CARSON, Calif. – Rafael Marquez and Israel Vazquez meet Saturday at the Home Depot Center in the third of an epic series, with the WBC super bantamweight title at stake. Here is what each man must do to win:
Keys to victory
1. Create distance: Marquez has been successful in the first two bouts by keeping Vazquez outside and on the end of his punches.
1. Create shootouts: If Vazquez can force Marquez to go flat-footed and stand and trade punches, it will great favor him as the naturally bigger, stronger man.
2. Avoid the ropes: Marquez doesn't want to lay on the ropes or in the corner, because Vazquez is physically stronger and can use his strong inside attack more easily.
2. Work the body hard: Vazquez set up some of his best opportunities in the second fight by ripping hooks to the body. More of the same wouldn't hurt.
3. Double and triple jab: A single jab won't slow Vazquez's onslaught. But Marquez has a strong and fast jab and if he throws two or three at a time, he'll not only score, but he'll deliver punishment.
3. Keep in balance: Vazquez has paid a heavy price when he's lost his balance in the first two fights.
4. Look for the uppercut: Vazquez has a tendency to miss badly and, when he follows through, is bent at the waist. Marquez should watch for that and throw the uppercut, which could be his most effective punch.
4. Move his head: Vazquez hopes to be right in front of Marquez, so he'll be a convenient target. He needs to move his head to avoid getting busted up.
Rating the fighters
Comparison of Rafael Marquez and Israel Vazquez on a rating of 1 to 10 in several categories:
Both men can punch with either hand.
The jab is Marquez's money punch.
Vazquez turns his entire body into his body shots.
Marquez should emphasize speed in this fight.
The better defender will probably wind up winning.
Each man has doled out tremendous punishment in the first two fights and the other has taken it well.
Fatigue could be a factor, especially if it's warm in the outdoors fight.
Marquez has learned from a master, Nacho Beristain.
Beristain is among the four or five best trainers in the game.
Vazquez wants to badly erase the memory of his having to quit in the first fight.
Marquez is not as strong or as physical, but is slightly more skilled. Each of the first two bouts have ended in knockout, but this one should be a longer fight and I'm going to go with Rafael Marquez by clear decision.