It wasn't quite the fight that the boxing world had been anticipating, but Wilfredo Vasquez Jr. made the wait well worth it.
For months, Vasquez Jr. had been slated to take on Rafael Marquez in August, only to have the bout postponed until October due to injury.
Then, in September, Marquez pulled out of the event entirely, and Vasquez Jr.'s fellow Puerto Rican, Jonathan Oquendo, was selected as his replacement.
On Saturday night, in WV2's hometown of Bayamon, Puerto Rico, the 28-year-old put on a show, delivering a seventh-round knockout against Oquendo, who proved to be a somewhat surprisingly difficult opponent.
Heading into the fight, Oquendo hadn't fought since an ATV accident last October that, according to ESPN, left the 29-year-old battered and bruised, and claimed the life of his girlfriend.
Nonetheless, Oquendo entered the fight with an impressive 22-2 record and, in the early rounds, looked primed to score a big upset over WV2.
However, Vasquez, fighting for the first time since losing the 122-pound title to Nonito Donaire in February, bounced back after looking vulnerable during the fifth round, and registered the K.O. two rounds later.
According to WV2, this bout was simply his first step towards regaining his world title (via ESPN.com):
Oquendo is not a fighter of Marquez’s level, but I’m going to fight him. My job is to train and facing the best fighters and I’m going to win this Saturday to go for another chance for the world title, and after that the 126-pound (featherweight) division.
It wasn't as easy as Vasquez might have envisioned beforehand, but getting the win was a critical steppingstone in the Puerto Rican star's quest to regain his world title.
Oquendo might not have been the big-name opponent originally scheduled to fight Vasquez, but WV2's win on Saturday night was nonetheless a message to the rest of the boxing world that he's still among the sport's most feared super bantamweight fighters.
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