On a night where contrasting styles are pitted against each other, the IBF lightweight title match between the defender Vazquez and the challenger Quintero is the most stark. Vazquez prefers to operate at long range while Quintero is at his best when he brawls. Vazquez is a right-handed stylist while Quintero is a southpaw stalker. At 5-10 with a 72-inch wingspan, Vazquez's body is built for speed while the squat 5-7 Quintero has a 65-inch reach made for the trenches.
The gulf between their approaches is as evident as those between red states and blue states. Which method will cause the other man's madness? Their CompuBox histories offer the following clues:
Control Versus Chaos: Vazquez fights best at a moderate pace where his stinging jab dictates the flow. The jab comprises the majority of his offense against Ameth Diaz (58.7%) and Leonardo Zappavigna (66.8%) and it served several purposes. First, it limited his opponents' output (37.5 for Diaz, 54 for Zappavigna). Second, it kept their power punching effectiveness in check (19.6% power for Diaz, 29.8% power for Zappavigna). Finally, it set up Vazquez's own power punching (35.4% vs. Diaz, 46.7% vs. Zappavigna).
But against Daniel Attah, Vazquez proved extremely effective when he turned up the aggression, both in terms of punch selection (65.9% power shots) and volume (66.3 per round). The stockier Attah couldn't muster any offense as he landed 16.8% overall, 21.6% jabs and 12% power and was out-connected 161-34 (overall), 37-22 (jabs) and 124-12 (power).
Conversely, Quintero is a big-time combination puncher with fast hands and genuine power. Against Manny Pacquiao look-a-like Al Sabaupan Quintero unleashed 76.6 punches per round, 66.7% of which were power shots, landed 43.5% overall and 50.1% power en route to massive connect gulfs of 300-141 (total, 70-7 (jabs) and 230-134 (power). In stopping Juan Santiago in three rounds, Quintero averaged 98.1 punches per round (far above the 62.9 lightweight average), landed 40.6% overall and 48.5% power and generated connect gaps of 82-51 (overall), 18-6 (jabs) and 64-45 (power). Against Santiago 65.3% of his total punches were either hooks, crosses or uppercuts.
Potential Turning Points: The first possible deciding factor is defense -- Vazquez is among boxing's best while Quintero is almost sieve-like. In five CompuBox-tracked fights Vazquez was hit by only 19.9% of his opponents' overall punches, 12.2% of their jabs and 25.7% of their power shots. Against Sabaupan, Quintero tasted 42.3% of the Filipino's power shots and 42.1% of Santiago's (the lightweight average is 36%).
The second -- and perhaps pivotal -- factor is Quintero's chin. All three losses were by knockout and one of his more graphic defeats came against a moderate-hitting, quick-fisted boxer named Tyrone Harris, who stopped Quintero in eight despite suffering great difficulty with a weight he ultimately failed to reach. Harris' long-range boxing and sharp hitting limited Quintero to 63.7 punches per round as well as 27% accuracy overall, 13% jabs and 35% power. Meanwhile, he was struck by 58% of Harris' power shots and was out-landed 158-126 (total), 61-22 (jabs) and led Harris just 104-97 in power connects.
If the 23-5 Harris could stop Quintero, how will Vazquez, a boxer with world-class skills, fare? The guess here is quite well.
Prediction: Make no mistake; despite Quintero's shortcomings in terms of defense and punch resistance he's a very dangerous proposition for Vazquez, especially in the early rounds. However, Quintero seems to be a fighter caught between styles; he prefers to pound away with reckless abandon while his brain trust wants him to box intelligently. Against a fighter of Vazquez's quality he must be decisive and given his history one must wonder if he will be. Vazquez has the experience and smarts to decipher Quintero and once he does he will retain the title by decision.