Vazquez is stopped by Marquez
Challenger wins super-bantamweight title when the champion quits after the seventh.
By Lance Pugmire, Times Staff Writer
March 4, 2007
Israel Vazquez tried to breathe through a broken nose for seven rounds. When he couldn't any longer Saturday at the Home Depot Center, the super-bantamweight champion told his trainer Freddie Roach to stop the fight.
Stunned amid hugs in the opposite corner after being knocked down by Vazquez in the third round, Rafael Marquez ended the reign of the six-time World Boxing Council title defender, and quickly embraced the contract stipulation that demands a rematch.
"I proved I'm the best champion," Marquez said after moving up in weight from his position as International Boxing Federation bantamweight champion. "He's a great champion. He's the only one to have ever really knocked me down."
Vazquez (41-4) said his nose was broken in the first round when Marquez (37-3, 33 knockouts) pounded a jab to the nose and later delivered a crushing right that buckled the champion's knees.
Marquez's crisp jab dictated the fight, and the move up in weight wasn't an issue as the challenger claimed the first two rounds.
After predictions that the matchup had a fight-of-the-year look, Vazquez showed why, rallying in the third with a devastating left uppercut that knocked down Marquez and left him grasping to survive the second half of the round.
When Marquez rallied in the fourth and fifth by continuing to land jabs and punches that weakened Vazquez's brittle nose, Roach said Vazquez asked him to stop the fight. "I asked Israel to suck it up … Marquez was getting tired," Roach said.
"I couldn't breathe properly," Vazquez said. "I was able to breathe through my mouth, but I couldn't breathe through my nose at all, and I was taking a lot of shots because of it."
A Showtime television microphone picked up Vazquez telling Roach at the end of the seventh, "I can't do it anymore."
Said Roach: "His nose is more important than the fight."
While two judges had Marquez leading, 67-65, through seven rounds, judge Jack Reiss had the bout scored even, 66-66, when referee Raul Caiz Jr. hugged Vazquez and waved his right arm to symbolize the corner was stopping the fight before the eighth round started.
"I was surprised he stopped," Marquez said. "I thought it was close."
While Marquez awaits a rematch, his brother, Juan Manuel Marquez, can make the brothers the only siblings in history to simultaneously hold WBC belts if he defeats super-featherweight champion Marco Antonio Barrera in Las Vegas on March 17.
"I want a rematch," Vazquez said before heading to a nearby hospital to repair the nose. "I'll be happy to fight him again."
Earlier, Vic Darchinyan, the IBF's flyweight champion, scored a 12th-round technical knockout of Mexico's Victor Burgos to complete a one-sided bout.
Darchinyan (28-0, 22 KOs) cruised to his sixth successful title defense by repeatedly landing his whipping left hand. The southpaw from Sydney, Australia, knocked down Burgos in the second round by unleashing a left to the challenger's stomach.
Burgos (39-15-3) continually backpedaled in the fight and although his occasional good counterpunches thrilled a partisan crowd and once sent Darchinyan tripping backward into the ropes in the seventh round, he only won one round on one judge's scorecard.
Darchinyan's 10th-round flurry in the closing minute left Burgos staggering, with a mouse puffing under his right eye. Seconds after Burgos' fifth slip of the bout, Darchinyan ended the fight with a modest attack.
Ringside physician Paul Wallace observed Burgos, 31, losing temporary consciousness and slumping on a stool after referee Jon Schorle stopped the fight, so he ordered Burgos to Harbor-UCLA Medical Center for observation.
"He was pretty hurt throughout the fight, he took a lot of heavy punches, not a lot of jabs" Wallace said.