Miguel 'The Puppet' Vazquez ready to pull the strings in tilt against Algenis Mendez

Miguel Vazquez is one of the lucky ones. He started out his career fighting mostly at 140 and 147. It wasn’t until 2008 that he came down to 135 for good.

Miguel Vazquez

Miguel Vazquez celebrates after his 135-pound fight against Mercito Gesta in Las Vegas on December 8, 2012. Vazquez prevailed by unanimous decision.

He was nearly 22 then, but even as he’s gotten older, it hasn’t been difficult for him to maintain a trim fighting shape despite a 5-foot-10 frame.

“It was my coaches’ hard work,” he said. "I didn’t even have to diet, and I wound up at 135. So I stayed there. Thanks to the Lord, it’s easier now than when I first started my career.”

OK, Miguel, you can quit rubbing it in now.

Algenis Mendez has been on a more familiar path, fighting the bulk of his career at 130 before recently coming up to 135—Vazquez will be Mendez’s second straight fight at that weight.

Vazquez and Mendez both came in slightly over the limit on Monday at 135.75 as they prepare to tangle tomorrow at the Cowboys Dancehall in San Antonio, Texas (FS1, 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT). It's a clash of former champions—Vazquez at 135, Mendez at 130—who are looking to re-establish top-tier credentials.

“I think he’s a very smart fighter,” Miguel Vazquez said of Mendez. “He moves around, but I feel that I am going to win this fight.”

That confidence comes from Vazquez’s unusual, jumpy style. He’s a defensive technician from Mexico, a country known for tough-as-nails, come-forward fighters. Part of that can be attributed to time he spent training in Cuba as an 18-year-old.

Those ingredients, and that herky-jerky style, blended together to earn Vazquez a moniker not exactly designed to strike fear in hearts: El Titere, or The Puppet.

“My partners on my amateur team told me, ‘Hey, you move like a puppet,’” Vazquez said. “It kind of stuck with me. In the beginning I wasn’t too happy with it, but then I realized it was kind of original.”

Original, certainly. And indicative of just what Mendez is going to have to contend with if he hopes to make his mark at 135.

For complete coverage of Vazquez vs Mendez, make sure to visit our fight page.

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