By Chris Robinson
This Saturday night in Cancun, Mexico, Golden Boy Promotions will stage a show headlined by a junior lightweight title clash between WBC champion Takashi Miura and streaking contender Sergio “Yeyo” Thompson.
On the undercard, 16-year old amateur champion Damien “Sugar” Vazquez will be making his professional debut when he squares off with Miguel Meneses.
A little of a year ago, Vazquez began creating some buzz around the Las Vegas gym scene after some brisk sparring sessions with some seasoned pros.
Vazquez was then training under the tutelage of Floyd Mayweather Sr., who heaped great praise upon him at the time, but he now finds himself working with his older brother Israel, a former junior featherweight champion known best to fight fans for his memorable wars with Rafael Marquez.
Working out of his personal facility, the Magnifico Boxing Gym in Huntington Park, Calif., Israel was able to see first-hand the kind of attributes that his brother brings to the table.
“The way I see things, it’s very, very rare that a 16-year old has the potential to do the things he’s doing now,” Israel stated. “Dominating sparring partners at the age of 25, 26. That’s what makes him a very special young man and special fighter. I know that he’s going to be able to make his debut in devastating fashion.”
While Israel’s fan-friendly style led to many memorable encounters in the ring, he also had boxing ability of his own that was perhaps a little underrated.
Now, as a trainer, Israel will look to fine-tune his brother as his professional career progresses.
“I worked a lot with Damien on setting his punches right, throwing with more power, and letting his hands go,” Israel stated.
All one has to do is catch Damien in training to tell that he is all about his business. There is not much horseplay involved when he is at work, and maybe that’s why the proposition of his first professional fight isn’t too big of a deal to him.
“I’ve got the pro debut coming up,” stated Damien. “I’m not too nervous about it or anything. I’m just taking it like ‘Hey, this is just another fight that I’m going to have.’”
As far as his connection to his older sibling, Damien claims that there was an instant connection inside of the gym.
“I like the way he trained me,” stated Damien. “We clicked together, good chemistry. It was a different type of training camp compared to all the others. I just liked it in general.”
And while the focus of this weekend’s card will be placed upon the Miura-Thompson clash, Damian feels that he will be making the first steps towards his own memorable ride.
“I’m expecting for it to be a great show,” said Damien. “I’m going to give it my best, to show everybody that I’m a 16-year old that can fight; that has experience and everything behind him. I’m not a typical, average standout boxer. I’m more than that.
“I feel ready,” he added. “Ever since I’ve been an amateur I’ve been beating up on pros and everything and I’m ready for the next level.”