Wilfredo Vazquez Jr.’s 2012 started off with a competitive loss to pound for pound star Nonito Donaire, a fight where he accounted for himself very well despite being a huge underdog. He was schedule to fight Mexican Rafael Marquez twice this year, but both fights were postponed because of an injury suffered by Marquez.
Instead of being inactive for a long period of time, he took on substitute and fellow countrymen, Puerto Rican, Jonathan Oquendo. The fight was action packed with Oquendo being the aggressor early, taking the fight to WV2. Oquendo gassed out in the middle rounds and eventually Vazquez’ experience came into play, stopping Oquendo in what was a very entertaining fight.
According to Vazquez, the fight played out exactly how his camp seen it, even if some people thought Oquendo was winning early. “I never seen Oquendo fight, I box, I don’t view tapes. Camp was excellent. It took a few rounds to get used to him. I took my time and my experience and the plan worked, turning things around on the mistakes Oquendo made. The problem was we weren’t expecting Oquendo to get up from the shots that I gave him. But I felt that the Oquendo’s camp underestimated my boxing skills and once they found that out, it was over for him,” Vazquez told ThaBoxingVoice.com.
That fight was an all out Puerto Rican war, one that we don’t see two often; two solid skilled Puerto Rican fighters squaring off in the ring on a bigger platform than the club level. Normally, we have seen that from Mexicans, Americans, and other countries in the ring, fighting one’s own nationality on a bigger stage. To Vazquez, however that doesn’t matter; he’ll fight anyone from any race, nation, or creed.
“I don’t know why that doesn’t happen more but I’m a boxer. You represent your country when you fight another boxer from another country but you represent yourself and your talents first. A fighter is a fighter no matter what country he comes from. I’m willing to fight Puerto Ricans, Mexicans, whoever. It’s about being prepared and fighting who is in front of you, no matter who’s in front of you,” explained Vazquez.
One of those civil war type fights between two fighters of the same nation that the public has been calling for is a fight between him and Juan Manuel ‘Juanma’ Lopez. The rivalry between the two has mostly been outside the ring with both fighters taking shots at one another. That trash-talking has yet to fruition to a fight inside the boxing ring. Vazquez says its Lopez’s fault.
“Juanma is a chicken. A blog interviewed him. In the interview they asked him about me, and he said that I wasn’t on his level because all I get paid is a two piece chicken box with a coke. It bothered me because I work just as hard as him and he can’t be discrediting the work I do in boxing. Since he crossed that line, it’s not longer a boxing match, it’s personal. He touched my career and the food that I put on the table for my family,” stated Vazquez.
Vazquez continued, “That’s when I said I’ll punch him in the face and you can pay me with a two piece chicken box and a coke. But he’s such a coward that he said we’ll fight at 126 lbs one day and two days later he called my promoter saying he wants the fight at 130. When I was number 1 at 122 by the WBO, Juanma moved up when he was the champion. I won the title defended it, lost it, and then we agreed to fight at 126 but he didn’t want the fight there. But it doesn’t matter I’m going to fight him in the ring, its more than boxing, its personal. He thinks I was scared of him but he found out I wasn’t. I want the fight with him and I’m going to give him a beating and show him he’s not on that level.”
This animosity is real and would make a good story line promoting the fight. How did we get here though? Vazquez explained, “One day I made a comment that Salido would beat Juanma, Juanma found out. I didn’t mean it with any ill intentions; I just felt Salido was a good boxer with a lot of heart. Juanma was a fighter with a fluffed up record with opponents that were hand-picked and that’s why his record was that good. They thought the same about Salido; that he wasn’t a good fighter because of what his record indicated. It was just the opposite, and he beat Juanma because every boxer has vulnerability. I’m going to do the same because I have heart and give it my all and fight, and Juanma is afraid of me.”
Vazquez made it very clear to ThaBoxingVoice.com that he had to tell the world about his side of the story because the public wants to know why the fight hasn’t happen yet. He also wanted the public to know that he was a quiet guy but Juanma took it to that level and he’s ready to show the world. “I’ll chase Juanma up to 130 if I have to. This fight has to happen and I’m going to make sure that it happens. I’m not a superstar, I just think I’m real, and Juanma’s not and I’m going to prove it.”
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