5 of the best Mexican boxing showdowns (VIDEO)

Here are five fights starring Mexican fighters you absolutely need to see

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1. Israel Vasquez vs. Rafael Marquez 2

It’s rare for a decade to be defined by more than one rivalry. In the 2000s, the bouts between Marco Antonio Barrera and Erik Morales were not just the best of Mexico but the sport in general. However, they weren’t perfect. Their first two fights were controversial, with most seeing the wrong man have his hands raised. The fights took place years apart and in different weight classes.

One rivalry that occurred in the same decade and was arguably on the same level was between Israel Vasquez and Rafael Marquez. Three of the four fights in their rivalry took place within the span of a year from March 2007 to March 2008, all within the same weight class and for the WBC super bantamweight title. The third match in the Vasquez-Marquez rivalry has garnered the vast majority of praise and is their only meeting that went the distance. Due to the amount of attention paid to the third fight, their second fight should be more recognized.

The rematch took place in August 2007 and served as redemption for Vasquez. In the first match with Marquez, Vasquez was able to drop his rival with a left hook. However, Marquez, like his brother Juan Manuel Marquez, was a technical marvel who threw beautiful combinations but with more power. He landed combinations that caused Vasquez to break his nose. Unable to breathe properly, Vasquez reluctantly elected to stop the fight after seven rounds.

Vasquez received criticism for seemingly committing one of the sport’s most significant sins: choosing to swallow his pride instead of his blood to live to fight another day. With a chip on his shoulder, Vasquez aimed to conquer Marquez, who entered the ring as one of the world’s pound-for-pound best.

Before moving up to super bantamweight to meet Vasquez, Marquez was a former bantamweight champion and held victories over Mark Johnson, Tim Austin, Mauricio Pastrana, and Silence Mabuza. At the time of his fights with Vasquez, between him and his brother Juan Manuel, he was considered the better fighter.

Unlike Barrera and Morales, there was no personal animosity between Vasquez and Marquez. However, you wouldn’t know that by the way they fought each other. Starting where they left off in their first bout, Vasquez and Marquez built up momentum by trading blows. The third round set a tone that the rest of the fight followed and would win the Ring Magazine Round of the Year.

Marquez was the more precise puncher of the two and caused cuts over both of Vasquez’s eyes. It was thought that Marquez was the bigger puncher between the two, but it was Vasquez who was scoring the knockdowns. In the sixth round, with a left hook on the inside, Vasquez floored Marquez hard. Unable to recover enough to halt Vasquez’s oncoming onslaught, the referee stopped the fight giving Marquez his first loss in almost seven years.

Vasquez celebrated with a mask of blood covering his eyes in a dramatic scene as he was vindicated in quelling those who doubted his warrior spirit.

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