Former IBF and IBO bantamweight champion Rafael Marquez pulverized past super bantamweight titlist Israel Vazquez in their fourth matchup by a bloody third-round TKO Saturday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Marquez (39-5, 35 KOs) opened a horrific cut over Vazquez’s left-eye with a violent punch in the first round and referee Raul Caiz Jr. mercifully halted the massacre after Vazquez was unable to get off the ropes two rounds later.
“I’ve been waiting for this moment for almost three years,” said Marquez, 35, a legendary Mexican fighter. “Everybody saw the difference in this one.”
Vazquez (44-5, 32 KOs) had emerged victorious in their two previous bouts by a split decision and sixth-round TKO respectively.
Marquez managed to even their epic battles at two apiece last night by trumping Vazquez for the first time since he won in the seventh round in March 2003.
“I feel OK,” said Vazquez, 32, also a revered Mexican pugilist. “I can see and everything, but I need to take care of my eyes. He hit me with a good shot, and my eye just opened up. I didn’t know until I saw the blood that I was cut.”
Both Marquez and Vazquez took more than a one year hiatus from the ring to recover from the shire brutality of their past contests.
In fact, Vazquez was forced to undergo three surgeries to repair a torn retina that he suffered in their third fight.
Immediately after the beating, speculation erupted over the possibility of a lucrative fifth and decisive bout between the two prizefighter’s.
However, Vazquez’s trainer, Frank Espinoza, quickly squashed that notion.
“That’s it. His career is over,” said Espinoza. “Vazquez doesn’t need to fight again.”
Boxing is by far the most dangerous sport in the world.
Any fight fan would love to see Vazquez and Marquez square-off for a final time.
However, for safety purposes alone, perhaps the two don’t “need to fight again.”