Wednesday, October 6, 2021

Where Miguel Vazquez Fits In The Lightweight Mix

The 135lb. Lightweight division is traditionally one of the most talent stacked divisions where usually any of the top fighters in the division can make a claim to being the number one Lightweight in the world at a given time. Such claims can even come during such a time as the present where there is one undisputed world champion Teofimo Lopez and several other top fighters that each hold some claim as Lightweight world champion due to the politics that be in the sport of Boxing. 

As most of the attention focuses on the upper echelon on the division most of the time, what about the vast crop of fighters looking to get into that position of being in the mix. What about the numerous contenders and former world champions that may not be getting a lot of the attention, but are still trying to get themselves in position to face either a world champion or one of the top fighters in the division. One such fighter is Miguel Vazquez.

Some may recall Vazquez as the former IBF Lightweight world champion, who won the title in 2010 with a twelve round unanimous decision over Ji-Hoon Kim. He would go on to have a lengthy four year reign as world champion in which he successfully defended his crown six times. Since losing the title to Mickey Bey in September 2014, Vazquez’ career has seen ups and downs, but he has continued on with hopes of securing another world championship bout. Now at thirty-four years of age, Vazquez looking to build momentum after coming off of a victory in his last fight and following his last loss to Lewis Ritson in October of last year, took a record of 43-10, with 17 Knockouts into the ring to face veteran Oliver Flores on October 2nd at the Verite Social Venue in Monterrey, Mexico.

In Flores, Vazquez faced a veteran of thirty-five professional bouts who came into the fight with a record of 30-3-2, with 19 Knockouts. Flores was also a former world title challenger in the 130lb. Jr. Lightweight division previously in his career. So, this figured to be a good test to see where Vazquez was at, at this stage in his career against a durable seasoned opponent, who was also coming into the bout on a three fight winning streak. 

What happened when the two fighters squared off can be best described as a workmanlike performance by Vazquez. Although the fight was nearly halted in the third round when a cut as a result of an accidental clash of heads opened a gash over the left eyebrow of Flores, the fight did go on to the full ten round distance.

Over the course of this bout. Vazquez showed his experience in not only being able to dictate the tempo of the combat, but also pick his spots. One of the attributes that Vazquez possesses that makes him very difficult for an opponent to combat is he has an ability to attack from odd angles, which you often cannot see coming unless you are in a position where you are able to limit his ability to move and set traps.

To his credit, Oliver Flores did try to apply pressure and did step up his aggression at times throughout, but he was not able to limit Vazquez movement, his ability to attack at odd angles, or his ability to counter punch as the fight went on. This in addition to Vazquez’ greater work rate throughout resulted in the former world champion earning a convincing ten round unanimous decision.

As for where this victory puts Miguel Vazquez in the bigger picture of things in regard to the 135lb. Lightweight division, a win is a win and even though some might say that this particular victory may not mean much in the overall picture amongst fighters at the top of the division like current Undisputed world champion Teofimo Lopez, George Kambosos, who are in the midst of what can best be described as a fiasco that is best suited for a reality TV show due to the numerous problems the two have had in trying to get their often postponed fight to take place including several issues with novice promotional entity Triller, that will likely result in some form of litigation amongst the three and the International Boxing Federation, or fighters such as Devin Haney, Ryan Garcia, Vergil Ortiz, among many others, it may not seem like Vazquez is in the discussion currently. What he does have in his favor however, is name recognition value as a former world champion and the experience to give any of the aforementioned names a difficult challenge.

Given the current state of the division due largely to the Lopez-Kambosos/Triller  show, which has put the Lightweight championship of the world in limbo for the time being, perhaps Vazquez could be a potential opponent for fighters like Garcia, Haney, or Ortiz. The bottom line is with the very top of the division, the world championship idle, there is some room for the potential next challengers to maneuver into that position, which may work to a fighter like Miguel Vazquez’ benefit because as those potential challengers look to stay busy in the interim, they will need opponents and thus therein lies opportunity because if Vazquez were to defeat one of those fighters that are angling for a shot at Lopez assuming he eventually faces Kambosos and retains his undisputed crown, Vazquez will be right back in the mix and deservedly so. 

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

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