That’s February 22nd at Cotai Arena at Venetian Resort in Macao where Top Rank honcho Bob Arum seems to be establishing a comfortable set of digs for his up and coming exotic stable of Chinese, Japanese, Russian, and Eastern Euro boxing stars he has been signing of late.
As such, the Zanfer Promoted headliner Vasquez is being isolated in Macao on a Top Rank card. Well, there it is, proof that Top Rank and their fighters have always maintained a working arrangement with other promoters no matter how strained things look in the bright glare of public mutterings.
On paper Miguel Vazquez, 33-3, 13 KO, is old school credentialed Mexican tough, yet something of an anomoly in that he is a tall, light punching stylist as opposed the shorter stereotypical Mexican slugger. He’s also oddly paired with infamous trainer Javier Capetillo of the Antonio Margarito plaster crumbles handwrap scandal. Denis Shafikov, 33-0-1, 18 KO, was a solid juniorwelter/welter prospect out of Russia who only moved down to lightweight last year against two modest journeymen, yet here he is with his new Top Rank contract in the prestigious Macao venue challenging lightweight champ Vazquez in his 6th defense of his IBF title. A mighty fine deal Shafikov and Vazquez have that many fighters would love to trade places for.
At least the squat Shafikov has one advantage on paper, that of having fought last year. Poor Vazquez had the rug pulled out from under him so many times it became something of a slapstick comedy sketch, but presumably he was in training during those periods, so not all is lost. His big advantage is that Shafikov is basically untested at the weight and at this caliber of competition. Both are prime age mid to late 20s and should be up for it.
There have been better boxing cards of course, but the main event has some interesting aspects to it and the supporting bouts are a must see for diehards interested in how the future of boxing is being shaped in far away exotic locales.