Marquez evens the series

By Tom Donelson, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: May 23, 2010

IOWA CITY (BASN) — Rafael Marquez and Israel Vasquez have engaged in three of boxing’s great bouts of the past decade as they both pounded each other into submission.

Vasquez won two of the three previous fights and their last fight was decided on a last round knockdown which gave Vasquez a narrow split decision win. This rivalry was a reminder of the old days when great fighters fought each other over and over.

Think Graziano-Zale, Pep-Sadler, Robinson-LaMotta and Ali-Frazier as great rivalries that produced some of the bloody fights in boxing history. Marquez-Vasquez rivals those great rivalries of the past and that includes blood left in the ring.

An interesting aspect of this rivalry is that both fighters respect each other but that respect does not prevent bloodbaths in the ring. On this night, it was Rafael’s night.

He started fast and nailed Vasquez with several right hands set up by left jabs. A solid right opened up a cut over his left eye. This set up rest of the fight for Vasquez’s face was a bloody mess from that point and Marquez took advantage by nailing him with shots after shots.

Vasquez found it difficult to penetrate Marquez defense and while in previous fights, he would be able come on strong later in the bout but his cut eyes would derail any chance that this fight will get to the late rounds.

At the end of the second round, both fighters exchanged words and Marquez came out smoking at the beginning of the third. He abandoned his foot movement but he was getting the best of the toe to toe exchanges.

In the middle of round, he nailed Vasquez with a four punch combination that sent Vasquez down. With blood covering his face, he retreated as Marquez followed him to the ropes.

Marquez threw another combination and Vasquez held his hands up in an attempt to block the incoming blows.Vasquez hands may have been up but Marquez was not missing and the referee ended the fight as Vasquez no longer could defend himself.

While there was talk of a fifth fight, Vasquez looked like a spent fighter who cut easy. Showtime’s Antonio Tarver noted that just maybe, his eyes would end his career.

Certainly there won’t be a fight any time soon as Vasquez needs to allow his eyes to heal. This fight represented two great warriors who have given all they had over the years and while there may be fights left in their future, their legacy have long been secured.

As Jimmy Lennon announced at the beginning, these were two future Hall of Fame fighters.

In the preliminary fight, Colombian fighter Yonnhy Perez defended his IBF Bantamweight championship against his good friend Abner Mares. Both fighters were undefeated with identical 20-0 record with Perez having one more knockout.

This was a fight that saw a divergence of styles. Mares used his speed and foot movement to unleashed combinations, whereas Perez spent most of the fight pursuing Mares.

He won the first round with quick combinations but Perez’s punches had more pop.

In the early rounds, it was even with each fighters doing what they do best. Mares moved and boxed while occasionally moving forward. Perez moved forward, attempting to slow Mares down with left hooks.

In the middle rounds, Perez appeared to have turned the fight in his favor as he started to wear Mares down with effective hooks to the body and head. He occasionally connected with solid rights and Mares slowed down.

After the end of the eighth round, Mares told his corner that he was exhausted.

In the ninth round, Mares got a second wind as he countered and ended the round with three rights that forced Perez to retreat. In the 10th, both fighters had their moment but Mares put his stamp on the round when he nailed Perez with three straight rights right before the bell.

With two rounds left, Perez faced the prospect of losing his title. Mares’ quickness were having their toll and while many thought it would be Mares who would wear out, it was starting to look like Perez was the one wearing out.

Going into the 12th and final round, it was anybody fights so both fighters came out fast. Perez pursued as he nailed Mares with three left hooks and Mare retreated.

For the first half of the fight, Perez attacking style appeared to be winning the round before Mare nailed Perez with a counter right. Over the last minute, it was Mares who threw the more substantial punches.

In the last 20 seconds, Mares nailed Perez with two solid rights that buckled Perez knees. Mares became the pursuer as forced Perez back to the rope as time was running out.

This was a fight that was hard to score as Mares threw more punches but Perez pushed the action and his punches had more pop for the first eight rounds. If you like a swarming style of fighting, you voted for Perez, if you liked slick boxing then you voted Mares.

The judges couldn’t make up their mind as it was a majority draw with two judges scoring it a draw and another giving Mares the edge in a close decision. The fight was close and this calls for a rematch against two even fighters.

Both fighters left the win with their zero intact with only a draw on their record.

In a evening that featured two Hall of Fame fighters fighting near the end of their career, Mares and Perez produced a spirited event.