his sneaky shots to the body, with both hands, and Felix was getting more and more frustrated. Vasquez ran to his corner after the round, sending the message that he had ample energy left.
In the 11th, the two clashed heads, and Felix’ left eye was bleeding. Head, body and feet, Vasquez’ movement was confounding the kid, yet again. He landed a snappy right, though, a1:45. And he also maybe hurt his hand, as well. His corner told him it was tied.
In the 12th, Vasquez’ body work was keen, as it was the whole night. He ate a low blow, but the ref didn’t see it. A right hurt Felix, and the Costa Rican was fighting angry, and well.”I thought Bryan Vasquez has tutored Jose Felix,” Jim Lampley said.
We went to the cards…