Friday, May 23, 2014

Ray Mancini On Miguel Vazquez: Quote Spotlight

Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini sat in to commentate for HBO on Miguel Vazquez's world title defense against undefeated contender Denis Shafikov back in February. Vazquez is known as a master spoiler of sorts, nullifying his opponents with constant lateral movement, herky-jerky rhythm and odd-angled shots without much mustard on them. It was interesting to me to see what Ray would say as commentator because Ray, who was also a major world title holder at the exact same weight class was one of the beloved action-fighters of his day, putting on war after war and was a very heavy-handed fighter on top of that. He was one of the sport's top stars for a while and here we've got Vazquez, who has been on perhaps a very undervalued winning streak while holding a major world title for much of that time. He hasn't lost since 2008 and has held his title since 2010.

For a guy with that in his favor, there's not a lot of attention on him. Larry Merchant was also commentating on the match, making it more interesting to me whether or not they'd be critical toward Vazquez's style, as Larry's also got a reputation for bias against spoilers and, really, cautious fighters in general, usually drawing attention to the entertainment values of boxers throughout his career when he commentates. For the majority of the match, I don't think they were hypercritical of Vazquez's performance but I did laugh when Larry was speaking of Vazquez's viability as a TV fighter (which is a valid enough talking point), in the eleventh round of a bloody but not very fan-friendly match and Boom Boom added:

"You're absolutely right, Larry. And, you know, you've heard the term "winning ugly"? You look it up in the dictionary, it's his picture."

This, to me, is one of the more memorable recent quotes when it comes to one era's top names remarking on another. But for the most part Vazquez put in another impressive performance of nullification and having Ray Mancini sit in was a great pleasure. I can't think of a time outside the ring when he didn't come across as being both good-natured and straightforward without reeking of artificiality of any kind. I'd love to get him on another broadcast.

Work that bag,
Basement Gym Boxing

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