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Knockout Nation: Marquez Carves Up Vazquez To Even Series, Pacquiao Relents on Blood Testing!

Marquez Dominates in 3rd Round TKO

Rafael Marquez (39-5, 35 KOs) waited 3 years for a chance to even the series with rival Israel Vazquez (44-5, 32 KOs). And last night (May 22) Marquez’s revenge was swift, and the former champion dissected Vazquez in just 3 rounds to even up their tetralogy.

Rafael Marquez proved to be the faster and fresher fighter from the outset. The Mexican power puncher constantly beat Vazquez to the punch with hard combinations filled with hooks and straights from both hands. The punishment resulted in Vazquez suffering a wide, gushing cut over his left eye in the first round.

The streaming blood did no favors for Vazquez, who tried to blink the blood out his eye as Marquez showed no mercy raining down more straights and hooks to the face.

Photo Credit: Rafael Soto/Zanfer

By the 3rd round, Vazquez now had another bad cut, this time over the right eye as the result of a headbutt. Smelling and seeing blood, Marquez pounced in the pocket and exchanged punches; his being the more powerful and getting there first. A straight right hand crashed home and forced the already badly battered Israel Vazquez to take a knee.

He got up almost immediately after taking it, and the proud but faltering warrior walked to his corner while still desperately trying to brush and blink away the blood blanketing his vision.

Rafael Marquez made Vazquez to give ground with an overwhelming assortment of hooks and uppercuts to the head and body, forcing referee Raul Caiz, Jr to call a stoppage at the 1:33 mark.

At the post-fight press conference, the 32 year old Vazquez didn’t rule out a possible 5th fight despite having heavy scar tissue over both eyes, and having to undergo several surgeries in recent years to fix a detached retina.

“I need to close up the cuts,” Vazquez said while pointing to the eye damage. “And 5-6 months to recover. But if the commission is ok with another fight and the fans want it, I would be willing to do it. We gave the fans 4 great fights.”

Rafael Marquez, who evened up the career-shortening series at 2-2, explained his strategy was to target the eyes since his rival has suffered bad eye damage in the previous 3 battles.

“It was definitely the plan to go after the eyes because of the surgeries,” Marquez told the media. “Because he hit me pretty good, I thought the fight would go longer.”

No title was at stake, just pride in their craft and the sole purpose to give fans quite possibly the most action-packed and brutal fight series in boxing history. The first clash in March 2007 was won by Marquez when Israel Vazquez couldn’t continue after suffering a broken nose. In the August 2007 rematch, Vazquez avenged the loss with a gutsy 7th round TKO. The 2008 rubbermatch went down to the wire with several knockdowns, and Vazquez squeaking out with a split decision courtesy of a 12th round knockdown.

Where do both men go from here? The series may be even, but each fighter should be satisfied with its conclusion. Israel Vazquez has no quit in him, and when a tough fighter reaches the twilight of his career that becomes a detriment. Vazquez is clearly a diminished fighter with dulled reflexes and eyes that split open from any prolonged attack. Like Diego Corrales, his defining opponent has ruined him, and thankfully it appears that Vazquez’s management team sees that.

“That’s it. His career is over. [He] doesn’t need to fight again,” said Vazquez’s manager Frank Espinoza.

Rafael Marquez would be wise to call it quits, but the win will likely propel him to a showdown with Juan Manuel Lopez, who expressed his intent to fight the winner of last night’s contest. Marquez is clearly also on the downside of his career, and will never be the same either. But like Corrales’ rival Jose Luis Castillo, Marquez looks to have just enough left to be at least competitive in 2-3 more high-profile fights for a few final paydays.

On the undercard, IBF bantamweight champion Yonnhy Perez (20-0-1) went to a stalemate technical draw with Abner Mares (20-0-1). While the press has mostly favored Mares due to his consistent and more accurate punching, both men feel they won the bout and will certainly meet again.

Marquez vs. Vazquez I Highlights

Marquez vs. Vazquez II Highlights

Marquez vs. Vazquez III Highlights

 

Headline Photo Credit: Big Joe Miranda

 

Manny Pacquiao Now Willing to Do 14-Day Testing Window

In February, Manny Pacquiao ignored a Floyd Mayweather compromise that would have had their blood testing impasse met in the middle at 14 days prior to fight night. Now, after both men have won subsequent fights against Top 10 welterweights, Pacquiao has confirmed he would be willing to agree to the offer.

“14 days is ok with me, as long as [the blood test] isn’t done on the day of the fight, and only the right amount of blood will be drawn from me,” Pacquiao detailed to the Filipino press.

The quote is Pacquiao’s first statement on a potential Mayweather bout since his post-fight interview in March after defeating Joshua Clottey. At the time, Pacquiao refused to budge on Mayweather’s Olympic style drug testing demand, but stated his goal to fight the winner of Mayweather-Mosley.

Last month, Mayweather silenced critics by outclassing Shane Mosley to a blowout decision win. After that fight, Mayweather said the 14 day offer was now off the table, reiterating his stance from February after Pacquiao walked away from the negotiating table rather than compromise further on the testing. Before talks ended, Pacquiao’s final offer had been random testing no more the 24 days before the fight.

Despite several articles reporting otherwise, neither Floyd Mayweather nor his camp have released any statements since Pacquiao’s new stance on the testing. A few weeks ago, Pacquiao promoter and Top Rank CEO Bob Arum said that both sides will discuss business in private to prevent the media circus and pandering that helped sink the previous negotiation.

If terms are met, the fight will be the most lucrative in boxing history with a November target date.

Since the last negotiations, Manny Pacquiao has won a congressional seat in his native Phillipines, which he assured fans will not interfere with his training. Pacquiao will be sworn in on June 30.

 

News and Notes

-          37 year old Hasim Rahman (46-7-2, 37 KOs) is attempting another comeback and will face journey man Shannon Miller (16-4, 9 KOs) next month on June 19. Rahman’s last title chance was in December 2008, where he was knocked out in 7 rounds by Wladimir Klitschko

-          Super flyweight champ Vic Darchinyan (35-2-1, 27 KOs) won a unanimous decision in a stay busy fight against Eric Barcelona (51-18, 19 KOs) on Thursday (May 20). Darchinyan has been trying to secure a rematch with Nonito Donaire.

-          Ruslan Chagaev (26-1, 17 KOs) won a heavyweight WBA title eliminator over Kali Meehan (35-3, 29 KOs), which makes him the mandatory challenger for champion David Haye. Haye is reportedly about to reenter negotiations with Wladimir Klitschko.

-          Breidis Prescott (22-2, 19 KOs) wants Amir Khan to face him a rematch. Prescott shocked fans and experts by knocking out Khan in one round in 2008. Since then, Khan has rebuilt and gone 5-0 in his subsequent fights, most recently a TKO win over Paulie Malignaggi in his US debut on May 15. Prescott lost 2 fights in 2009 at lightweight.

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