SAN DIEGO, January 22, 2016 – One of boxing’s greatest appeals as a sport is the backstories of the athletes involved. Boxing attracts people looking to improve their lot in life, trying to escape poor neighborhoods or rough circumstances through the hard work of preparing to get in to the ring with another guy who wants it just as bad as you do.
Fighters on the undercard of the Premier Boxing on Fox event in Los Angeles Saturday have their own stories to tell. In the co-main event, a former Army veteran with two tours in Iraq will face a veteran of another kind of battlefield, the streets of East Los Angeles. “Sergeant” Sammy Vasquez (20-0, 14 KOs) puts his unbeaten record on the line against tough Aron Martinez of Los Angeles (19-3-1, 4 KOs).
Vasquez gets his chance to impress fans on primetime television in his California debut with a test against one of the toughest gatekeepers in his weight division. Vasquez had solid results from his last two bouts. He stopped Jose Lopez in the fifth round in September; and fought a bloody 10-round war with Wale Omotoso. Vasquez has a huge East Coast following, who will no doubt be cheering him on while possibly snowed in due to a huge predicted winter storm.
Martinez came to the attention of many fans with a narrow split decision loss against Robert Guerrero in June. Many observers thought the underdog Martinez won. He scored a fourth round knockdown and showed superior ring management, but narrowly lost. Martinez came back with a strong showing against former two-division world champion Devon Alexander in October. In a recent interview with Ringside Seat, Martinez says he let the loss to Guerrero motivate him and drive him to train harder.
At the weigh-in, Vasquez was eager. “I’m ready right now, right now, I feel great, I made weight, we can go tonight. We could have gone last week. I’m an aggressive fighter, I hit hard, I’m smooth and I can box. He’s (Martinez) a tough fighter himself but there’s more than comes with me and my abilities. I’m going to stop it before the sixth round.”
Martinez took the declaration in stride. “My last three fights they all said the same thing. I want to do this for my people, the Mexicans and all my fans .. I love it. I’m always the underdog, nothing new to me. Same old thing.”
Vasquez is developing nicely as a skilled boxer-puncher who doesn’t mind mixing it up. He may dismiss Martinez as a mere brawler, but this would be a mistake. Martinez is surprisingly accurate in his punching, which makes up for a lack of lights out power. Martinez has improved his conditioning since the Guerrero fight as he proved against Alexander.
Martinez and Vasquez share the old school desire to put on a show that pleases the fans and makes them eager to see their next fight. Both know they are in line for a fight against a much bigger name, possibly the winner of the main event between Garcia and Guerrero, which sets up the possiblity of a rematch between Guerrero and Martinez although both are the underdogs in their bouts. This promises to be an action-packed, entertaining event. It’s hard to bet against Vasquez, but Martinez will have the home town crowd behind him with a lot to prove.
The remaining televised fight on the undercard features two of many ambitious heavyweights looking for a share of boxing’s glamour division. Americans Dominic Breazeale (16-0, 14 KOs) and Amir Monsour (21-1-1 16 KOs) want to step up to bigger name competition, and either can do it with a solid victory here. Neither man distinguished himself in his last bout. Breazeale didn’t do a lot to convince anyone he’s ready with a sluggish decision over veteran Fred Kassi. Meanwhile, Monsour could do no better than a draw against Gerald Washington.
Breazeale weighed in at 252.8 pounds, 34 pounds more than Mansour at 218 pounds. Breazeale has a five inch height advantage at 6-6 over Mansour’s 6-1. Breazeale is 30; Mansour is 43. Not a typo – 43 years old.
Asked about the size difference after the weigh-in, Monsour said, “This a strength sport. It’s about muscle, endurance and technique. Fat never won a fight … I’m not worried about his size, I’m not worried about his weight … Mike Tyson dominated this division at only 209 pounds. His weight will not help him in the ring. There’s nothing he can do to stop this assassination. We’ve got more knockouts than he’s got fights.”
Breazeale said, “A statement victory is the only way to do it, to knock him out and shut him up. From the gridiron to the boxing ring has been a great transition. I’m 15-0. It’s going to be Monsour hitting the canvas, that’s about it.”
A month ago, this fight wouldn’t get the blood flowing. But after Tyson Fury set the heavyweight division in motion, suddenly there is far greater interest. In a world where Fury and Charles Martin are both heavyweight champions, it’s entirely possible. Crazy isn’t it?
“Premiere Boxing Champions: Garcia vs. Guerrero” begins at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT with Breazeale vs. Monsour and Vasquez vs. Martinez undercard bouts.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +
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