Monday, August 6, 2007

Blood Bank

Rafael Marquez Vs. Israel Vasquez (Photo Cred: Tom Casino - Showtime)

Mostly, this drift is about amateurs but it's inevitable there's overlap. These two 122 pounders met for the second time on Saturday Night. The first fight was a bloodletting, with Vasquez losing when he quit with a broken nose and trainer Freddie Roach stopped it. One or the other. Marquez got off the canvas to win that one. This second fight was billed as Vasquez' Revenge but when it was over I had the feeling that I'd seen a bad car crash. Both fighters were bloodied and cut early and it became a contest of will, power, and speed with both guys trapped in a circle of violence like one of those Basilio-Robinson-LaMotta old school battles.

Vasquez got wobbled a couple of times and Marquez got dropped but the fight played out to a bitter end when the ref had to step in with what Al Bernstein called "an early stoppage." I like Bernstein and it's true Marquez might have survived the round but this was no early stoppage. Marquez had that faraway look in his eyes when the referee waved Vasquez off. Marquez fought like a true champion but it wasn't his night. Vasquez was unrelenting and gave no quarter.

As for Bernstein's claim of an "early stoppage", I'd say you stand in there, Al, for just thirty seconds and then tell me it was an "early stoppage."

There's talk of a third meeting and, thanks to the referee, Marquez should be healthy enough to do it again.

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