Undercard: Vazquez stops Hernandez; Tsurkan wins

Israel Vazquez retained his 122-pound title with a fourth-round TKO of fellow Mexican Ivan Hernandez, the featured bout on the Antonio Tarver-Bernard Hopkins undercard on Saturday.

Originally Published: June 10, 2006
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- Junior featherweight world champion Israel Vazquez came into the ring with blond highlights in his black hair, and he left as a redhead.

The reason: He had Ivan "Choko" Hernandez's blood all over his head.

Vazquez retained his 122-pound title with a fourth-round TKO of fellow Mexican Hernandez at Boardwalk Hall on Saturday night.

It was the featured bout on the Antonio Tarver-Bernard Hopkins undercard.

Vazquez (40-3, 29 KOs), who made his fourth defense, was dominating Hernandez (23-2-1), a former junior bantamweight titlist who moved up from 115 pounds a couple of fights ago.

In the fourth, Vazquez broke Hernandez's nose. The blood flowed for the rest of the round. After the round and an exam by the ringside physician, the fight was stopped.

"This was a difficult fight," Vazquez said. "I didn't think he would be able to move as fast as he did. He was pressuring me, but thankfully things turned around and I was able to break his nose."

Vazquez was fighting for the first time since December, when he established himself as the best junior featherweight in the world with a third-round TKO of Oscar Larios in their unification fight.

That gave Vazquez a 2-1 lead in his rivalry with Larios. If Vazquez has his way, there will be a fourth fight.

"I want to fight the best. I have been ready to fight the best. I want to fight Larios again," he said.

Tsurkan TKOs Camacho Jr.
Andrey Tsurkan (23-2, 15 KOs) stalked Hector Camacho Jr. (41-2-1) all night until finally catching up to him and battering him for an eighth-round TKO.

Al Bello/Getty ImagesAndrey Tsurkan (right) stopped Hector Camacho Jr. in the eighth for a TKO.

Tsurkan, 28, an aggressive Ukrainian living in the Bronx, was willing to take two shots to land one while looking to fire punches at the elusive southpaw.

In the eighth, he caught Camacho against the ropes and never stopped throwing punches. Although many of the blows missed, some hard ones landed. Camacho appeared dazed and was not throwing back as he sagged against the ropes when referee Randy Neumann jumped in to stop it at 1:42, eliciting boos from the crowd and a protest from Camacho.

"That's crazy. I wasn't in trouble," Camacho said. "They should have stopped the fight in the fourth round. He was out. I don't want a rematch. I would like to protest. I was robbed."

Tsurkan, who has won three in a row by knockout, appeared to take over the fight in the fourth round as he pinned Camacho in the corner and unleashed a continuous assault. But Camacho found an opening and launched two huge counter left hands that rocked Tsurkan.

Camacho had him hurt and was looking for the knockout when Tsurkan came back to hurt Camacho again as they took turns seizing the momentum in the action-packed round.

"I wasn't going to go down," Tsurkan said. "I have a head and heart of steel."

Tsurkan hopes the win against a name opponent will help him get a more significant bout.

"I want to go back to the gym and get better," he said. "I want a big fight."

Camacho, 27, the son of flamboyant former champ Hector Camacho Sr., was once considered a top prospect until he quit against James Leija in a 2001 HBO fight that was called a no contest because Camacho was cut.

Since then, Camacho suffered his only previous loss to Omar Weis and was held to a draw by journeyman Marteze Logan while fighting low-level fights with little TV coverage.

The fight with Tsurkan was his first on a big show since the Leija debacle, and perhaps his last.

• Junior welterweight Jorge Paez Jr. (9-0) stayed undefeated with a lopsided four-round decision against journeyman Travis Hartman (7-4-1).

Paez, with his father, former featherweight champion Jorge Paez Sr., at ringside, was faster and more powerful than Hartman as he bullied him around the ring.

Two judges had it a 40-36 shutout while the third judge scored it 39-37 for Paez, who is just 18.

• Welterweight Rock Allen (8-0, 6 KOs), a 2004 U.S. Olympian, overwhelmed Ken Humphreys (2-2) for a first-round TKO.

Allen is trained by his father, Nazim Richardson, who is also Hopkins' trainer. Allen attacked Humphreys from the outset and had him in trouble immediately. Late in the round, Allen dropped him with a short left hook, and although Humphreys survived, Allen immediately landed a combination and referee Allan Huggans stopped the fight at 2:40

Dan Rafael is the boxing writer for ESPN.com