Former junior featherweight titlist Israel Vazquez is set to have his right eye removed and be fitted with a prosthetic in the coming months as reported by ESPN. While a number of rousing fights have thrilled the fans, including an epic 4-fight series with Rafael Marquez, it has also taken a physical toll on Vazquez.
"The problem obviously arose after the last fight [a KO loss to Rafael Marquez in May 2010, with whom Vazquez had four unforgettable bouts], but I don't want to demonize the sport or the fight, because this was an oversight by a doctor and by myself," said Vazquez. "When they started to perform the surgeries, I didn't take care of myself. They told me I was doing well and I tried to speed up the recovery, but my retina detached. I underwent many surgeries and they tried many methods, one of which was to put silicone in the eye. I assumed the doctors knew what they were doing, and at that moment I didn't recover my vision a hundred percent but I could live my life," Vazquez recalled.
Vazquez goes on to say that he then went to a renowned clinic in Mexico in 2011 where they told him it was a miracle that he hadn't already lost his eye because they aren't supposed to be able to withstand so many surgeries - with him having gone through six by then. Vazquez was advised that he needed a corneal transplant but he decided to just let it be instead. Unfortunately, after noticing his eye getting a little smaller and changing color in 2013, he realized that he did in fact need the transplant.
With assistance from the WBC, Vazquez was treated by a specialist who told him that the silicone placed in his eye had dried out, leaving him with two options: waiting for the entire eye to dry out (which could take between 1-10 years), or have it removed and replaced with a prosthetic. Vasquez ultimately decided to go with the prosthetic.
"The thing is, I can no longer see with my right eye," said Vazquez. "I am sensitive to light, I can make out silhouettes, but I can hardly see anything at night. I've lived my life with my left eye and I have no problems. So I opted for the prosthetic eye and Mr. (WBC president, Mauricio) Sulaiman has been helping me. Without being sarcastic, I'd prefer to look good with something that doesn't work rather than having something that doesn't work and doesn't make me look good. No date has been set but we'll see when it can be done. I know that psychologically it won't be easy but it's something I'll need to get used to."
Despite how things have turned out, Vazquez stands firm that he has no regrets about his chosen profession, even saying that if he were reborn that he'd like to become a boxer all over again.