Israel Vazquez and Rafael Marquez I and II produced the most exciting, bloody, give-and-take slugfests of 2007, and inevitably have led to one of the most highly anticipated rubber matches in boxing history. Now, they battle for the World Boxing Council (WBC) 122-pound title, The Ring Magazine 122-pound crown and super bantamweight supremacy in the third and final chapter of boxing’s best rivalry in recent memory. Vazquez-Marquez III “Final Confrontation” will take place on Saturday, March 1, 2008, from The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
Vazquez - Marquez III, which headlines an exciting night of world-class boxing action, will be presented by Gary Shaw Promotions, in association with Sycuan Ringside Promotions, Golden Boy Promotions and Romanza Boxing Productions.
The showdown will be televised live on Showtime Championship Boxing beginning at 9 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast).
Question: Gary, would you like to make some opening comments?
Shaw: This truly is a tremendous trilogy of two A+ fighters. I don’t remember for a long, long
while if there’s ever been a trilogy of this magnitude. This is a people’s fight and one that is tremendous for boxing.
Question: Gary, how proud are you to be involved in something like this?
Shaw: I don’t know that I can honestly put it in words. You know, I don’t want to get emotional and I don’t want to talk like a promoter, but I believe this trilogy will be a part of history. I can tell you at the end of the ‘round of the year’ of the second fight, what I will remember is Scott Woodworth behind me banging me on my shoulder pulling me up by my neck off the chair, saying, ‘Can you believe this? Can you believe this?’ Now, that’s a promoter of the opponent to my fighter. We are against one another, and he’s banging me and lifting me up and can’t believe it.
I will always have memories of these two fighters that have huge hearts. I did the first Mickey Ward Arturo Gatti fight when I was with Main Events. Not taking anything away from Arturo Gatti or Mickey Ward, but when they had that trilogy they were not A+ fighters.
These are A+ fighters, and I thank you for the question. I’ve been around boxing since 1971, and I will never forget these three fights, and the third fight hasn’t even happened yet.
Question: Rafael, what changed from the first fight? What was it that made Vazquez a tougher opponent for you?
Marquez: In the first fight, I did many great things. I fought my fight. In the second fight, I just made a lot of mistakes, and Vazquez took advantage of those. He’s a great fighter. He’s a tough fighter. That’s what I can tell you. He took advantage of the second fight and he won it. Now, I’m just waiting for this third one, so I can bring my title back to Mexico.
Question: Israel, how are you going to approach this fight differently from the first fight, or do you want to have it come out the same way and do you want to approach it the same way as the second fight?
Vazquez: There is a big difference between my other opponents and Rafael Marquez. Obviously one of them is the fact that Rafael was coming up in weight for our first fight, and from that point on, which actually caught me by surprise because he was stepping up in class.
This is obviously a much bigger fight than any other fight that I have with the same opponents because Rafael Marquez is a highly rated opponent. He’s not and he’s a great challenger and he’s a great fighter. I will obviously prepare myself thinking about it, and I have been preparing myself from the first fight that we had, considering the fact that he is such a great Mexican fighter. We’ll be ready for this fight on March the 1st and putting it all on the line.
Question: Rafael, how do you want to approach this third fight differently?
Marquez: I’m working on many things that I need to work on to win against Vazquez. Obviously, I can’t disclose what I have done, but everything will be fine. I’m going to be ready. I’m going to be physically and mentally ready for that fight.
Question: Israel, are you calm at this point? What is your mood right now?
Vazquez: I am very focused on this fight. Physically, I am 100 percent. Mentally, I’m very relaxed. The winner of this fight is going to be the public. Obviously, I want to win the fight, but I know Marquez very well, and I know what he’s capable of. I know what I’m capable of. But, this fight is the fight for the people. That’s why we’re doing it again.
Question: Rafael, what is your mood is at this point?
Marquez: I’m not nervous at all about this fight. I’ve been taking care of myself very well, and I’m focused on the fight. I know Vazquez very well, so I’m waiting for March 1 to have a great fight. Obviously, the fans are the ones that are the winners.
Question: Nacho Beristain (Marquez’ trainer), what’s going to be the difference in this third fight obviously compared to the first and second?
Beristain: Well, I don’t see anything that’s going to be a difference. It’s going to be a war. The first two fights were wars, and I don’t see this third one any different. They (Vazquez and Marquez) are going to give everything in the ring, and I’m just hoping that Marquez makes a little bit different fight than he did in the second one so we can have access to victory.
Question: Gary, how close is this to the Jose Luis Castillo Diego Corrales trilogy?
Shaw: It is kind of different. Castillo Corrales was one fight which was a great fight, and one specific round which was like having an out of body experience. But, it wasn’t the trilogy. It was a lot of drama to Corrales and Castillo, but it was only one tremendous round that made that fight, that made Corrales and Castillo.
This is different. These are two true Mexicanos fighting one another for the glory of their country, for the glory of themselves. I believe they left everything in fights 1 and 2 on the canvas, and that’s why the real winners, as someone said before, have been the fans.
I don’t think this trilogy in my mind can be compared to anything. I think this may go down as the greatest we won’t know obviously until after March 1. But, if I know both fighters like I think I do, and I know the camps and the trainers and everyone else, I believe that this might go down as the greatest trilogy of all time.
Question: Israel and Rafael, what are your plans beyond this fight?
Vazquez: Obviously, I would like to go after the unification of the 122-pound title. Also, I would try to move up and face Jorge Linares at 126 pounds if he’s still the champion. However, first things first, it’s going to be March 1. I’m confident enough that I can win that fight one more time, but I have to obviously wait until that time comes.
Marquez: There are no plans for me after March 1. I have to focus on March 1, and that’s all I can tell you. I’m just focusing on Israel Vazquez.
Question: Rafael and Israel, do you have any predictions about the fight? D you feel like this is going to go less than six rounds?
Marquez: We are strong fighters and we are tough fighters, so this will not end before the 12th round. That’s all I can tell you.
Vazquez: The first time I made a prediction for the first fight, it didn’t turn out my way. So, I don’t want to make any predictions for this particular fight. All of you know us, exactly who we are. You’ve seen us twice. We are great Mexican warriors. Although I expect a fierce battle again, I see that this could end before the 12 rounds. But, I don’t want to give any round predictions.
Question: Israel and Rafael, do you feel any pressure to put on the same kind of fistic display, a different display than the first two?
Vazquez: I really don’t have any pressure. Our styles combined made up for a very good fight. The only thing I know for sure is that I’m going to try my best to hurt him (Vazquez) round after round after round so I’m able to obtain the victory. That’s my main concern, trying to hurt him round by round.
Marquez: No, I don’t feel any pressure. What you’re going to see in the ring is a warrior, a warrior that wants his title back. You are going to see one great fight.
Question: Gary, do you think this third fight is getting the proper attention from the boxing and mainstream media that it deserves?
Shaw: I think it will. I think every fight has a buildup. You’ve got Kelly Pavlik and Jermain Taylor this week. Once that fight is out of the way, I think people know that this fight is there. There’ is a real fight. Would I like it to get more attention? Yes, obviously. But you know, at the end of the day, it’s 122 pounds, and lighter weights always seem harder to get a lot of attention to. It seems you have to be 130 pounds or more to start getting real attention.
At the end of the day, I know that I will have been at ringside for three of the greatest fights in the history of boxing. I know I will have seen two of the greatest Mexicano warriors in the history of boxing. No matter what happens, nobody can take that away from me.
Promoters • Gary Shaw • Israel Vazquez • Rafael Marquez