Report and photos by Felipe Leon
Marvin Quintero likes to keep his promises. Shortly after joining the CREA gym in the heart of Tijuana he made a promise to trainer Romulo Quirarte, better known as the chief second for WBC lightweight champion Antonio DeMarco, in bringing him two life achievements. The first was a college diploma that he received a year and a half ago as an industrial engineer. The twenty-five year old southpaw (25-3, 21KOs) will have his first opportunity this Saturday, October 27th, for the second part of the promise when he challenges IBF lightweight champion Miguel “Titere” Vazquez (31-3, 13KOs) of Guadalajara, Mexico, for the title from the Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, New York. The twelve round match up will be broadcast live on HBO’s “Boxing After Dark.”
Quintero, originally of Culiacan, Sinaloa, but in Tijuana since the toddler age of three, won the right to challenge the slippery Vazquez by defeating the previously undefeated and Manny Pacquiao look-a-like Al Sabaupan earlier this year in Morelia, Mexico. “All the fans instead of being with me for being the Mexican, they were with him. They were chanting ‘Pacquiao, Pacquiao’ and that was a big impression more than anything. It didn’t really affect me, if anything, I imagined that I was fighting Pacquiao and I was even more motivated.”
Quintero stopped Sabaupan in nice rounds.
“It was a very tough fight. He was always coming forward, very strong and he never took a step back. We began to apply our strategy and thank God that everything came out our way,” Quintero remembered. “We maintained our calm and took notice of his mistakes. He was a very brave and a strong fighter but not very smart. We were able to use our intelligence and mark the difference in that fight.”
Vazquez is not only one of the most avoided champions but one of the most avoided fighters, period. After suffering a split decision loss to Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in his pro debut, a unanimous decision to Timothy Bradley a year later both at junior welterweight and again to Alvarez in the rematch at welter, Vazquez has strung together ten wins including the IBF vacant tilt with a unanimous decision over Ji-Hoon Kim. Since then Vazquez has defeated a who’s who of B level opposition not because he thrives on sub-par opposition but because of the years old adage of too much risk and not enough reward for the bigger names of the division.
Quintero has not fooled himself in believing that he is facing anyone else but the cunning Vazquez. “I know what everybody knows which is that ‘Titere’ Vazquez is a very difficult fighter. If his style is not the toughest in boxing, it is certainly a unique style because he is a crafty fighter, a fighter that doesn’t let you fight, he can frustrate you and make the fight seem very long, almost an impossible fight.”
“The most frustrating aspect of his style is his craftiness, very difficult, dirty at times who looks to annul you by holding, almost wrestles you and doesn’t let you fight. A fighter must remain very calm so as not to fall into his style,” Quintero explained. “I have never faced a fighter with his exact style. I have faced strong fighters and with similar skills like in my opinion, Wes Ferguson from Las Vegas who was very quick and with a long reach but Thank God we were able to defeat him but never have we faced somebody with such a controversial style as Miguel Vazquez.”
Despite the almost up hill battle that Quintero is sure to encounter this Saturday night, Quintero, along with his experienced team of Mr. Romulo Quirarte and his sons Bobby and Robert, is confident that he has key for the win. “Maintain my calm, apply my technique and the strategy that I have worked on with my team. I must stay calm because he is the type of fighter that you must beat mentally instead of trying to match his style and fall into his fight.”
Robert Quintero agreed with Quintero while he added other aspects of the strategy. “We must work and not fall into his rhythm. Impose our rhythm with faints and waist movement to stop his speed and rhythm while taking away his jab and his clinching.”
One thing that is not on Marvin’s mind is the fact that Vazquez seems to be looking way past his next mandatory defense against Quintero and towards a bigger money fight against Top Rank’s up and coming Mercito “No Mercy” Gesta. Vazquez has made it no secret that he is looking to face Gesta on the under card of Pacquiao-Marquez IV in early December.
“I think that he is very optimistic and very sure in his work since nobody has been able to beat him but we have worked hard for this opportunity,” the quiet but affable Quintero said while choosing his words carefully. “We think that we are going to apply all of our faith and trust in my team and our work and give him a surprise and come out with the win.”
“He is thinking in his future and what is next for him but we are thinking in ‘Titere’ Vazquez and not what is after him,” Quirarte added. “First we want to win this fight and then we will see. What his team thinks is their business. We don’t like to think ahead of the fighter we are facing next. We have to win this fight and then we’ll see. If he is looking ahead, good for him, we are glad that he is confident and we hope he comes to the fight prepared so that it can be a good fight.”
As for Quintero, he only has eyes on this Saturday and the prize that could be his as long as he files the best performance of life. “You will see a fighter with the will to win, ready to leave everything in ring for that world title because it is his life’s dream and that is what can be expected from me and we hope to walk away with our hand raised.”