Tuesday, March 28, 2023  |



Edward Vazquez has greater motivation to climb in 2023, starting Friday night on ShoBox

Fighters Network

Every fighter has the one fight that haunts them, pokes them, reminds them that no one is invisible, and sometimes prods them to great heights. For featherweight Edward Vazquez, that fight was a 10-round split-decision loss to rising prospect Raymond Ford last February in Phoenix. Eddie Hearn, Ford’s promoter, even admitted on the DAZN broadcast team that Ford lost the fight, honestly saying, “If you’re giving Raymond Ford eight of those rounds, you’re watching a different fight.”

But it’s a loss that hangs on Vazquez’s record when he takes on Misael Lopez (14-1, 5 knockouts) in the 10-round featherweight co-feature on Showtime’s “ShoBox: The New Generation” Friday night from the Stormont Vail Event Center in Topeka, Kansas.

Vazquez (13-1, 3 KOs) is carrying a two-fight winning streak into the bout. Lopez, 26, is carrying a three-fight winning streak. They’re both fighting for the next step in their career progression.

Vazquez, 27, the father of a two-year-old daughter, swallowed some razor blades after the gut-wrenching loss to Ford.

“It did cross my mind I would say for about the first 30 minutes after that fight, I was livid, I was pissed, I was ready to give up boxing,” he admitted. “I wanted to punch everyone in the mouth. I’ve been at this for 20 years now, and I know boxing politics. It’s part of the game. My love for the sport outweighs any one win or loss. So, after about an hour after the fight, I was already over it and getting ready to look forward. Even my family was asking if I was okay, because I was acting to them like that loss wasn’t bothering me.”

Afterward, Vazquez had one of two directions to go, dwell on it and give up or more forward and do something about it. Vazquez has obviously chosen the latter.

“I used the whole situation as motivation,” Vazquez. “Ray Ford is considered one of the best young featherweights and that fight told me, win or lose, that I could hang with the best in the world. I carried it forward into the next two wins, and I’m about to carry it forward into my third win.”

Lopez is supposed to be the A-side and Vazquez knows that. Since the Ford fight, he’s been more serious, in the gym almost every day. He realizes he has a child to provide for and he stresses he’s ready to show the world what he can do. He’s boxing fulltime, though supplements his income doing some side training.

“Since the Ford fight, I’ve been working on my defense a little more. A lot of people know, if they watch me, I have very good head movement, good defense and I’m not easy to hit, even though I’m a come-forward fighter,” Vazquez said. “I’m also a boxer. I want to make these guys miss with four or five shots, then not give them that space to breathe and close the gap. I’ve been boxing for 20 years. I’m trying not to be one dimensional. I know how to mix it up. I can box and punch. I want to be able to do a little of both.”

Vazquez’s daughter, Saylor, has a hazy idea of what her father does for a living. Vazquez does not want her to come to one of his fights, though she sees her father come home with the bumps and bruises the trade brings. She’ll come over and kiss the bruises.

“I bring her to the gym to watch me train but try to keep her away from the barbaric side of boxing, the weight cut,” he said. “We are modern-day warriors, but with training winding down, I do become barbaric and uncivilized. She loves boxing. My job is to be uncivilized and it’s hard to balance that with everyday life. Lopez is a bit of a boxer, and he brings some showmanship to the game. This is going to be a fun fight. You’re going to see me bringing the action.”

Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sportswriter who has been working for Ring Magazine/RingTV.com since October 1997 and is the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.
Follow @JSantoliquito