By Keith Idec
The last time a fighter named Wilfredo Vazquez came to San Antonio as an underdog, the elder Vazquez upset Hall-of-Famer Orlando Canizales at Freeman Coliseum.
Wilfredo Vazquez Sr. and co-promoter Felix “Tutico” Zabala expect Wilfredo Vazquez Jr. to pull off another upset when he encounters Nonito Donaire on Feb. 4 at Alamodome.
“We’re very happy,” Zabala said. “We were here 17 years ago with Wilfredo Vazquez Sr., as a 10-1 underdog, fighting Orlando Canizales at the Freeman Coliseum on HBO. And we won the fight. And we surprised everybody, and we beat the best bantamweight in the world back then. And now, coming Feb. 4, we’re planning to do the same thing. We’re going surprise the boxing world and Wilfredo’s going to regain his WBO junior featherweight title.”
Vazquez Sr. was 34 and past his prime when he beat Mexico’s Canizales, then 29, by split decision to win the WBA super bantamweight championship on Jan. 7, 1995. The Puerto Rican icon’s son is 27, very much in his prime, but Donaire (27-1, 18 KOs) is a powerful three-division champion who is generally regarded as one of the top 10 pound-for-pound boxers in the world.
“We’ve been training hard for three months,” said Vazquez Sr., who trains his son. “Now the strong part of the training is coming. We’re very confident [about] winning the title. We’re going to surprise everybody and we’re going to take the title back to Puerto Rico.”
The Donaire-Vazquez fight, a 12-rounder for the vacant WBO super bantamweight title Vazquez (21-1-1, 18 KOs) lost to Jorge Arce on May 7, will open an HBO “World Championship Boxing” doubleheader Feb. 4. The main event will pit the son of an even more famous fighter, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (44-0-1, 31 KOs), in a mandatory WBC middleweight title defense against fellow Mexican Marco Antonio Rubio (53-5-1, 46 KOs).
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com.