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Fightnews: Vazquez-Marquez II"Magnifico!"
“El Magnifico” Vazquez wins back WBC title from Marquez for 122-pound supremacy! ... Caballero edges Lacierva in WBA super bantam defense, challenges winner of Vazquez-Marquez III

Ringside by Jose Reyes, Chris Cozzone & Danny Quintanilla
Photos by Chris Cozzone

The second fight, between the world’s best two super bantamweights, was supposed to be continuation of the first classic fight—and it was.

In what was appropriately billed as “La Venganza!” (The Vengeance!), Israel “El Magnifico” Vazquez won back his WBC title from Rafael Marquez via sixth round stoppage, in a fight that, like the first, should be nominated as “Fight of the Year.”

The heart, skills and courage displayed in this anticipated match-up did not disappoint.

Fightnews: Vazquez-Marquez IIDuring the pre-fight hoopla, Marquez had said that he would be on attack mode from the start of the fight—and he did, as promised.

Starting off the first round, Marquez used his left hand with perfection, connecting with precision jabs and left hooks that brought to mind another Mexican great, Ricardo "El Finito" Lopez, whom, by the way, also fought under great trainer Nacho Beristain. Judging by the accuracy of left hooks and uppercuts, there was no dispute that the round belonged to Marquez.

Round number two was full of activity by both combatants, as they, again, trade bombs that displayed damage on their faces, already. Both eyes of Marquez needed to be worked on with the Endswell at the end of the round by Nacho, and Vazquez returned to his corner with a small, bloody cut at the bridge of his nose, requiring the attention of his cutman.

Fightnews: Vazquez-Marquez IIRound three began with more of the same toe-toe-toe, non-stop action that had the Dodge Arena fans roaring with approval. A solid left hook by Vazquez appeared to wobble Marquez, who showed great heart and poise by recovering well and landing and connecting combinations of his own, opening up a cut above Vazquez’s right eye. The round was close to score, due to the back-and-forth barrage scored by both.

In the fourth, Vazquez came straight forward, pummeling the swollen right eye of Marquez. Both combatants traded lethal punching combinations to the head and body that had many thinking this fight was better than the last. Despite bleeding from cuts over both eyebrows now, Vazquez seemed undeterred to regain his title, and he continued to come forward, forcing Marquez to backpedal. Marquez, however, closed the round effectively with a one-two punch combination that left a trail of blood behind Vazquez when he returned to his corner.

At the end of the round it appeared unofficially that both fighters had won two rounds a piece, on this boxing scribe’s scorecard.

Fightnews: Vazquez-Marquez IIMarquez showed signs of exhaustion in the beginning of round five. With his mouth wide open and gasping deeply for air, Marquez appeared to be having a much tougher time than anticipated. Vazquez, on the other hand, was bleeding profusely from two deep cuts in both eyes and the bridge of his nose. Despite the setbacks, however, Vazquez was gaining control of the bout with more determination.

A tangling of feet put Vazquez on the canvas, but Referee Guadalupe Garcia correctly ruled it a slip. The round closed with the referee having to intervene between both fighters to stop the back-and-forth scintillating action.

Both fighters were more than willing to continue battle with the opening of round six, and they meet in the center of the ring where a clash of heads prompted the ref to call caution. As soon as they were allowed to continue, Vazquez connected with a left hook to the body, followed by a right upstairs, then closed with a beautifully executed left hook to the jaw of Marquez that put him down on the canvas at 2:35 of the sixth round.

Like a predator that senses a wounded prey, a relentless Vazquez released his attack on the dazed and hurt Marquez. Backed up to the ropes, Marquez let his hands go, hoping to land something to make Vazquez reconsider his onslaught. Unfortunately for Marquez, his punches would not stop the killer instinct Vazquez displayed, and the third man in the ring stopped the carnage 1:16 left in round six.

With both eyes pouring blood, Vazquez raised both hands in victory.

Fightnews: Vazquez-Marquez IITitle reclaimed, Vazquez improves to 37-4, 33 KOs while Marquez, losing for the first time in seven years, falls to 42-4, 32 KOs.

With one win apiece, it now appears that a final match will complete this trilogy. Both Vazquez and Marquez told Showtime that a man-to-man agreement existed between the two, calling for a rubber match.

As for controversy, two items came up, before and after the results. Just before the fight began, promoter Gary Shaw had submitted a protest with the Texas State Athletic Commission, as well as the WBC, for what was alleged to be the skinning of the gloves by the Vazquez team. Greg Alvarez from the Texas State Athletic Commission checked over the gloves and tape and ruled them legal for action. And, after the bout, Marquez complained that the fight was prematurely stopped by referee Garcia.

Despite the controversy, what cannot be argued is a classic battle had been fought, and that a legendary trilogy of the Morales-Pacquiao or Morales-Barrera variety, is in the making.—Jose Reyes


Fightnews: Vazquez-Marquez IIDefense not-so-pretty for Caballero

In a not-so-pretty defense of his WBA super bantamweight title, Panama’s Celestino Caballero fought off an aggressive Jorge Lacierva and a pro-Mexican crowd with a close-but-unanimous decision.

Unable to use his height or reach for the first half of the fight, the 5’11” Caballero weathered a mauling, brawling Lacierva, dozens of rabbit punches, and leaping left hooks before he could use his long, gangly arms for something other than clinching, elbowing, pushing and pulling the determined, 5’4” Mexican off of him.

The jab and fancy footwork used to conquer fellow super bantamweight champion Daniel Ponce De Leon, a couple years back, was nowhere to be found in this mill. As awkward as Lacierva was in his necessarily reckless attacks, Caballero’s defensive work appeared twice as clumsy.

Unable to straighten his arm to jab for even a moment, the champ yielded to challenger in the early rounds. Caballero, thrown off by Lacierva’s aggression, pocketed the jab until the fourth round. Even then, Lacierva’s graceless pressure had Caballero befuddled.

Fightnews: Vazquez-Marquez IILacierva shoving a glove in Caballero’s face after the third round bell rang, and a minor pushing scuffle after the completion of round four, showed the champ losing his cool. But, listening to his corner’s relentless pleas of “Distancia! Distancia!”, the Panamanian scarecrow started to keep off the challenger’s flocking and socking by the sixth stanza.

Round six was the first decisive round for Caballero, made worst for Lacierva when Referee Lawrence Cole, keeping his urge to advise fighters holstered after a suspension last year, penalized the challenger one point for head-butting.

Caballero took over in the second half of the fight, just as Lacierva started to pull back on his attacks. Keeping the fight to the outside, he jabbed his way through the seventh, although he was irritated when Lacierva pulled off a possible round-stealer with a late-round flurry of punches.

Rounds eight through ten were all Caballero, who appeared to have Lacierva neutralized now. Weathering several warnings by Ref Cole in the tenth, Caballero continued to fight his fight, despite the chanting of the pro-Lacierva crowd that cheered “Jorge! Jorge!”

Fightnews: Vazquez-Marquez IIBig rights and a rare left hook crashed down on Lacierva in the tenth. Round eleven was a sloppy round, neither fighter doing enough to decisively edge the other, and, in the final round, Lacierva poured on what he had left, mugging Caballero in a push-and-pull match.

All three judges scored it for Caballero: 115-112 (Levi Martinez), 116-11 (Rafael Ramos) and 116-110 (Dr. Ruben Garcia).

Fightnews was in agreement, 115-112.

“Lacierva did not come to fight,” said Cabellero, who made his third title defense while upping his record to 27-2, 18 KOs.

“He came to survive—to push and hug and be dirty. He did not fight for the public, and he did not let me do it.”

Caballero rated himself a “6 or 7” against Lacierva, but said he wanted the winner of Marquez-Marquez—to be decided now in the rubber match in early 2008.

“The best is yet to come,” he said. “If I fight the Marquez-Vazquez winner, you will see the real me.”

Lacierva, a no-show at the post-fight presser, fell to 32-7, 22 KOs, ending a six-fight, two-and-a-half year win streak. —Chris Cozzone


Fightnews: Vazquez-Marquez IILeija honored

The World Boxing Council honored former world champion and famous son of Texas, "Jesse" James Leija (47-7, 19 KOs) by presenting him the WBC green & gold belt on Saturday at The Dodge Arena in Hidalgo Texas, before the super bantamweight title rematch between Rafael Marquez and Israel Vazquez. WBC President, Jose Sulaiman awarded Leija the designation of WBC World Ambassador for peace and equality for his accomplishments as a great fighter and in recognition of his exemplary life outside the ring and for being a true leader in his community. Photo: Leija, left, with longtime manager, Lester Bedford.

Untelevised fights

Lightweight Jorge Paez Jr. (16-1, 10 KOs), son of the famous "Clown Prince" and former world champion Jorge Paez, outclassed Jaime Orrantia (11-18) over six, winning 60-54 on all cards.

Unbeaten jr middleweight Alfredo Angulo (8-0, 6 KOs) terrorized Taronze Washington (9-8, 5 KOs), dropping Washington in rounds one and three. Washington did not come out for the fourth.

Lightweight Juan Castanada (11-0, 9 KOs) gave a boxing lesson to Jose Magallon (5-4, 3 KOs), winning 59-55, 60-54, 58-56. —Danny Quintanilla

Angulo vs. Washington
Castanada vs. Magallon
Paez vs. Orrantia
Bonus Photos

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