By Jake Donovan
With former super bantamweight king Israel Vazquez providing guest commentary at ringside and former three division world champion Wilfredo Vazquez Sr (no relation) performing his latest role as head trainer, Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. couldn’t have picked a better time to score the most impressive win of his career to date.
The second generation prize fighter was thorough in picking apart former title challenger Genaro Garcia before stopping him in the seventh round of their Telemundo-televised main event Friday evening at the Kissimmee (FL) Civic Center.
Vazquez Jr. weighed 121 lb; Garcia came in at the super bantamweight limit of 122 lb.
It was the usual deliberate start for the 25-year young Vazquez Jr., who spent most of the opening round working behind his jab and waiting for his opponent to make mistakes. Garcia attempted to assert himself as the aggressor, but was countered anytime he let his hands go.
Action picked up the second, as Vazquez Jr. targeted the body early and began to land his long right hand upstairs. Garcia spent most of the round absorbing punishment before opening up his own attack in the third, charging forward behind his left hook, only for Vazquez Jr to mix up his offense and establish a left hook of his own.
The fourth round was the closest the fight saw to two-way action. Garcia twice connected with left hooks midway through the round, the latter snapping back the head of Vazquez Jr., who immediately responded with a right uppercut along the ropes.
Garcia tried to make it an inside fight in the fifth, as chasing the younger Vazquez around the ring proved largely ineffective for the plodding Mexican. Standing toe-to-toe didn’t work out much better; Vazquez Jr. slipped or blocked most of the incoming, landing his right hand upstairs and left hook to the body.
In a bout that was billed as youth versus experience, Vazquez Jr put his fresher legs to use in the sixth. Lateral movement was employed for most of the round, causing Garcia to catch nothing but air until the two were at close quarters in the final minute. Garcia enjoyed his best moments of the fight in the closing seconds of the round, landing consecutive left hooks on Vazquez Jr’s chin. It wasn’t enough to hurt the Puerto Rican, but enough to take the round.
Unfortunately for Garcia, scorecards wouldn’t matter on this night.
Vazquez Jr isn’t the type to go all out to seek a knockout, but is as effective as any young fighter when it comes to closing the show. Such was proven the seventh. The left hook became the weapon of choice for the past several rounds, but it was the return of the right hand that ultimately ended the fight.
Ten consecutive right hands landed on Garcia’s chin, forcing the Mexican to the canvas for the first time in the fight. He beat the count, but found himself under siege immediately thereafter, subjected to a fusillade of left hooks and right hands before crashing into the ropes, resulting in the second knockdown.
Vazquez Jr. closed the show moments later, connecting twice more upstairs before the referee decided that Garcia was no longer capable of protecting himself.
The official time was 2:49 of the seventh round.
It was just the third win of the year for Vazquez, but by far the most important. He improves to 17-0-1 (14KO), and inches closer towards his first world title shot, which his handlers firmly believe will come in 2010.
Garcia, whose prior three losses have all come in title fights, falls to 36-8 (20KO).
While a title shot is well within reach for Vazquez Jr., a quick return to the ring is in his immediate future. He’s slated to appear on the December 4 show in Ponce, Puerto Rico. It’s not exactly around the corner from his hometown of Bayamon, but nevertheless a longer overdue showcase in his home country, having only fought once before in La Isla Encanta .
The bout will give Vazquez Jr his fourth fight of 2009 before stepping up his game in 2010. In his sights is a world title shot, as he creeps closer towards mandatory status within the sanctioning body that currently houses his countryman Juan Manuel Lopez as champion.
The good news for those who would feel torn in attempting to choose sides in an all-Boricua battle is the fact that Lopez will most likely vacate his 122 lb. title, should his venture into the featherweight ranks prove successful as he faces current titlist Steven Luevano next January.
Even better news for Vazquez Jr is that not a lot stands in the way of his potentially contending for a vacant title - not that roadblocks have done much good in slowing down his career progress, anyway.
The show was presented by All-Star Boxing.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com and an award-winning member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Contact Jake at JakeNDaBox@gmail.com .