By Boxing Bob Newman
Former IBF bantamweight and WBC super bantamweight champion Rafael Marquez was a surprise visitor at the International Boxing Hall-of-Fame this weekend in Canastota, New York. Coming off his fourth encounter with bitter rival Israel Vazquez, Marquez is enjoying his time in “Title Town” with his trainer and Hall-of-Famer himself, Daniel Zaragoza. The two Mexican icons strolled the grounds, bought boxing t-shirts, signed autographs and posed for photos alongside Zaragoza’s enshrinement plaque inside the museum. After a tour of the museum, Marquez took time to chat with Fightnews about his recent, surprisingly easy redemption over Vazquez as well as who is on his hit list…
Rafael, welcome to Canastota. After three such vicious fights with Israel Vazquez, the recent fourth bout was relatively easy. How are you feeling after your fourth fight with Israel Vazquez?
I feel very well. Unfortunately, he had a lot of cuts and the fight was basically over after he got all cut up.
Interestingly at the recent WBC convention, president Jose Sulaiman, upon hearing of this proposed fourth match, was against it happening, feeling that both you and Vazquez left too much in the ring and would “kill each other,” if you fought again. Your thoughts on that…
The first three fights were three wars. But I feel very well to continue my career. The fourth fight was going well and basically Vazquez couldn’t continue.
Are you comfortable in the new weight class at featherweight and would you like to challenge for a title, perhaps the WBC belt since you won the WBC Silver championship in this last fight?
I feel strong, I feel fast. I feel very good at my weight.
There was talk after this last fight with Vazquez that there might be a fifth fight between the two of you. Is that more attractive than going for a world title, perhaps against WBC champ Elio Rojas?
I think it’s probably more realistic that there will be a fight with (WBO champ) Juan Manuel Lopez, rather than a fifth fight with Vazquez or a fight with Rojas.
Are there talks which are leaning that way?
Basically, that is who I would like to fight next and I just need to prepare well for it.
When one thinks of Juanma Lopez, one thinks of speed. Do you feel you have the answer for that?
He’s a great fighter, but he hasn’t fought fighters in my category. He hasn’t fought fighters like me or Israel Vazquez, so I feel I’m ready for him.
Did you see his fight against Rogers M’Tagwa, and if so, did that inspire you that he can be beaten?
Yes I did see it. I feel Lopez lost that fight by one point.
With M’Tagwa being a more crude but rugged type of fighter, do you feel if he could hurt Lopez and beat him, you’ll have no problem?
Definitely, definitely! I really want to fight him and I feel confident that I can beat him.
Rafael, thank you for your time and good luck in securing that fight with Juan Manuel Lopez!
You’re welcome and thank you!