Former IBF and WBC world super bantamweight champion Israel Vazquez has announced that he will undergo surgery to remove his damaged right eye and have it replaced with a prosthetic. Vazquez, who is still just 38 years old, has not fought since May of 2010 when he fought the fourth of his set of fights with rival Rafael Marquez.
The date of the surgery has not been scheduled, but Vazquez has received help from the WBC and their president Mauricio Sulaiman throughout the process. Since the news broke in the media, Vazquez has said “I have no regrets” and he blames past medical operations (he has had six surgeries on the eye) and neglect on his part for his current situation. Mexico’s Televisa Deportes and reporter Felipe Bravo first broke the story yesterday.
Despite the pending surgery, Vazquez remains upbeat. Vazquez continues to work as a coach and trainer and made reference to having “50 kids” in his gym to whom he is dedicating his time. Vazquez is now unable to see out of the damaged right eye. Additionally, he revealed that silicon used in a previous surgery had hardened in his eye and that it was going to “dry out,” in a process that could take several years. Instead of waiting, Vazquez made the decision to have the eye removed. He hopes his story can serve as an example to generations of future boxers to seek out medical help and not try to cover up injuries.
It is a poignant message that Vazquez is trying to send. Not yet 40 years old, many fighters his age are thinking about a comeback or one more payday or another day in the sun, but Vazquez is beyond any of that at this point. Vasquez is 44-5-2 overall and his rivalry with Marquez was one of the hardest fought of this era, but if Vazquez is able to tell his story and get his message across to boxing’s next generation, then he is only adding to his legacy as an athlete.
The entire Boxing Channel family sends Israel Vazquez our heart felt best wishes. And our thanks as well.