Boxing’s 2008 Fight of the Year: Israel Vazquez – Rafael Marquez III

When Israel Vasquez and Rafael Marquez first agreed to terms to fight each other back in March 2007, you knew it would result in something special. But in no way could even the most ardent fan have predicted an all-time classic trilogy would have sprouted from the encounter.

With both fighters each taking one victory apiece, Vazquez and Marquez would meet at the spot of their initial encounter, the Home Depot Center in Carson, CA. What transpired in March of this year was, for lack of a better word, magical. It was the sort of beautiful brutality that captivates the minds of casual observers mixed with enough technical nuances to render the most die-hard of fan giddy. It was the sort of fight that converts casual observers into raving fanatics.

While the live gates for the first two fights were abysmal when considering the action Vazquez and Marquez guaranteed, the word had reached the masses by their epic third fight. Celebrities and fanatics alike were on hand to witness a fight for the ages. The ebb and flow of the fight kept viewers on a constant emotional rollercoaster. Inside the ring you had two brave warriors, neither man relenting an inch of canvas. It was the sort of fight that leaves you wishing that neither fight would walk away a loser. No, this fight was bigger than winners and losers; this fight was about two competitors looking to establish themselves to be the better man on that night. The fact that Vazquez won the decision is almost inconsequential, for on that night the true winners were boxing fans the world over.

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board ( He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.