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It's 'Sammy Vasquez Jr. Day' in Monessen

Danny Grant / For The Valley Independent - Sammy Vasquez Jr. is expected to sign a contract with Iron Mike Productions over the weekend when he fights on an Iron Mike card in Bethlehem, Pa.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Danny Grant / For The Valley Independent</em></div>Sammy Vasquez Jr. is expected to sign a contract with Iron Mike Productions over the weekend when he fights on an Iron Mike card in Bethlehem, Pa.
John Altdorfer - U.S. Army Iraq War vet and professional welterweight boxer Sammy Vasquez Jr., packs an All-American punch at the William Penn Hotel in Downtown during the Salute Your Troops Gala hosted by the Pittsburgh Social Exchange to benefit wounded American military personnel. April 16, 2014.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>John Altdorfer</em></div>U.S. Army Iraq War vet and professional welterweight boxer Sammy Vasquez Jr., packs an All-American punch at the William Penn Hotel in Downtown during the Salute Your Troops Gala hosted by the  Pittsburgh Social Exchange to benefit wounded American military personnel. April 16, 2014.
Dan Grant / For The Valley Independent - Sammy Vasquez Jr. will headline an April 18 fight card in Monroeville that will be aired on Showtime.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Dan Grant / For The Valley Independent</em></div>Sammy Vasquez Jr. will headline an April 18 fight card in Monroeville that will be aired on Showtime.

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Friday, April 18, 2014, 12:01 a.m.
 

Thanks to a proclamation issued by the mayor and Monessen City Council, native son Sammy Vasquez Jr. is again going to have his day in his hometown.

Literally.

Council proclaimed April 18 as Sammy Vasquez Jr. Day in the city.

Vasquez Jr. will formally receive the proclamation 2 p.m. Saturday in council chambers at the Monessen Municipal Complex.

“Let's face facts,” Mayor Lou Mavrakis said. “We had Michael Moorer, now we have Sammy. It's nice to be able to recognize him.

“This administration is very receptive to anyone that does good for the city and gives it a good name. Sammy's a veteran and a great role model for our kids.”

Vasquez Jr. (13-0, 9 KOs) can't formally accept the proclamation today due to tonight being fight night. He takes on Juan Rodriguez Jr. (11-0, 5 KOs) in the first fight of a televised three-fight Showtime ShoBox card Friday night at the Monroeville Convention Center.

Saturday's event will cap off a chaotic, but memorable week for Vasquez Jr. He's made a number of television and radio interviews, promotional stops, and attended a black- tie event for Wounded Warriors in Pittsburgh Wednesday night.

After the weigh-in for the fight Thursday, he visited PNC Park with Mike Tyson, who threw out the first pitch for the Pirates game.

The week has been just as crazy for his father, Sam Vasquez Sr., who has been handling ticket requests and gallivanting throughout southwestern Pa.

“It's been totally chaotic,” Vasquez Sr. said of the week. “Saturday's going to be such a great thing.

“As a father, it's absolutely fantastic to see the city honor Sammy. He's a great role model and someone to look up to. It's great that he got recognized as a veteran and for being a great athlete.”

Vasquez Sr. said planning for the ceremony happened quickly.

“They wanted it to be indoors,” Vasquez Sr. said. “It happened so quick. We're trying to get it established and try to get some people there. Maybe we'll be able to throw something together outdoors. I know it's supposed to be nice outside.”

Most of his fights usually are accompanied by a Team Vasquez tailgate party.

“That'd be nice,” Vasquez Sr. said. “We'll see.”

Vasquez Jr. was not available for comment due to his hectic schedule Thursday.

“I know that he feels great about being honored,” Vasquez Sr. said about the fighter. “It's an honor for him to be there and accept.”

Mavrakis and Vasquez Sr. both said there is a chance that Tyson, co-owner of Tyson Productions and former heavyweight champion, could be in attendance.

“We'll plant that seed,” Vasquez Sr. said.

Mavrakis said he's unable to attend the fight because of prior commitments, but he's sure that Monessen will turn up to support their hometown fighter.

“Oh yes, I believe that the city will be there supporting Sammy,” Mavrakis said. “And anyone that wants to come and show their support Saturday is welcome to attend.”

Jeremy Sellew is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at jsellew@tribweb.com or 724-684-2667.

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