By Ricardo Conde
Three-time world champion Israel “El Magnifico” Vazquez (44-4, 32 KOs) of Mexico will step back into the ring against two-division world champion, Rafael Marquez (38-5, 34 KOs) of Mexico on Saturday, May 22nd at the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, CA. Considered widely by many to be perhaps the greatest boxing trilogy of all time, these two great Mexican warriors will meet again for a fourth time on “Once and Four All” in a 12 round bout in the featherweight division, which will be shown live on SHOWTIME.
We had a moment to sit down and talk to Vazquez as he prepares for his upcoming bout, here’s what he had to say:
You’re currently preparing for your next fight, which will be against Rafael Marquez; give us your thoughts on this fight?
We’re going to be very well prepared for this fight, we’ll be very strong. We’re doing a few things different this time than we’ve done in the past, but I believe it will still be an all out war, same as our other three fights.
How is training camp going?
Training camp is going really good. We’ve noticed some mistakes and thanks to God we’ve had enough time to correct those mistakes. We’ll be in great condition for the fight.
What kind of statement are you looking to make in your fight with Marquez, are you going to look for the knockout?
Well, we’re going to box a little bit more this time around and show our boxing abilities and like I said earlier do some things a little bit different. We’re working on what to do in those really tough exchanges and deciding on how we’ll handle it, of course if the opportunity presents itself we’ll definitely go for the knockout but mainly we’ll be looking to execute the plan that my corner has prepared.
Do you think Rafael Marquez is the best opponent you’ve faced and what’s your opinion of him as a fighter?
No, he hasn’t been the toughest opponent but I feel he’s been the most demanding fighter I’ve ever faced. He’s a very complete fighter; he’s got great distance and wonderful movement. He’s definitely been the one that’s demanded the most of me of any of the other fighters I’ve faced. I have two wins over him and he has one over me, so I know he’s looking to tie the series and who knows we may even have a fifth fight.
What are your predictions for this fight, how do you see it ending?
It’s going to be a very tough fight; both of us are looking to be victorious be it by knockout or by decision. I know we’ll both be giving it our best but I think the fans will be the true winners of this fight.
Should you get past Rafael Marquez, is there anyone you’d like to fight next? Name one or two fighters you’d like to face in the near future.
Yes, of course, there are a lot of great fighters out there but first we have to focus on the task at hand and once we get past this fight we’ll decide who we’d like to face next.
This bout will be taking place at the featherweight limit of 126 pounds, do you plan on staying at 126 or will you be moving back down to 122?
No, I feel very strong at 126, I think that 122 pounds is a chapter that has closed and we’re doing very well with our preparation. We’re eating well, we feel very strong so we’ll be staying at 126.
What is your opinion of the current featherweight division?
It’s a great division to be in right now with a lot of competition. There are a lot of great fighters and many up and becoming prospects that one day hope to become world champions and hopefully they reach that goal of becoming great champions one day.
What are some of your goals for the rest of the year?
Well, the first goal is to be successful on May 22nd and then maybe take a break and come back and fight the best at 126 and hopefully to reach the top of the division. Then perhaps move up to 130 and reach the top there, I believe that’s something we can do.
Is there anything you would like to tell your fans?
Yes, of course, I’d like to thank everyone for their support throughout my career and I truly appreciate it. I hope that everyone will be very satisfied with my performance on May 22nd. We’re very determined to win this fight and it’ll show come fight night, so thank you all very much for everything.
“Once and Four All” is being co-promoted by Golden Boy Promotions, Gary Shaw Productions, Espinoza Boxing Promotions and Zanfer Promotions and is being sponsored by Cerveza Tecate.
In the co-feature bout, Yonnhy Perez (20-0, 14 KOs) of Colombia will defend his IBF bantamweight title against undefeated top contender Abner Mares (20-0, 13 KOs) of Mexico.
Tickets, priced at $250, $125, $75, $50 and $25 are available online at www.ticketmaster.com, by phone at (800) 745-3000 and at the STAPLES Center Box Office.