By Jake Donovan
Miguel Vazquez makes his first ring appearance since signing with high-powered adviser Al Haymon, as he faces Mickey Bey in a lightweight title defense Saturday evening in Las Vegas.
The bout comes in supporting capacity to the rematch between Floyd Mayweather and Marcos Maidana, which headlines on Showtime Pay-Per-View.
Vazquez (34-3, 10KOs) just passed the four-year mark as a defending lightweight titlist, though has hardly made any new fans over that stretch. The 27-year old is the exact opposite of the prototypical Mexican fighter, as his methodical style often makes for monotonous affairs.
However, he keeps winning. Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez and Tim Bradley are the only two fighters to own victories over Vazquez - Alvarez turning the trick twice, the first coming in Vazquez' pro debut. All three losses came at 140 lb. and higher.
Bey (20-1, 10KOs) was a highly-touted amateur with a world of potential upon turning pro in 2005. His career has been slow to surface, never truly gaining noteriety until signing with Mayweather Promotions in 2012.
Televised exposure has since followed, but not much in the way of good fortune. Bey had a win changed to a No-Decision after testing positive for extraordinary amounts of testosterone found in his system, though was eventually cleared after it was legitimately found to be the fault of his prescribing doctor.
Bey had nobody but himself to blame for the result of his following fight, however. Way up on the scorecards, the Cleveland native grew careless and was stopped in the 10th and final round of his July '13 crossroads bout with John Molina Jr.
The 31-year old contender has since won two straight heading into his first title fight.
Read on to see how the staff at BoxingScene.com believes the lightweight action will play out in Las Vegas.
BOXINGSCENE.COM STAFF PREDICTIONS: MIGUEL VAZQUEZ vs. MICKEY BEY
Ryan Burton (Vazquez UD): In what won't be an exciting flight I think El Titere outboxes Mickey Bey over 12 rounds. Vazquez May be just past his prime and starting to slow down but I think he still has too much for Bey.
Jake Donovan (Vazquez UD): Interesting to see if fight is close, whether decision goes to the Mayweather fighter or the newly acquired Al Haymon fighter. The guess here is that fight isn't that close, that Vazquez' experience is enough to win by a comfortable margin.
Ernest Gabion (Bey UD): Short of the Molina fight where he dominated then got caught, Bey has been pretty impressive of late. I expect that to continue as Vazquez does not possess the type of power that Molina has and to me that translates into Bey being able to instill his game plan more effectively.
John MacDonald (Vazquez UD): In a fight that will put all but the purists to sleep, I expect the champion to retain his title with an easily forgettable, points victory.
Cliff Rold (Vazquez Dec.): Vazquez isn't fun to watch. He's not easy to beat either. Bey's speed might be an issue but Vazquez is skilled enough to work around it.
Reynaldo Sanchez (Vazquez UD): Vazquez in another boring decision.
Alexey Sukachev (Vazquez UD): You cannot win against Vazquez unless you are either a world-class operator, or a much more skillful boxer, or a much bigger man. It took Alvarez to beat Vazquez the first and also the last time out. Mickey Bey is no Alvarez. He is no Gamboa. And he is no David Haye. He will try to outbox Vazquez but the latter is no Molina. It'll be one ugly chessmatch, with the champion getting the better with precision and better use of clinches, hugging and all that kind of stuff. 117-109 or 115-111 scores with some point deductions are expected by me.
Anson Wainwright (Vazquez Dec.): Over the summer months Al Haymon added Vazquez to his already overflowing list of clients in his first outing under the new relationship he meets Floyd Mayweather's protege Mickey Bey who's a year removed from getting drilled in the final round against John Molina having been ahead on the scorecards. This time he faces a different danger in the awkward as hell Vazquez. It's not a fight that figures to play out well on canvas. I could see Bey winning a controversial decision but conventional wisdom says Vazquez to win a sleeper on points.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene.com, as well as a member of Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox