by Luis Torres
Having a successful boxer‘s last name and genes can be a double-edged weapon. Throughout boxing history there have been many youngsters who entered the world of the professional boxing following the steps of their famous fathers.
The biggest benefit for thee fighters has been the recognition and value of a surname already established on the boxing market. The media has always been receptive to news on their first fights. The fans and the boxing world in general have always felt curiosity to see how it goes for them. They hope to see perhaps another chapter in the history of their favorite boxers. There are created expectations that have turned out to be the worst enemies of the famous “juniors.” Many have tried it, but the vast majority have failed in reaching a level of success bigger than that achieved by the “seniors” first.
Puerto Rican boxing in recent years has had its fair share of “juniors,” with the sons of Alfredo “El Salsero” Escaleras, Carlos “Sugar “de León, Héctor “Macho ” Camacho and Wilfredo Vázquez entering the pro ranks. Each one has his history that deserves its own writing. Today, however, we focus on Wilfredo Vázquez Jr., also known as “WV2”.
The son of “Wi” has turned out to be an exception to the rule of diminished results from boxing “Juniors.”. There are many sons of pro boxers in prizefighting, some have even won world titles. But children of world champions who also have gained a world title, those can be counted on one hand. Using my memory, and I can be mistaken, the names that come to mind are Guty Espadas Jr., Tracy Harris Paterson, Corey Spinks and Wilfredo Vázquez Jr. The Vázquez’ nevertheless have the peculiarity of having gained a title in the same jr. featherweight division.
Although it is true that, in this age of multiple championships, it’s easier to gain a world title, especially with a good team behind a fighter, it is necessary to point out that Vázquez achieved in four years of pro career what the son of Julio Cesar Chávez is about to accomplish in seven. There’s something special about this kid and it’s not just a good team behind him.
I remember in the beginning of his career, I was not really impressed with Vazquez. He showed a certain attitude inside the ring and in his corner that was not making him look any different from any of the other “juniors” who I had seen failing in the past. Nevertheless, in only one fight, which certainly is the only blemish on his record, I saw the difference. This kid, regardless of his last name, was a born fighter.
Thanks to the magic of the Internet and “illegal streams” back in 2007, I was able to catch his fight with Jorge “Veneno “Cárdenas. It was his ninth fight and the first one outside of Miami or Puerto Rico. What was supposed to be another step in the learning stage of his career turned into a serious test. I remember that entering the first fifth round of his career, Vázquez seemed like he had run out of gas. I thought to myself “this is it, he’ll get exposed “.
To my surprise, the kid turned out to be a warrior and slvaged a draw in this fight, showing something that is not learned in any gym. You just have it or you don’t. It runs in your blood; You’re born with it in your spirit. Some people call it heart, others call it cojones. The fact is that it’s been a main ingredient in Puerto Rico’s rich boxing history.
Next May 7, Wilfredo Vázquez Jr. has his turn at bat. He’s 20-0-1 with 17 KOs as a pro, but his career as a boxing attraction can be born that day. For any boxer, the opportunity to face Jorge “El Travieso” Arce on such a big stage is big. For one with the aptitude to send it out of the park, it is definitively a blessing. The division is wide open at the moment. An impressive victory with all that exposure turns Vázquez into an attraction.
The spotlights are ready for someone to step in. It is now on Vazquez and his team to make the most of this opportunity and extract the maximum possible profit from this opportunity, readying themselves for what should come after.