By Jeff Zimmerman
Photos by Robert Hughes
Dallas, Texas’ own featherweight Roberto Marroquin (23-3, 16KO) returns to the ring Saturday night at the WinStar World Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma in a rematch against Daniel Diaz (20-5-1, 14KO) from Managua, Nicaragua. It is the same Diaz who squeaked out a split decision victory in their fight in June and dropped Marroquin twice in the 1st round.
Marroquin was visibly injured during one of the knockdowns, but showed a lot of grit to fight back and make the fight close. Some people ringside thought he may have pulled out the decision after such a horrific start.
Fightnews caught up with Marroquin and his esteemed trainer Paul Reyes at the Vivero Boxing Gym at their Media Day in Dallas as Marroquin prepares to make 128lbs for the fight.
Q&A with Marroquin
Why fight Daniel Diaz again?
The guy barely beat me, had the 2 knockdowns in the 1st round, my left hand was swollen and I couldn’t even see my knuckles after the fight. I had 2 torn ligaments and was limping around for 9 rounds and he still barely beat me. When I was on the canvas, I said I could give up now and forget about boxing or get up and fight like a man. I got up and felt like I did enough to win the fight. It is what it is.
Was it your decision to fight him again or Top Rank?
It was mutual. I wanted it; I wanted to get that out of the way. I wanted to show Top Rank this guy had nothing on me. Even Bruce Trampler said after the fight that this kid fought his heart out and unfortunately the judges didn’t give me the fight. It is what it is. At worst it could have been a draw and I would have been pretty happy with that. But one of the judges gave it to him by like 4 or 5 points. I would have been OK with a 96-94 if they would have given him the decision. Two judges were pretty even, one for him one for me, but one judge was way different.
You had only been knocked down one other time in your career by Rigondeaux. What happened in that 1st round?
It is one of those things I am guessing I was in la-la land. I probably came in over confident, this guy was probably too slow and I made a mistake to show up, put my heads down and get caught. The guy is not on my level and should not have beaten me that night. It happens you know. We keep making those kinds of mistakes and it’s going to end my career if I keep doing that. I am in great shape right now and nothing is going to stop me that night.
Will you fight him differently as you did in the 2nd half of that fight by taking the fight to him?
Yea, that’s exactly what we need to do, just take it to him. I can’t beat him on the outside, he has a great jab. There are only 2 weapons he really has, is his jab and his right. He does hit hard, he is not the heaviest puncher I have faced before so I shouldn’t have any problem, just go out there and do what I need to do and execute the plan. Eventually I am going to break him down. I broke him down by the 5th or 6th round. Unfortunately I could not keep going with the attack; I could not push off of my right foot at all. There were times where he would land a shot or push me a bit and I would limp a lot and the judges probably saw that as if I was hurt.
Where do you see yourself assuming you get by Diaz?
I know I can’t make 126 anymore. I can’t make that weight, that’s for sure. Possibly we are going to try and make 130; I am pretty close to 130 which would be the next following weight. If there is anybody I would like to fight in the future, it would be Mikey Garcia. We are made for each other, we have similar styles. He is a little bigger than I am, a little stockier. I am a bit taller and lengthier. It would be an exciting fight for the fans. It is my dream to become world champion. It would be great to defeat Mikey Garcia. He has had a great career. He just came out of an impressive win against Rocky Martinez.
Q&A with Trainer Paul Reyes
Coach Reyes what is your assessment of Roberto going into in this fight?
In my opinion Robert is physically ready, but especially mentally ready for this fight. He has trained real hard and I know that he is ready. Like I said many times before, if it wasn’t for his leg, he would have beaten that guy. And even with a hurt leg, he fought better than I thought.
Did you think he won the fight?
I thought he pulled it out, but you know the judges. This time we are not going to leave it up to the judges.
What happened last time? He got knocked down twice early on. Was he cold or flat?
I think he wasn’t focused like he should have been. Only he can answer that. We were all surprised when he got knocked down twice, but to me he fought a great fight being hurt. I think many fighters would have quit under those conditions. I don’t think any other fighter would have fought hurt like that. That showed me a lot by Robert, he has a lot of heart. I know he is going to put in a 100% on this fight.
You can’t teach heart?
No, he is ready. I wanted another fight for him before this rematch, but he said no, I want him. When he told me that, I said OK let’s go get him. He wants to show the boxing people that he is not the fighter that fought last time, that he’s a better fighter.
Will you change your game plan?
I don’t want to say what we are going to do, but he’s ready. We are just going to do a few different things in this fight, that’s why I am so confident he’s going to win.
He showed very well against Rigondeaux.
Oh yea, you know in that fight, Rigondeaux was saved by the referee in the 3rd round. Robert hurt him. He was hurt; I believe that if the referee had not interfered, Robert would have stopped him.
Assuming he gets by Diaz this time, do you see him right back up with the caliber of fighters such as Rigondeaux?
Sure. If Robert wins this fight, we are going on to bigger and better things.