Rafael Marquez—Israel Vazquez V: Grudge Match, Anyone?
Boxing has had it's fair share of trilogies and multi-fight series that have taken the sport to new heights. The rivalries that come to mind are Ali—Frazier, Robinson—LaMotta, Holyfield–Bowe, and Leonard—Duran, just to name a few. The series pushes fighters to greater depths and brings out the best in them.
Rafael Marquez and his fellow Mexico City rival Israel Vazquez have done just that and more.
They competed in a trilogy in which Vazquez took a 2-1 advantage, albeit not without controversy. In their third fight, Marquez was penalized for a low blow and in the 12th and final round, Vazquez scored a knockdown and won a razor-thin decision.
This set the stage for the fourth fight, billed "Once and Four All."
The hype leading up to the fight by the Showtime announcers centered around a fifth fight, should Marquez even the score. The fighters, however, were focused on the task at hand.
The speculation of a fifth fight was not the only storyline heading into the night. Rafael Marquez replaced longtime trainer Nacho Beristain with former Mexican world champion Daniel Zaragoza. Marquez was also expected to exhibit ring rust, considering that in his last outing nearly a year prior, he stopped Jose Francisco Mendez.
Israel Vazquez garnered concern by taking a lot of punishment in his stoppage of Angel Priolo in October. Vazquez is also just a year removed from eye surgery.
The historic fourth fight was underway. Both fighters started by banging at each other on the inside. Marquez, showing no signs of ring rust, was the busier of the two, landing good shots and immediately opening the first cut with a right hand over Vazquez's left eye.
In the second round, both fighters traded well, with Vazquez landing the more telling blows. The third round began with an unintentional head butt that opened the cut over Vazquez's right eye. He fought on bravely, but the blood pouring into his eye placed him at a huge disadvantage.
After being knocked down and unable to fight off the ensuing barrage of punches, referee Raul Caiz Jr. stopped the fight.
The score is now tied at two apiece for the Mexican pugilists.
These guys bring out the best in each other and have both said they are willing to wage war for a historic fifth time.
Vazquez would need another surgery and time to heal the scar tissue over his eyes. The cuts have plagued him throughout this fight series with Marquez, causing more concern.
If or when this fight happens, the fans will be the winners. These two guys will definitely give their everything in the ring.
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