SAN DIEGO, Calif., March 27, 2020 – As boxing fans wander the sports desert desperate to find a fight oasis, Showtime Boxing goes to its video vault of outstanding bouts to bring fans one of the best fight series of the 21st century on Saturday, March 28.
Showtime Boxing re-airs the trilogy of fights between Mexican warriors Israel Vazquez and Rafael Marquez, starting at 10 pm ET/7 pm PT. Fans will see the trio of bouts back to back. The fights originally aired live on Showtime in 2007 and 2008. All three had the WBC Super Bantamweight World Championships at stake.
Natives of Mexico City, Vazquez and Marquez will forever be remembered for their three consecutive fights from March 2007 to March 2008. Marquez, the IBF and IBO World Bantamweight champion, moved up from the bantamweight division to take on Vazquez for his title.
For those who’ve never seen these fights, we envy you the opportunity to enjoy the action in real time, so we won’t completely give away the outcome. For fans who are well acquainted with the series, you can read between the lines.
Showtime Boxing’s Hall of Fame analyst Steve Farhood called the fight series “an explosion of artistic beauty,” a display of the classic Mexican warrior ethic. You won’t see any feeling out rounds, or either man taking a round off for a breather. We advise you to pace yourself watching all of the fights together.
Neither of the first two fights went the distance. Scorecards in both bouts were razor close at the time of the stoppages. The pair settled their series with a 12 round split decision, capping a year-long, continuous three-fight series in March 2008, something fans are unlikely to ever see again.
The Vazquez-Marquez series was originally called by the team of host and play-by-play man Steve Albert, ringside analyst Al Bernstein, Emmy Award-winning reporter Jim Gray, and ring announcer Jimmy Lennon Jr. All four are now members of the International Boxing Hall of Fame.
“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 numbers 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,” added Bernstein.
Vazquez Marquez trilogy launched the legacy of the Home Depot/Stub Hub Center
Vazquez Marquez I was the unanimous choice as the 2007 Fight of the Year. Vazquez Marquez II delivered the Round of the Year five months later (keep your seat during Round 3). The third fight was named the Fight of the Year in 2008.
The trilogy also established the legacy of the intimate outdoor boxing venue in Carson, California. Opened in 2003 and originally known as the Home Depot Center (later known as the Stub Hub Center and now the Dignity Health Sports Park) it has become the finest outdoor venue in the world and with a chemistry for action unlike any other. The 9,200 seat arena hosted three more Fights of the Year in 2013, 2014, and 2017 – more than any other single venue in the 21st Century to date.
‘Best fighter I ever faced’
In a RING Magazine interview years later, Marquez called Vazquez the best opponent he ever faced. “A smart fighter. He had a lot of power, he gave everything he had inside the ring. If you took him down, he would get up. Very strong physically and emotionally. He always went forwards. He never gave a backwards step. Strength, power, intelligence, he had it all,” said Marquez.
Vazquez returned the favor in his own RING Magazine interview. “Coming from the school of Nacho Beristain, he was very defensive, always trying to counterpunch. He was very effective with his left hand and from distance as well. I would try to disarm the left hand that he had. Those were the qualities Rafa had that definitely show him as a very good fighter.
“I believe he was the best because he was coming from a good career fighting at bantamweight and because of the connection with his brother, Juan Manuel, he was a very tough fighter,” said Vazquez.
Vazquez (44-5, 32 KOs), now age 47, retired in 2010 after a 15-year career in the ring. Marquez (41-9. 37 KOs), now age 45, began his pro career six months after Vazquez and retired in 2013.
Fans new to SHOWTIME® who sign up through the recently announced 30-day free trial before May 3 can watch these fights, the network’s original series, documentaries, specials and movies online via the SHOWTIME streaming service on SHOWTIME.com or the SHOWTIME app, available on all supported devices.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is a veteran boxing observer covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on social media at@PRProSanDiego.
Please credit “Gayle Falkenthal for Communities Digital News” when quoting from or linking to this story.
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