Saturday, December 02, 2023  |



Edward Vazquez plans to uphold a promise to his daughter by beating IBF 130-pound titlist Joe Cordina

Edward Vazquez is ready to dethrone IBF junior lightweight titlist Joe Cordina (Photo courtesy of Team Edward Vazquez).
Fighters Network

Edward Vazquez has already imagined the flight back home from Monte Carlo, Monaco, to Fort Worth, Texas. He has it set in his mind that the IBF junior lightweight belt will be sitting next to him on the plane, and teasing his father, Anselmo, about how he looked wearing a tuxedo among the glossy set of 300 millionaires and billionaires that filled Casino de Monte Carlo Salle Medecin. He will anxiously wait to see his baby girl again after a month away at training camp, to fulfill a promise and take her to Disneyland.

First, the 28-year-old Vazquez knows he is going to have to vanquish defending IBF junior lightweight titlist Joe Cordina this Saturday night on DAZN from Monaco.

The black-tie affair presented before over 300 people will be the first title opportunity for Vazquez (15-1, 3 knockouts), and first title defense for Ring’s No. 4-rated junior lightweight from Wales, Cordina (16-0, 9 KOs).

Vazquez enters the title tilt on a four-fight winning streak, after a controversial 10-round, split-decision loss to Raymond Ford in February 2022, which even Eddie Hearn, Ford’s promoter, admitted to the DAZN broadcast team that Ford lost the fight, openly saying, “If you’re giving Raymond Ford eight of those rounds, you’re watching a different fight.”

Since then, Vazquez has beaten Jose Argel (UD 8), Viktor Slavinskyi (SD 8), Misael Lopez (SD 10) and Brayan De Gracia (UD 10). This will not be Vazquez’s first foray at 130 pounds.

“I felt great going into my last fight, but I hit a wall there and came in two pounds over for De Gracia, and I was planning on coming back at 126. I told my management that I need a little more time next time to make 126, and then, this opportunity came up with the call against Cordina at 130,” said Vazquez, who is promoted by Hall of Famer Lou DiBella. “Moving up was a no-brainer. I know Cordina has an extensive amateur background, I know he is well backed in the UK, and I do know he came straight from the Olympics to the pros. I also know everything has been tailored to him.

“He has not faced a whole lot of great opposition. I think he is comfortable where he is and where is going, and I’m here to wreck his plans. He is 31, he is a little taller than me. I’ve been in a big fight setting against Ford. I like fighting guys who are egotistical and like being the pretty-boy type of fighters. With my style and my mentality, I can get under their skin. I had no worries at all about Ford. My only concern was if I did not stop Ford, I would have had the fight taken from me, which is what happened. I did learn from it. I learned to delegate and diet properly. I also learned I had to get out of Fort Worth to find different sparring and different advice. We hit the road and got good pointers from coach (Ismael) Salas.”

With such a small crowd, Vazquez admitted he loves that intimacy. He says his nerve level will be well under control going into the fight. He also stressed he is a different fighter than when he fought Ford in February 2022.

Edward Vazquez thinks he can out box IBF junior lightweight titlist Joe Cordina (Photo courtesy of Team Edward Vazquez).

“I’ve matured and rose a few levels since then,” Vazquez said. “With the resources I have around me now, I can throw all my focus into boxing. With Cordina, I plan to give him different looks. If he is studying my last fight, thinking I’m going to be flat-footed, and right there to hit, he is going to be wrong. The key to beating Cordina is not allowing him to fight from range, to keep him uncomfortable. I can fight inside, I can fight outside, and if things get ugly, I can rough him up. I noticed he gets frustrated if he misses shots, and I do make guys miss a lot.

“I know I can get inside his head, and I feel I’m physically stronger than him. I’ve been fighting for over 20 years and I come into this fight with a high IQ. The other guys he fought do not have the IQ I have.”

Vazquez is coming to Monaco with a strong, personal contingent. His parents, Anselmo and Blanca Vazquez, who have never been out of the United States since he was born, will be with him, as well as his fiancé, Carson Butler.

“We haven’t set a wedding date yet, which we were waiting for this fight,” said Vazquez, who will be getting a career-high payday. “From what I hear, there will be a lot of millionaires and billionaires at this fight—and my parents and my fiancé. My dad was giving me junk for wearing a tux, but I told him that he’s going to have to wear one (laughs). My fiancé and my mother are so stoked about this. My daughter will be staying with her maternal grandparents. I have already imagined the flight home and how great that will be. This fight means everything to me. I see that belt next to me. I’ve been fighting since I was seven for this. I always tell my daughter that I win to get some money and take her to Disneyland.”

Vazquez will not let Cordina get in the way of that.

“This is my time,” Vazquez said. “This is big for me, right behind my daughter (Saylor) being born. I can’t let her down. I made a promise to her. We’re going to Disneyland!”

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