Sammy Vasquez Jr. wants to know if he can leap from an 1,150-foot building.
“Isn’t there bungee jumping off the Stratosphere?” he asks of the Las Vegas hotel-casino that also has the largest freestanding observation tower in the United States.
Not sure, man. Not our bag.
“If it’s there, I’m going to do it,” he says of his upcoming trip to Las Vegas, where he'll square off with Wale Omotoso at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on Sunday, which airs on CBS at 4 p.m. ET/1 p.m. PT.
Sammy Vasquez Jr. is an exciting, excitable presence in the ring, coming on like caffeine incarnate.
This isn’t just Vasquez’s approach to boxing, it’s his approach to life in general.
“I’m a thrill-seeker,” he says. “I go kayaking, rock climbing. I do hiking all the time. I go indoor skydiving. I just do a lot of stuff that will give you a natural high. You only live once, man.”
This go-for-broke outlook has directly informed the kind of fighter that Vasquez has become.
Since turning pro in 2012, his fights have become must-see TV, with Vasquez compiling an undefeated 18-0 record in electrifying fashion with knockouts galore.
In the last two years, only a pair of his fights have gone the distance.
Vasquez has power in both hands, but he’s not a one-punch-knockout kind of guy.
A fighter of that caliber tends to be like a stick of dynamite with an especially long fuse, gradually working towards detonation in the form of a single, explosive blow.
Vasquez, though, gets his KOs by mobbing his opponents and fighting at a frenetic pace when he sees fit to press the action.
To put it another way, think of how a colony of ants swarms its prey, then replace said ants with Vasquez’s fists and you get a sense of how he approaches the other dude in the ring with him.
“I think because I hit so hard in both hands and I throw so many punches that it just overwhelms people,” he says.
Vasquez’s next opponent, Omotoso, is even more defined by his power than Vasquez is, having earned 21 of his 25 wins by KO.
Vasquez says that he’s not going to get lured into trying to outslug a slugger, though.
“If his power overpowers mine, then I’m going to outbox him, easy,” he contends. “I don’t think he’s been hit as hard as I can hit him, so that’s something that I’m going to be looking for, to see how he reacts to certain things. I don’t think he’s fought anybody as fast as me with that power at the same time.”
To underscore his point, Vasquez references Omotoso’s lone loss, against prospect Jessie Vargas in 2013, when Omotoso put on a game effort in defeat, sending Vargas to the canvas at one point.
“I know he dropped Jessie Vargas in the second round, but Jessie Vargas isn’t really a power hitter, in my eyes, to push Omotoso back,” Vasquez says. “I haven’t fought anybody yet who brings it to me. I’ve never been pushed back unless I wanted to go back.”
Vasquez’s last bout, against Emmanuel Lartei Lartey in February, ended Vasquez’s streak of eight straight stoppage wins, which he says was by design.
He wants to demonstrate that he’s no one-trick pony even if he does possess equine-like power.
“That was my main goal, to go 10 rounds,” he says. “If you watch the video, in the eighth round he wanted to quit and his corner pushed him out there. I could have stopped him if I wanted to, but I wanted to show people, ‘Hey, this kid can box, this kid can move and he can go 10 rounds strong.’ It was important for me to showcase a different aspect of myself, to try to be a slick boxer and show a little savvy as well. I had to prove a point.”
He’ll have another point to make against Omotoso, even if Vasquez's scouting report on said fighter is as no-frills and direct as one of his punches.
“My outlook on him is that he’s a fighter, just like I am,” he says. “I’m going to be 110 percent. I hope he’s going to be 110 percent as well.”