Feature Story

Q&A: Israel Vazquez

Two time super bantamweight champion Israel Vazquez wanted to extend his warmest holiday wishes to boxing fans everywhere. The holidays will be twice as special to “El Magnifico” since he’ll also be turning 32 years old on Christmas day. Vazquez will be fighting Rafael Marquez on May 22nd at the Staples Center in Los Angeles for a fourth time. He answered some questions before starting his Christmas break:
Now that you’ve had some time to reflect, how do you feel after your comeback fight against Angel Priolo?
I feel great. It was a tough fight against someone who was in great shape and put on the performance of his career. I think I was rusty but I was able to get the win by knockout and now I’m ready to move on to bigger things.
You have a big date on May 22nd against Rafael Marquez. This will be your fourth confrontation. What are you thinking now that the fight is set?
I’m excited. Rafael Marquez is one of the top pound for pound fighters in the world and we’ve already produced three exciting and memorable fights. I think the fans are going to see some explosive action from two of the most competitive fighters in the business. We’re proud warriors who don’t like to lose and are willing to give everything we have to get the win.
What do you think about headlining at the Staples Center?
It’s wonderful. It makes me feel proud and it makes me feel like my work as a fighter really paid off. I’ve always wanted to headline a show at a big venue and to do it in my own backyard, in my adopted city of Los Angeles, seems very unreal. It’s a dream come true. I think the fans are going to get an incredible show.
You’re going to be 32 years old on December 25th. What have you learned as you’ve gotten older?
I’ve learned not to take anything or anyone for granted. I’ve had so many great experiences because of boxing. I’ve met so many great people. I’ve also learned to be more patient and focused in every day life.  
It’s well known that you helped Manny Pacquiao prepare for his fight against Marco Antonio Barrera. What do you think about his latest accomplishments?
Manny’s work has been spectacular. He’s not a very big guy and to be able to beat great fighters like Ricky Hatton and Miguel Cotto is incredible to say the least. After many hours of sparring against Manny, the one thing I can tell you is that if you make any kind of mistake he’ll make you pay.
What are your goals for 2010?
I want to beat Rafael Marquez on May 22nd and then I want to move up in weight and win another world title. It’ll be up to Golden Boy Promotions and Frank (Espinoza) to decide what’s best for my career.
What was it like to meet governor Arnold Schwarzenegger at the Miracle on 1st street Toy Giveaway at the Hollenbeck Center?
It was a real thrill to meet Arnold. I’ve always been a real fan of his work as an actor. I wanted to take a picture with him at last year’s giveaway and didn’t get to. This year I got that picture and it was a real treat. I was a little star struck. 
How is Christmas different in Mexico City from Los Angeles?
Christmas in Mexico City is more festive. I think people really let loose during those times. Christmas in L.A. is more calm and reserved but at this point I’m very much used to it. I do miss all the great food my mom makes like turkey and chicken in mole.
Any final words for the fans?
I want to wish the fans a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays and I hope they and their family enjoy and appreciate these special days together. I want to thank them for supporting me and I want to assure them that there will be plenty more of Israel Vazquez in 2010.
To email Israel Vazquez a happy birthday:  israelmagnifico@yahoo.com
To follow the Espinoza Boxing Club on twitter: www.twitter.com/espinozaboxing

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