Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports had a post-fight article that will be much like all the others you're likely to read. Like everyone else, Kevin seems a bit heartbroken about the reality of last night's fourth fight between Israel Vazquez and Rafael Marquez.
But he adds one interesting piece of what I can only consider good news:
Long after the fight ended, Vazquez sat on a bench in the lobby of his hotel with his manager, Frank Espinoza Sr. Espinoza, who had his arm draped over Vazquez’s shoulder, had earlier said he thought Vazquez should retire.
Both promoters Oscar De La Hoya and Gary Shaw said they aren’t interested in putting on another fight between the men.
They didn’t want to be critical of Vazquez publicly, but they knew. Vazquez doesn’t have it any more.
Mark Kriegel of FOX Sports had this from Shaw:
"I got a real good look at Israel’s eye," said promoter Gary Shaw. "I don’t want to see a fifth fight."
Everyone in or around boxing who has followed Israel Vazquez's career likely hates being real about this situation. For relative peanuts over the years, the 32-year-old Vazquez has given tons of blood, sweat and tears to the sport of boxing. If Vazquez does retire, which I dearly hope he will, nobody with a functioning brain will be able to say he took one ounce of possible effort out of boxing with him. He left everything he's ever had in the ring.
And it's over for him. No doctor on earth can make his eyes fight-ready. And any fighter worth their salt is going to be able to bust him open fast. All Vazquez has is a puncher's chance, and he needs that punch to come within three rounds at the most. Otherwise, the blood's going to take him out. And eventually, you're not just risking long-term injury, you're simply making a long-term injury that much worse.
I love Israel Vazquez. He's one of those guys that I hope you all tell your children and your grandchildren about. In 20 years, guys my age are going to be bitching that they don't make 'em like Izzy Vazquez anymore. Now that guy was tough...
Vazquez is a throwback. So is Rafael Marquez. Part of the reason Marquez came out of the trilogy better than Vazquez is before the trilogy, Marquez hadn't been in a lot of serious, bang-it-out wars. Vazquez had, with Jhonny Gonzalez and Oscar Larios in particular. Israel was still a great fighter coming into the rivalry, but he was already shop-worn. Each fight simply made it worse, not that you'd have known it at the time.
He is the type of fighter you never forget. If you stopped watching boxing tomorrow, and you've seen Israel Vazquez's best fights, you'd think of Israel Vazquez in 30 years off hand, when you saw boxing in some movie or flipped by it on your TV. And I think you'd smile, because he entertained so savagely, and probably gave you a lot of memorable evenings.
It's not that Vazquez can't beat Marquez anymore. It's that he can't realistically have more than a shot in the dark chance against anyone who's any good. Coming into the fight, I had Marquez ranked No. 5 at feather (higher than anyone else, but I saw only rust in his comeback fight last year, and not totally depleted skills) and Vazquez unranked. I would have ranked Vazquez had he been at all impressive or even just rusty last year against Angel Antonio Priolo. But he was just not very good at all. Now I wouldn't in good conscience rank Vazquez in the top 30 at featherweight.
That worst of his cuts last night required three layers of stitches -- he was cut down to the bone. He will never be close to 100% again. He will never be "Magnifico" again.
But he'd leave us with a legacy that should, in my view, absolutely put him in the Hall of Fame. He's one of the best 122-pound fighters ever, and one of the pound-for-pound toughest and bravest men you'll ever see in the boxing ring. Vazquez would fight Godzilla tomorrow if that's what people wanted to see.
As a major Israel Vazquez fan, I can say with some sadness, but more admiration that I neither want nor need to see him fight anyone again. There's nothing more he can prove, other than the known risks of fighting on past your due date.