Busy schedule is no problem for Vasquez
Sammy Vasquez Jr. hasn’t taken a break since his flight from Colorado Springs landed in Pittsburgh Friday.
The undefeated USBA welterweight champ has been making personal appearances while having an Iron Mike Productions film crew follow his every move for an IMP reality show.
“The Who Can Mexican” appeared in Veterans Day parades in Pittsburgh and Monessen on Saturday.
He also visited Monessen High School, made several stops at various radio and television stations for interviews and has several more scheduled before he steps into the ring Friday night against Alberto Mosquera (21-1-1, 14 KOs) in the main event of IMP’s “Pride of Pittsburgh II” at Consol Energy Center.
And he finds time to train for the fight.
On Wednesday, for example, he appeared on three radio stations and did a live television interview, all before 10 a.m.
At 11 a.m., he visited Childrens Hospital and the veterans hospital in Pittsburgh.
Then he spoke at a Pittsburgh after-school program.
After that, he had a media workout in South Park.
“I know this is part of game,” Vasquez said of all the appearances. “There are just so many things to do, but honestly, I enjoy it. I want to give back. It means a lot to me, being a kid from Monessen.
“I want to be an inspiration. It’s busy, yes, but it is all worthwhile to me. If I get four or five hours sleep, I’m fine. I just thank God I’m in the position to make a difference.”
But what about his fight with Mosquera? Is Vasquez (16-0-0, 12 KOs) in shape? Have the appearances taken away from his training?
Not at all, he claims.
“I’m always in shape and I train hard,” he said. “You plan for this part of it. I was ready for this fight before I got here. This week is for the fans. It’s about them.”
Vasquez is also focused on Mosquera, who once held the vacant WBC FECARBOX title they are fighting for Friday at a different weight.
“He’s a tough fighter. He held the belt at 140 (pounds) and we are fighting at 147,” Vasquez said. “He will come at me. That’s his style. But we’ve seen a lot of tape on him and I’m not too worried about him.
“I’m thinking four rounds — or less. I don’t feel like going 10 rounds for this one.”
Vasquez has risen quickly through the rankings since he signed with IMP. A win Friday will give him two title belts.
However, neither is the title he really seeks. He wants to be a world champion, and he is confident that is coming.
“I’m thinking by late next year I should be fighting for a world title,” he said. “As long as I keep winning, nobody can hold me back.”
The weigh-in for the fight is set for 4 p.m. Thursday in Pittsburgh.
It will be the first time he sees Mosquera face to face.
Former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson doesn’t hide his optimism for both Vasquez and Monty Meza Clay,. who will take on Bunola’s “Lighting” Rod Salka in the other co-main event.
“Our last event in Pittsburgh was one of the best boxing cards I’ve attended,” said Tyson, the face of IMP. “Both Sammy Vasquez Jr. and Monty Meza Clay looked sensational. In the hottest division in boxing, Sammy has proven that he belongs at the top.”
The show starts 7 p.m. with Salka expected to take the ring for his fight between 9:45 and 10 p.m., followed by Vasquez.
Bernie Bahrmasel, who is handling public relations for IMP for the show, said the card is being carried live on Bein Network (DirectTV Channel 620) starting at 9 p.m. and on tape delay on Pittsburgh Root Sports (Comcast).
“There will be three fights carried (on TV),” Bahrmasel said. “The first fight is an eight-rounder, but you never know how long those will last.”
Tickets for the fight are available through Ticketmaster.com or by calling 724-797-8694.
Jeff Oliver is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2666 or firstname.lastname@example.org.