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Tough test for Vasquez in Vegas

Submitted photo | Dan Grant - Sammy Vasquez Jr., right, will fight in the main event on an Aug. 3 card at Rostraver Ice Gardens in Belle Vernon.
<div style='float:right;width:100%;' align='right'><em>Submitted photo | Dan Grant</em></div>Sammy Vasquez Jr., right, will fight in the main event on an Aug. 3 card at Rostraver Ice Gardens in Belle Vernon.
- Sammy Vasquez
Sammy Vasquez

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Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Sammy Vasquez Jr. is excited about stepping onto his largest professional stage Saturday night.

His father, Sam Sr., is a little concerned.

Vasquez Jr. (6-0, 4 KOs) will fight at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas as part of the card that headlines with Richard Abril (17-3-1, 8 KOs) vs. Sharif Bogere (23-0, 15 KOs). Vasquez Jr. will be fighting in front of representatives of Golden Boy Productions as a prelim to possibly signing with Oscar De La Hoya's fight promotion group.

Vasquez Jr. will fight against Leandro Albornoz (16-2-1, 5 KOs) in a scheduled six-round welterweight bout.

The seasoned Albornoz has two 10-round fights under his belt, and his vast pro ring experience caught Vasquez Sr. a bit off guard.

“Golden Boy just told me (Wednesday) who Sammy is fighting and I'm surprised they are putting him against a guy with a 16-2 record,” Vasquez Sr. said. “I just don't know of too many 6-0 guys who would get put in the ring with a guy who is 16-2. But you know what? It will say ‘Team Vasquez' on the back of (Vasquez Jr.'s) shirt and ‘Who Can? Mexican' on the front. I told (Golden Boy representative) Eric Gomez that we'll do whatever it takes.”

Vasquez Jr. seemed unfazed by news of his opponent.

“I'm here. I'm in Vegas,” he said. “I've been training hard and I'm ready for business. Whoever they put in front of me, I'll fight. That's how I feel. That's how this business goes.”

Vasquez Jr. said he has waited a long time for the type of spotlight he will be stepping into Saturday — under the bright Vegas lights and fighting for a possible contract.

“I'm excited, but I try to stay calm,” Vasquez Jr. said. “It's my first time in Vegas. It's nice here. But I'm here for business. This is my time.”

As for facing a fighter with a huge experience advantage, Vasquez Jr. said it doesn't matter to him at all.

“I have no issues with me winning this fight,” he said. “I'm ready for anything. I know how hard I work and how hard I prepare and he has never fought anyone like me, I promise you that.

“I'm excited to get in front of (Golden Boy) against a guy with 16 wins and show them exactly what they could be getting, what I'm made of.”

Vasquez Sr. said more than 20 family members and friends are making the trip to Las Vegas for the fight, which originally was scheduled to be held in Harlem, N.Y.

“If things weren't changed so quick on us, probably more would have come out,” Vasquez Sr. said. “But everybody will get to see him fight back home on March 30.”

Vasquez Jr. will headline a card March 30 at Court Time Sports Complex in Elizabeth Township.

That card will be promoted by Team Vasquez Promotions.

Jeff Oliver is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-684-2666 or

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