7. December 16, 1995, Spectrum — Julio Cesar Vasquez KO 11 Carl Daniels, WBA junior middleweight title
Setting the Stage: This fight was the direct result of Pernell Whitaker’s one-fight earthquake at 154 pounds. “Sweet Pea” dethroned Vasquez — a formidable southpaw who had made 10 defenses of the WBA belt — in March, then instantly vacated. Daniels decisioned Julio Cesar Green in June to fill the void and now was meeting Vasquez in his first defense on the undercard of Terry Norris-Paul Vaden, which unified the WBC and IBF junior middleweight straps.
What Happened: Daniels’ nimble feet and faster hands counteracted Vasquez’s spirited aggression in the early rounds. Early in the third Daniels shockingly dropped the Argentine strongman with an overhand left that capped a pretty five-punch salvo, which also caused a mouse to erupt under the right eye. Daniels’ dominance was magnified once the hot pace subsided as his head-snapping jabs and knifing one-twos allowed him to build a commanding lead on the scorecards (97-92, 98-92 twice entering the 11th).
No matter what Daniels threw at him the determined Vasquez never stopped coming. That persistence paid off early in the 11th when a jolting left cross to the chin caused Daniels’ body to stiffen, then awkwardly fall backwards as if in slow motion. Daniels gamely tried to regain his feet but his numbed legs and scrambled senses left him stumbling like a newborn colt. After Daniels finally collapsed along the ropes referee Charlie Sgrillo had no choice but to wave off the fight at the 34-second mark.