While almost everyone was focused on the Chad Dawson-Jean Pascal fight, I had my attention turned to the IBF lightweight title fight between Ji Hoon Kim and Miguel Vazquez.
This fight was a good one between two veterans who worked their way up to the top the hard way. With a combined eight losses between them, they clearly didn’t take the easy way up.
Being young at 23 would usually mean they were relegated to journeyman status, but here they were fighting for a title and they should have been.
In the first minute of the fight, you could see that this was going to be a good action fight. Kim settled into what he does—best getting hit, being awkward, and putting on great pressure.
Vazquez was counter-punching and landing some good shots. Kim was throwing wildly and getting countered regularly.
Vazquez was also putting in some great body work. The two fighters clashed heads four times in the first two rounds.
Kim throws almost every shot wildly and every one is intended to end the fight. He started to find his range in the third round, but Vazquez answered with a big punch midway through the round. Kim showed off his good chin when he absorbed the punch and kept moving forward.
Vazquez was clearly confusing Kim when he started to be the aggressor in rounds two and three.
His hand speed was obviously giving Kim problems, too. With that being said, Kim can end the fight at any time with a big right hand.
Vazquez had, on my card, won the first four rounds and had done it rather easily. He was landing a lot of shots on Kim and they looked to be taking their toll.
In the fifth, Kim started to pressure a little less and this was probably due to the clean hard shots of Vazquez. Vazquez was landing an impressively hard jab and fighting a perfect stylistic bout.
Vazquez landed some great shots in the sixth and was really getting to Kim. Kim was getting utterly dominated and wasn’t getting any closer to doing anything significant to Vazquez.
Vazquez was cut badly very early in the eighth round by a head butt. The doctor took a look at it and let the fight continue.
Vazquez backed Kim into a corner with 1:53 left and landed a great combination. The cut didn’t seem to bother Vazquez and he dominated the rest of the eighth round.
Kim landed a great shot in the ninth but Vazquez took it and didn’t look to be shaken at all. Kim was then cut with a head butt and had a small cut opened up over his eye.
Vazquez controlled the final three rounds and ended up taking a unanimous decision by scores of 119-109, 120-108, 118-110.
Vazquez was simply the better fighter tonight who had a plan B to fall back on. Kim was a straight ahead power puncher and nothing more.
We knew that coming in, but he was finding a way to knockout opponents. Vazquez fought a perfect fight against Kim tonight and is a deserving IBF lightweight champion.
Ignore the record of Vazquez because you need to take him serious at lightweight. Kim is an exciting fighter though and hopefully he can find his way back onto American television.