While Israel Vazquez's return date of October 10 at the Nokia Theater in Los Angeles had been set for a while now, his opponent until now was unknown. The mystery is over: Vazquez will face journeyman Al Seeger in his featherweight debut.
Like BoxingScene's Mark Vester at the above link, I think this one has a chance to get ugly and fast. Seeger (28-4, 22 KO) has lost three of his last four fights, two of them by stoppage. His last loss game to Yuriorkis Gamboa in July 2008, a first round TKO stoppage in which Gamboa had no trouble whatsoever. Seeger, 29, fares better at junior featherweight, the division where Vazquez reigned as world champion.
Vazquez (43-4, 31 KO) turns 32 on Christmas day, and will be looking to shake off some rust, as well as find out exactly where his body is at after what will be 19 months out of action, mostly due to multiple surgeries on his eye. He hopes to use the fight against Seeger as a springboard to a fourth bout with rival Rafael Marquez, who won his May comeback bout, also at featherweight.
Granted, I'm a huge Izzy Vazquez fan, as pretty much every red-blooded boxing fan should be. But I think Seeger is a really odd pick. It's hard to talk about, but the fact is in Seeger's last fight, his opponent Benjamin Flores wound up dead following eight rounds of action. Most fighters simply cannot mentally come back from that sort of thing, and it'll be very, very hard for Seeger to have his head straight going back into the ring.
Still, if he's found peace with the tragedy, Seeger could also present Israel with some problems if Vazquez is not at his best, and he'll never be 100% again. Seeger can punch a little, and if Vazquez's resistance is blown (which isn't that big of a leap to take all things considered), the chance for an upset is definitely there.
Smart money is on Vazquez, quick and clean. But he didn't take a total chump in his comeback fight, either. Isn't that just like the Israel Vazquez we remember?
UPDATE: Al Seeger himself campaigned for the fight, so I'm going to guess he's ready for it. I'm glad he's getting his shot, glad he hasn't lost his fighting spirit, and do hope someone (Vs., perhaps) grabs this fight. The only thing scheduled for American TV on 10/10 is the Lopez and Gamboa Top Rank PPV.