Vazquez returns to the ring

By Francis Walker, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: October 8, 2009

NEW YORK (BASN) — Israel Vazquez and Rafael Marquez fought one of the greatest trilogies in recent boxing memory. Plenty of back and forth action through a three-fight series that consisted of — rounds of non-stop action.

Even though Vazquez won the final two of the three fights, the wear and tear, followed by the exhaustion of the trilogy led to a lengthy period of inactivity for both fighters.

After more than 19 months removed from his 12-round split decision victory over Marquez in their epic third encounter, Vazquez (43-4, 31 KOs) returns to the squared circle on Saturday night to battle Angel Priolo (30-7, 20 KOs) at the Nokia Theatre LA Live in Los Angeles.

Vazquez-Priolo will be broadcast on HBO PLUS in Latin America and here in the United States on Fox Sports en Espanol beginning at 7 PM PT (10 PM ET).

“There was a high demand from fight fans here in the United States to see the return of Israel Vazquez and we’re happy that we were able to make this deal with Fox Sports en Español to give fans what they want,” said Golden Boy Promotions President Oscar De La Hoya commented. “This is a great night of fights and now boxing fans in the U.S. will get the chance to see them.”

Vazquez-Priolo is a featherweight fight scheduled for ten rounds. A Vazquez victory could set-up a potential fourth fight with Marquez.

“I’m ready,” said Vazquez, a former WBC and IBF super bantamweight champion.

“I’ve been training very hard over the past few months. I know there are still a lot of questions out there about whether or not I still have what it takes and if there is potential for a fourth fight with Marquez. This Saturday will answer a lot of those questions.”

“I know it’s going to be a tough fight and I’m ready for it.”

Tickets, priced at $200, $100, $75, $50 and $25, remain on sale and can be purchased online at ticketmaster.com, or by dialing 800-745-3000, or in person at the STAPLES Center Box Office. Door open at 3:30 PM; first bout is scheduled for 4:30 PM.

Lopez & Gamboa headline “Latin Fury 12″

Undefeated world champions Juan Manuel Lopez (26-0, 24 KOs) and Yuriorkis Gamboa (15-0, 13 KOs) will both be featured on a Pay-Per-View event from the Theater at Madison Square Garden, New York City on Saturday night. The event has been billed “Island Warriors” which is part of Top Rank’s “Latin Fury” boxing series.

Puerto Rico’s Lopez, making the fifth defense of the WBO junior featherweight championship, meets highly-ranked Tanzanian, Rogers Mtagwa (26-12-2, 18 KOs).

“On October 10, I will realize my dream of fighting at Madison Square Garden, and it is sooner than I planned,”Lopez said. “I am very excited to be fighting here. Even though Mtagwa doesn’t have the great record I know he is dangerous. I not only promise that I win on the 10 th , but I will knock him out.”

Gamboa, the Cuban amateur sensation, defends his WBA featherweight crown against Whyber Garcia (22-6, 15 KOs). Gamboa will be making the first defense of the WBA title he won in April against Jose Rojas.

“Given that Madison Square Garden has great history it is an honor to fight here and it is great that they bring in young champions to let us be a part of that history,” Gamboa stated. “I am going to come in at my best and I promise everyone will see a great show on October 10.”

Also on the card, undefeated heavyweight contender and 2004 Olympic Gold medalist Odlanier Solis (14-0, 10 KOs) of Cuba went from Kevin Johnson, Fres Oquendo, to fighting New York’s own Monte Barrett (34-7, 20 KOs).

Solis said: “On October 10 I plan to win then make some noise in this division. I will be coming in tip-top shape and with the help of my trainers will be using everything at my disposal to get the win.”

The Pay-TV action begins at 9 p.m. ET. The suggested retail is $39.95.

Tickets for live action are priced at $250, $150, $75, and $50 can be purchased at the Garden box office or online at either ticketmaster.com, or thegarden.com.

Big Weekend for DiBella Enertainment

Boxing promoter Lou DiBella has lots of smile about these days because, all six of his prized prospects won important bouts last weekend.

In the main event of a nationally televised tripleheader on “ShoBox: The New Generation series” on SHOWTIME, super middleweight contender Allan Green (29-1, 20 KOs) delighted his hometown audience at the First Council Casino in Newkirk, Oklahoma by capturing a 12-round unanimous decision against previously unbeaten Tarvis Simms (25-1-1, 11 KOs), who took the fight on less than one-weeks notice because of an injury to Victor Oganov.

“Allan trained for Victor Oganov and Oganov is nothing like Tarvis,” said promoter Lou DiBella. “It was a dominating win against a skilled pro that was impossible to look impressive against.”

In the ShoBox co-feature, Antwone Smith (17-1, 9 KOs), another DBE bright spot, handed previously unbeaten Henry Crawford (22-1-1, 9 KOs) the first professional loss of his career. Smith overcame a slow start to drop Crawford in rounds six and ninre before Crawford’s team surrendered.

“Antwone again proved he’s one of the best young fighters in the game by stopping Crawford,” DiBella remarked. There is no 22-year old pro in the country with more impressive wins than Antwone Smith. With DBE behind him, he’ll be given the best opportunities to meet his potential.”

Every time Smith has been labeled an “underdog,” he has won – namely against Richard Gutierrez and Noberto Gonzalez. Smith has been showcased on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights and on the MSG network. It’s good that he had an opportunity to fight another quality opponent in Crawford in a high profile fight on ShoBox.

At only 22 years of age, Smith has already faced, and defeated, stiffer competition than many top contenders in the game. Given his age, and experience, the prognosis on Smith’s career appears to be a limitless future.

In the televised opener, Unbeaten super middleweight prospect Marcus Johnson (18-0, 14 KOs) won an 8-round unanimous decision over Victor Villereal (8-4-2, 4 KOs) in the televised opening attraction. After scoring a knockdown in round six, Johnson went on to win a lopsided decision on the scorecards: 80-71 (twice) and 79-72.

“Marcus Johnson is a beast-in-waiting and a skilled boxer,” said DiBella. “When he hurt his right hand the boxer took over. Given the adversity, I thought it was a real impressive performance against a tough pro.”

Also, appearing on the undercard in non-televised bouts, middleweight prospect Willie Monroe, Jr. (6-0, 2 KOs) defeated Tyson Schwieger (3-8-3) and heavyweight prospect Tor Hamer (9-0, 7 KOs) knocked out Howard Jones (5-1) at 22 seconds of round one.

“Willie and Tor are two fighters on course for greatness,” said DiBella. “Tor showed what a monster he can be, and Willie did his thing by out-slicking a game challenger. They might have different styles, but these are two fighters with endless potential.”

Edwin Rodriguez (12-0, 8 KOs) won a unanimous decision against Darnell Boone (16-13-2, 6 KOs) over at the Twin Rivers Event Center in Lincoln, Rhode Island.