This Saturday, Mar. 28, Showtime will dig into its archives and air the first three incredible battles between warriors Israel Vazquez and Rafael Marquez, starting at 10 pm ET.
If you do not have Showtime, this is an excellent reason to sign up for a 30-day trial. The bouts will be available on Showtime’s streaming service, and on Showtime Anytime.
The three bouts, which came within a 363-period in 2007-08, were back-to-back-to-back for each man, and they were brutal.
Marquez was moving up from bantamweight at the time, and Vazquez was the WBC titleholder at 122 pounds. On paper, they promised action. Marquez was a terrific technician but also good for action, and Vazquez was a straight-up warrior, a blood-and-guts guy through and through.
The first fight on Mar. 3, 2007, was one of the earliest fights that I worried I was overhyping on this site, but it turned out to be what I hoped it would. The rematch in Aug. 2007 was more of the same. And then the third fight in Mar. 2008 was a stone cold classic.
If you’ve never seen these fights, here’s a taste. Round three from their second meeting, the 2007 Round of the Year:
This is my personal favorite trilogy in all of boxing history, and like everyone I tend to completely ignore the unfortunate fourth fight between the two from 2010, where Vazquez was a shell of his former self and had serious eye problems going in.
If my word isn’t good enough for you, fair enough, so ask Hall of Fame analyst and commentator Al Bernstein what he thinks of the fights.
“We all knew the first fight would be great, and it more than lived up to expectations,” said Bernstein. “The second fight was exciting, and when fight three came, I didn’t think they could top Nos. 1 and 2, but they did just that. It’s one of the top five fights I’ve ever announced or seen. The ebb and flow was tremendous, and you almost felt it didn’t matter who ended up getting the decision because they both had been so great. I can’t admire two boxers more than these two men.”