COMMENTARY | IBF lightweight champ Miguel Vazquez is used to being overlooked. After all, the native of Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico has been world champion since beating Ji-Hoon Kim for the vacant title back in 2010, but has yet to receive the recognition usually given to relatively long-reigning world champs.
With a defense-first style and slickster mindset, he has yet to find a real audience among the Mexican audience and, despite five successful defenses of his belt, has yet to capture the attention of many hardcore fight fans.
Most recently, Vazquez shut out a slow-footed Mercito Gesta on the Pacquiao-Marquez 4 undercard, but the only talk generated from his one-sided victory centered around Gesta's lack of performance. Because Vazquez is not a media darling, the blame was laid at Gesta's feet rather than dishing out some credit to Vazquez for executing his own perfect game plan.
In any case, it looks as though "Titere" has learned a lesson about how the fight game really works. Ring performance is great, but you need some showbiz to your game and need to try and piggyback off a another star in order to make some headlines.
With that in mind, Vazquez recently took aim at the lightweight division's biggest presence, Adrien "The Problem" Broner.
"Golden Boy can stop wasting time looking for an opponent for Broner on February 16," Vazquez told Boxingscene. "I am Broner's Christmas gift under the tree, so please open me up and you can have the number one lightweight in the world as your next opponent...I am not a punching bag like Antonio DeMarco. I am a Mexican master boxer like Pernell Whitaker."
Vazquez would then go straight for the jugular and question Broner's willingness to fight him after seeing the recent bout with Gesta. "I believe Broner saw my fight and wants no part of fighting me," Vazquez said.
Broner, a former super featherweight world titlist, became WBC lightweight champion with a dominant TKO 8 victory over defending champ, Antonio DeMarco in November. The 23-year-old talent is currently looking for an opponent to face on a February 16 HBO card at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
Rumors regarding WBO lightweight titlist, Ricky Burns and Richard Abril have made the rounds, but neither opponent is likely at this point and, so, the search continues. The perfect opponent would have enough name recognition to get the green light from the HBO brass while offering at least the illusion of a competitive encounter.
Aside from Burns, Abril, and former Broner victim, DeMarco, there aren't many bankable names at 135 lbs. Raymundo Beltran and Welshman, Gavin Rees, could be put in the pool of respectable possible opposition, but neither would realistically have a shot against the talented Broner.
So, that leaves only one logical opponent. The 25-year-old boxing stylist with the IBF belt around his waist-- Miguel Vazquez.
Vazquez-Broner, likely a tactical snoozer, would hardly be a blue collar fight fan's ring dream, but it would be the biggest and best fight for Broner to make right now. It would also give the rising superstar a chance at winning yet another world title.
But, while Vazquez seems eager to test his skills and risk his belt for a major HBO payday, Broner seems indifferent to the idea and generally indifferent about anything not related to his burgeoning stardom.
In the meantime, while Broner and his team look for the right opponent for his February HBO showcase, Vazquez stays ready and supremely confident. He could very well find himself ruled out of the equation and forced to look in from the outside, but that's a familiar place for Vazquez.
Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and a close follower of the sport for more than thirty years. His work can also be found on Fox Sports and as Editor-in-Chief of The Boxing Tribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing. For breaking news, additional analysis, and assorted crazy commentary, follow him on Facebook, @TheBoxingTribune or on Twitter, @BoxingBTBC.
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