By Chris Robinson
While covering the Brandon Rios-Richard Abril event at the Mandalay Bay this past weekend, I saw a face that looked a little bit familiar.
Having grown his hair out noticeably since his last ring appearance a few months back, it took me a minute to spot former junior featherweight champion Wilfredo Vazquez Jr., but he seemed as upbeat as possible when approached.
Vazquez showed serious grit on February 4th in his bout with Fil-Am star Nonito Donaire in San Antonio, Texas. Despite being rocked in the third round and dropped in the ninth, Vazquez dug down and gave a great account of himself over the second half of the fight, ultimately losing a split-decision.
Reflecting on the defeat, Vazquez admits that he laid everything on the line in both training and inside of the ring.
“My training was very hard because Nonito is a great fighter,” said Vazquez. “I was training hard to win in my last fight but [Donaire] has a talent for fighting.”
Lopez surely had his eyes on the tremendous featherweight championship rematch between his fellow Puerto Rican Juan Manuel Lopez and Orlando Salido last month in San Juan. In another thriller, Salido would successfully defend his WBO belt with a riveting 10th TKO over Lopez that will go down as one of the best fights of the year.
Speaking on his countryman’s loss, Vazquez implied that Lopez hasn’t been putting in work the way he should.
“Everybody says Juanma is a big, big boxer but he’s not training right,” said Vazquez. “He doesn’t remember, boxing, the principle work is training.”
After the fight, Lopez, still dazed from the tremendous battle he was in, was a bit out of line by questioning referee Roberto Ramirez Sr. for the manner in which the fight was stopped after Lopez rose from a brutal knockdown. Lopez went on to blame the commission for allowing Ramirez to serve as an official, claiming that he had a gambling problem prior to the fight.
Disoriented or not from his punishing battle, Vazquez feels that Lopez made the wrong move in making such claims.
“It’s very, very bad,” Vazquez continued. “In boxing, you lose and win. For his comment, the referee is speaking for the little guys, you know what I mean?”
As for Vazquez’s next ring endeavor, it looks like he will be seeing time on the July 14th pay-per-view undercard in Dallas, Texas headlined by Juan Manuel Marquez.