Battered Vazquez stops Marquez in rematch with TKO
HIDALGO, Texas -- Israel Vazquez reclaimed the WBC super bantamweight title he lost to Rafael Marquez in March, knocking the champion down in the sixth before stopping him at the 1:16 mark Saturday night at Dodge Arena.
Vazquez took a pounding, too.
"I wasn't afraid they were going to stop the fight because I could see,'' said Vazquez, who had cuts above both eyes, the worst on the right side. "But my cut man [Joe Sanchez] deserves a lot of credit. So does my new trainer Rudy Perez.
"I think I proved what kind of fighter I am tonight. My nose was never a factor. I'm looking forward to fighting Marquez again. In the third fight, I will knock him out earlier.''
Vazquez improved to 42-4 with 31 knockouts. Marquez, who took the belt from Vazquez in an eight-round TKO on March 3 in California, fell to 37-4 with 33 KOs.
The 29-year-old Vazquez, who fights out of Mexico City, went to the mat in the fifth, but Perez ruled he lost his balance. After he got up, Marquez began working the jab and sent Vazquez back to his corner a bloody mess.
As if sensing he needed to do something to change the momentum, Vazquez came out firing in the sixth. He knocked Marquez to the deck about a minute in with an overhand right, but Marquez continued after a standing eight count.
After the fight resumed, Vazquez continued pushing the action, landing a series of shots to the head and body of Marquez, who was not defending.
After one final right, Perez jumped between the fighters and ended it.
"This was an easy decision to stop the fight,'' Perez said. "I could tell [Marquez] was hurt after he went down. He got up but took a lot of punches.''
Vazquez was leading 48-47 on all three judge's cards before the sixth, but Marquez appeared to be the stronger fighter early. That changed in the third when a solid right by Vazquez buckled Marquez's legs. He never looked as powerful after that, but he wasn't happy with the stoppage.
"I don't know why the referee stopped the fight,'' Marquez said. "I was still punching and he never looked at my eyes. I wanted to keep on going. I definitely want a third fight.''
In the co-main event, Celestino Caballero (27-2, 18 KOs) defended his WBA super bantamwieght championship by taking a unanimous 12-round decision over Jorge Lacierva (32-7-6, 22 KOs) in a fight that looked closer than it was scored by the judges.
Rafael Ramos scored the bout 116-111, Dr. Ruben Garcia saw it 116-110 and Levi Martinez scored it 115-112, all in favor of the champ, who was making his second title defense.
"There was no doubt in my mind that I won this fight,'' Caballero said. "I was connecting with the better punches and jabbing him at will. I am happy with my performance but I know I could have done better. It's hard to look good against a guy who fights as dirty as he did.
"The best is yet to come. If I fight the Marquez-Vasquez winner, you will see the real me.''
Caballero, who at 5-foot-11 has rare height for a bantamweight, looked awkward at times, perhaps struggling with the 5-4 Lacierva, and referee Lawrence Cole was forced to repeatedly pull the fighters apart as Caballero kept holding Lacierva's arm to his body.
"I am very disappointed,'' said Lacierva, who fights out of Santa Anita, Mexico. "I came to fight and all he did was throw elbows and hold me. He was holding me and hitting me all night. He's a good champion, but I'm very disappointed.''
On the undercard, Jorge Paez, Jr. (16-1, 10 KOs) worked hard for a unanimous decision over Jaime Orrantia (10-20-4, 2 KOs) in a six-round lightweight bout.
Junior middleweight Alfredo Angulo (8-0, 6 KOs) scored a TKO victory over Taronze Washington (9-8, 5 KOs) after Washington didn't answer the bell for Round 4.
Undefeated Mexican lightweight Juan Castanda (11-0, 9 KOs) earned a six-round unanimous decision over Jose Magallon (5-4, 3 KOs) in the first bout of the evening.
In the final bout of the evening, Gabriel Rangel (4-1-2) handed bantamweight Jose Salazar his first lost with a four-round split decision.
Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press