By Felipe Leon
On Thursday morning it was announced via teleconference by 2007 Manager of the Year Frank Espinoza that the star of his ever growing stable, three time world champion Israel “Magnifico” Vazquez (43-4, 31KO) was medically cleared by the California State Athletic Commission to return to the ring after over a year hiatus due to a detached retina. “I believe that second only to Pacquiao, Israel Vazquez is the most exciting fighter of his generation,” Espinoza stated enthusiastically. “We are extremely excited with the news of Israel fighting again. Will there be a fourth fight against Marquez? Or a first fight against Puerto Rican super star Juan Manuel Lopez? We don’t know but we’ll be taking one step at a time.” In even bigger news, Espinoza confirmed that as of early June the 31-year-old Vazquez was a promotional free agent with his contract with Sycuan Ringside Promotions running its due course. “We are going to honor our contract with Sycuan but that ends next month and then he will be a free agent,” Espinoza said emphatically.
“I am happy to be able to come back to the ring. This was a tough year for me. I want to end my career in a dignified manner and not because of an injury,” Vazquez said.
The injury was sustained in Vazquez’s last bout on March 1, 2008 when he and Rafael Marquez put an exclamation point on their blood and guts filled trilogy with their final battle in which Vazquez won by way of split decision. Now the twelve round war was named the boxing association’s 2008 Fight of the Year, an honor that Vazquez does not take lightly.
“It is a beautiful thing for me and my career. I have fought for so long to be recognized and now my dream is coming true.”
It was revealed that Vazquez of Huntington Park, CA by way of Mexico City, MX, could be seen as early as September inside a ring but against who and where has not been determined as of yet.
“We have not ruled out any fights. If a tune up fight is what is next, that is what we will do,” Frank Espinoza said.
While “El Magnifico” elaborated on whom he wished to face off against.
“It all depends on my team. Juan Manuel Lopez has wanted to fight me since my last fight with Marquez. I would have liked to fight him then but that’s when I suffered my injury,” Vazquez states thoughtfully. “Now, I think I would like to fight Marquez the fourth time before Lopez and not out of fear but because I think its the easier fight to make.”
Vazquez also divulged that he would be joining the ranks of the 126 lbs. division and would have to relinquish the only belt he still held, the Ring Magazine super bantamweight title.
“I am coming back as a featherweight. That is what would be better for my body. I would of liked to have lost in the ring but I can’t sacrifice my body to make 122 lbs.”
“I don’t think it will be difficult to make the fourth fight at 126 lbs. As a matter of fact, Marquez just fought in the featherweight division,” Frank Espinoza stated regarding the bout that most boxing pundits and fans would most like to see Vazquez in.
“He looked good after many months of inactivity. What didn’t help was his opponent, he was too slippery,” Vazquez said regarding Rafael Marquez’s last bout this past Saturday night where he stopped Jose Francisco Mendoza of Columbia in the third round. “Him looking good gives me hope that we can make a 4th fight.”
“I did notice that his movements looked a bit slower but we have to remember that he has been inactive as long as I have but overall, he looked good.”
As far as the injury that he suffered and the consequences that may develop, Vazquez stayed positive.
“No, I am not worried because the operation went well but I would like to prove that. There is always a risk but hopefully everything is well.”