Does Hall call Vazquez, Marquez?
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Short shots about the world of professional boxing:
Israel Vazquez has been one of boxing’s most courageous and exciting performers in his 15-year professional career. If he retires, as he should, following his third-round technical knockout loss to Rafael Marquez on Saturday at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, he’ll go out with a 44-5 record, 32 knockouts and an 8-3 record in world title fights.
When ring announcer Jimmy Lennon introduced him on Saturday, he called Vazquez a future Hall of Famer.
I’m not so sure that’s correct, though.
For as exciting as Vazquez was during his career, he doesn’t have a lot of very notable wins on his record. His biggest wins were two over Marquez and one in a bout with Oscar Larios.
He was primarily a super bantamweight, but didn’t face a lot of the true greats who were in that division while he was at a championship level. Vazquez first fought for the WBC super bantamweight title in 2002, losing to Larios. At that time, Manny Pacquiao held the International Boxing Federation 122-pound belt, though they never met.
Vazquez also never faced guys like Joan Guzman, Paulie Ayala, Johnny Tapia and Clarence “Bones” Adams, among others, who were prominent at super bantamweight around that time.
Vazquez had a great career, but Lennon got a little ahead of himself.
At best, he’s a borderline Hall of Famer.
• Marquez has a much better Hall of Fame case. He has the two wins over Vazquez, two over Mark Johnson and another over Tim Austin. Austin was unbeaten and one of the elite fighters in the world when Marquez mugged him.
So, too, was Johnson.
Marquez is no slam dunk, but with a couple of quality wins at featherweight, he may guarantee himself a spot in the Hall.
• Kudos to Showtime’s Ken Hershman for broadcasting all four Vazquez-Marquez bouts. Far too often, the best fights are in the lighter weights, but television often overlooks those bouts.
Showtime did not and got a riveting series as a result.
Also, kudos to Hershman for saying he would not broadcast a fifth fight between the men. There is no point.
• Former light heavyweight champion Antonio Tarver, doing color analysis of Vazquez-Marquez, made an astute observation as Vazquez entered the ring.
“There is some speculation in the boxing world that Vazquez has lost a step or two because of the last fight (against Angel Priolo in October),” Tarver said. “He took a lot of punishment in a fight that was supposed to be a tune-up. That shouldn’t happen to a fighter fighting at the level of Vazquez. I’m interested to see just what Vazquez shows up tonight.”
Vazquez did, indeed, look like he’d lost two steps.
• Vic Darchinyan, who holds a super flyweight belt, is likely to get the next shot at Marquez. Darchinyan is an exciting fighter, but I don’t like the idea, because the featherweight division is loaded with talent and it wouldn’t be fair for Darchinyan to leapfrog all of the guys who have been fighting in, and winning, important featherweight fights.
• Yohnny Perez and Abner Mares put on a superb show in their draw for Perez’ IBF bantamweight title. Without question, Mares deserves a rematch.
• The crowd of 9,200 at Staples on Saturday was the biggest of the four in the Vazquez-Marquez series, but it was hurt by a cycling event that closed down many of the streets around Staples Center. It was all but impossible to get near the arena by car. My cab from the airport left me off five blocks away because the driver could get no closer. Without the race, it is likely the crowd would have swollen over 12,000.
• Joe Calzaghe – aka “Joe Blow,” given his recent admissions of cocaine use – is considering a comeback, potentially for a fight against Bernard Hopkins. Calzaghe won a court case in the U.K. last year against promoter Frank Warren, whom he alleged did not pay him the £2 million he was owed for fighting Hopkins in Las Vegas in 2008.
The court ordered Warren to pay, but the promoter still hasn’t ponied up.
That’s despicable, but I, for one, have no interest in seeing Calzaghe-Hopkins II. The fight was terribly boring the first time and I can’t imagine a rematch being any better.
• Here’s a shocker: The WBA stripped Shane Mosley of his welterweight title on Friday. Mosley’s belt wasn’t on the line when he fought Floyd Mayweather Jr. on May 1, because Mayweather wasn’t interested in the title and Mosley couldn’t reach terms with the WBA on a fee.
Fighters have to pay the sanctioning bodies a percentage of their purse, usually three percent, to fight for a belt. Mosley wanted assurances prior to the Mayweather fight that if he paid the fee even though the title wasn’t on the line that he wouldn’t either be forced to face a nobody or stripped for no reason.
The WBA had listed Mosley as a super champion, which was a concoction it came up with a few years ago in order to allow it to have more champions in the same weight class and ultimately collect more sanctioning fees.
• In four fights since ending a nearly four-year retirement in 2008, WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko is 4-0 with three knockouts and has won 110 of 114 scored rounds, an absurdly high 96.5 percent.
After he destroys Albert Sosnowski on Saturday in Germany, shouldn’t someone just induct Klitschko into the Hall of Fame and be done with it?
• Carl Froch is whining about having to fight Arthur Abraham in Germany, where Abraham lives, in his next fight.
Froch, who won a questionable decision in his hometown of Nottingham, England, over Andre Dirrell in the opening Super Six fight, ought to quit his complaining and figure a way to beat Abraham.
Muhammad Ali became the greatest by fighting in 12 countries.
Froch needs to man up and do the same.
• Remember the name Sharif Bogere. He’s 21 and he’s an unbeaten lightweight who has a chance to be a serious contender. He’s 16-0 with 10 knockouts.