If there's a fighter in the sport today that knows about punishment -- giving and receiving -- it's Israel Vazquez. If there's one name fighter under fire for lacking guts and drive, it's Victor Ortiz. And Vazquez, unlike many fighters, commentators, fans and others in and around boxing, is telling Ortiz that all he can do is get back in the ring and fight.
Speaking with Robert Morales, Vazquez recalled his legendary first fight with Rafael Marquez, in which Vazquez stopped the fight after six rounds because of a broken nose. Vazquez, of course, came back from that loss to beat Marquez in two even more sensational fights in 2007 and 2008, firmly establishing his legacy as one of Mexico's greatest warriors.
"A lot of people questioned me coming back. A lot of people didn't think I should come back in five months. But I wanted to go out and prove to everybody that I had a bad night in March. I had a great night in August."
Like everyone -- including Ortiz -- he feels that "Vicious" Victor just didn't fight the correct battle against Marcos Maidana, a hard-punching, nothing-to-lose warrior that refused to bend to Ortiz's will the way so many other fighters had done already. He also calls Ortiz's chin "suspect," but it's not like we've never seen Vazquez in serious peril, and it hasn't come only against Marquez, a powerful sharpshooter.
The Ortiz situation will work itself out how it's going to work itself out. At this point, we've said it all, we've heard it all, and he's definitely heard it all. Hopefully he can find some inspiration in Vazquez's words and follow that sort of example, because as much as the fashion is to bash Ortiz (and I've done my share of it, no doubt), I like watching him fight. He's really talented, really exciting, and still very young.
- In the same article, Morales says he spoke with Manny Steward, who would prefer that Wladimir Klitschko fight Chris Arreola next, and then Nikolai Valuev, which would require side-stepping two mandatories (Alexander Povetkin and Eddie Chambers). Steward feels that people simply want to see Klitschko-Arreola more than those other fights, and that Arreola would have no fear of his fighter. Kind of an admirable stance, but not surprising given Manny's occasional brow-beatings of Klitschko during fights. I think he wants to see his man tested in the most interesting and perhaps most lucrative fight out there.