Vasquez had to contend with Lacierva's dirty work, but he did so, stepped up his game after a so-so start, and stopped the vet Saturday, on the loser's home turf. (Doroteo Arango photo)
TIJUANA, MEXICO-Costa Rica’s premier prizefighter Bryan Vasquez proved he belongs in the upper echelon and Jorge “Maromerito” Paez won the battle of the famous sons against Omar Chavez at Auditorio de Tijuana on Saturday.
Vasquez (29-0, 15 KOs) entered a hostile and humid arena against Mexico’s Jorge Lacierva (41-9-6, 27 KOs) with a slap during the weigh-ins the day before fresh in his head. A nearly sold out arena saw the Costa Rican boxer show why he’s ranked number one by the WBA, among others.
The bout immediately began with Lacierva using the inside of his boxing glove to scrape Vasquez’s face. From that point on the Mexican boxer used every dirty trick in his arsenal to try and confuse, surprise and batter the visiting fighter.
In a back and forth struggle that was stopped many times by clinches, rabbit punches, groin attacks and the occasional knee to the stomach by Lacierva, it was obvious that Vasquez was not on his A-game and seemed lackluster. But his ability to slip and counter kept him from sustaining heavy damage.
Lacierva knew he was fighting in front of the home crowd and tried to use it whenever possible. He strafed Vasquez repeatedly with combination punches but was not overly aggressive. Both fighters took turns winning rounds until round five.
A solid blow to the head woke up Vasquez from his boxing stupor and suddenly the Costa Rican’s entire demeanor seemed to change. He began to attack with more vigor and from that point on it was simply a matter of time.
The Mexican boxer tried his best to change things, including sending a punch to Vasquez’s kneecap. But it couldn’t change the momentum and Vasquez began attacking instead of countering.
Lacierva tried his best to catch Vasquez during furious exchanges in round nine. Instead, it was Vasquez who caught the Mexican with a combination left hook to the ribs and head and down went Lacierva. It seemed like a very long count but the Mexican got up. Within seconds another left to the ribs sent Lacierva down in agony. This time the count was not beaten and Vasquez was declared the winner at 1:49 of round nine.
Despite all of the fouls Vasquez sought Lacierva to thank him for the fight.
“He told me he was sorry,” reported Vasquez after.
Paez vs. Chavez II
In the battle of sons of famous fighters it was “Maromerito” Paez (32-4-1) who emerged the winner after 10 rounds with Julio Cesar Chavez’s youngest son Omar Chavez (28-2-1).
Paez had beaten Chavez last December in Chiapas, Mexico. This time their clash was within driving distance of Medical.
Despite a severe height advantage Chavez was never able to use his considerable arm length and height to offset Paez’s speed. Time after time Paez delivered four-punch combinations as Chavez covered up.
Chavez, 22, had a four-inch height advantage but was seldom able to connect with any of his intimidating blows. Paez slipped punch after punch and feinted his opponent out of position on numerous occasions.
“Maromero! Maromero!” chants were heard throughout the arena. He was the crowd favorite and Chavez the intruder.
Around round eight of the 10-round bout it was evident that Paez was tiring. It allowed the more cumbersome Chavez opportunities to become the aggressor and in the eyes of the judges that proved important. Chavez began to land combinations for the first time in the fight. Though few connected solidly he was scoring points.
It was not enough.
After 10 rounds all three judges scored it 96-94 for Paez. The scores seemed surprising especially because of the fast start by Mexicali’s Paez.
“I was confident I was winning,” said Paez, 24, after the fight.
He was correct.