|Paz won his first world title on June 7, 1987 with a 15 round decision over reigning IBF world lightweight champion Greg Haugen in an epic war in front of a sell-out crowd at the Providence Civic Center. It would be four years before Vinny was once again a world champion. Thought of as shot, Vinny showed everyone that you should never count him out. He dominated WBA world junior middleweight champion Gilbert Dele and stopped him in the 12th round.
Soon after the Dele fight, Vinny was involved in a serious automobile accident. Pazienza was told that he would never fight again, and he spent the better part of three months in a hospital bed. Those doctors who told Vinny he would never fight obviously did not know the heart of a true champion. Against doctors orders, and without their knowledge, "The Pazmanian Devil" returned to the gym with a halo on. He began lifting weights, getting back the strength he lost while sitting in bed.
He finally made his triumphant return to the ring just over a year later capping off an unbelievable recovery. His first opponent was former WBC world super welterweight champion Luis Santana. Paz won a unanimous ten round decision that not only marked his return to the ring, but also marked the beginning of major professional boxing at the Foxwoods Casino in Mashantucket, Conn.
Vinny went on to defeat top contender Brett Lally and former world champions Lloyd Honeyghan and Robbie Sims before getting another shot at a world title. This time Vinny moved on to Aspen, Colorado to take on Dan Sherry for the IBO world super middleweight title. Paz dominated the former model and took the championship via 11th round knockout. A victory over contender Jaques LeBlanc set up another world title fight. This time the bright lights of Las Vegas was the setting for Paz fight against future hall of famer Roberto Duran. Despite being knocked down for only the second time in his career, Paz walked away with a 12 round unanimous decision and the IBC world super middleweight crown.
A win over contender Rafael Williams set up another fight with Duran. This time, Vinny did battle in familiar surroundings - the Atlantic City Convention Center. Pazienza gave the former champion a boxing lesson and easily won a 12 round decision to retain his IBC title.
The second win over Duran set up a shot at IBF world super middleweight champion, and pound for pound the greatest fighter in the world, Roy Jones, Jr. It was not Paz's night from the start. His fight went off an hour late, and by the time he made it to the ring he had used half of his gas tank in preparations. Still, Paz lasted longer than most of Jones's previous challengers, getting stopped in the sixth round.
Many observers thought that was the end of the line for The Pazmanian Devil, again they were wrong. Vinny returned one year later to take on hot young prospect, and New England rival, "Dangerous" Dana Rosenblatt. It was supposed to be WBU world middleweight champion Rosenblatts coming out party on pay-per-view. Instead, it was Paz party as he stopped his undefeated foe in the fourth round to take the WBU world super middleweight championship.
Again, Paz was out of the ring for over a year. Vinny came back on December 6, 1997 to take on former world title challenger and WBC international super middleweight champion Herol Graham in England. Graham, a crafty southpaw, chose to run rather than fight. However, the hometown judges awarded Graham a lopsided unanimous decision, one that Fight Game magazine called one of 1997's top ten worst decisions. In July 1998, Vinny returned to Foxwoods Casino and in front of a sell-out crowd gave an awesome performance that some journalists called the "Fight of the Year" and the "Best Fight Ever at Foxwoods." Vinny went to war with veteran contender Glenwood Brown. Paz found himself on the mat in the third round, but all the knockdown did was motivate Vinny who scorched his slower foe to sweep the remaining rounds. In the end, Vinny had thrown and landed twice as many punches as his opponent.
|bio source: CES Boxing.com|