By Jeff Zimmerman
At the Maple Ave Boxing Gym in Dallas, Texas, former U.S. national amateur champion and 2008 Olympic trials finalist Roberto Marroquin (12-0 9 KOs) gets taped up as he readies himself for his personal media day leading up to the event: Pacquiao vs. Clottey on March 13th at the Cowboy Stadium. There is no Jerry Jones, Michael Buffer or Cowboy cheerleaders anywhere to be found at this new gym just south of Dallas, but make no mistake; Marroquin is more than just a footnote for this mega event. In fact to many it’s just a matter of time before he’s a world champion. Top Rank Chief Bob Arum thinks so highly of him that he personally introduced him to the media and fans at the kick off press conference at Cowboy Stadium.
Photos: Richie Humphreys – Top Rank
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Marroquin is one of Top Rank’s hottest prospects and likely to get a huge marketing boost from the 40,000 to 50,000 fans that will be at the fight and the millions around the world on pay-per-view. In fact, Top Rank believes they may have the next Oscar de la Hoya with his ability in the ring and his smarts and attitude outside of it.
Here’s what Marroquin had to say about his upcoming fight as well as his future:
What can you tell me about your opponent Samuel Sanchez?
We sparred once maybe a year and a half ago and all I know is the guy could be a little complicated. He’s a pretty decent fighter, a little bit of speed but he doesn’t have much of a chin. But you never know with those 8oz gloves — the whole fight could change!
Are you looking to knock him out in front of your hometown?
If it comes, it comes. We’re just in there trying to work our stuff and at least go for the victory.
How long has your training camp been?
Well, I haven’t stopped ever since my last fight on February 6th, so it’s been at least 2 months.
How’s it going?
The only problem that we had is the injury we had mid last year, you know, that’s the reason I took two months off, to get it to heal. Everything has turned out great, my hand didn’t come out with any problems this last fight – so we’re pretty confident now and we know we’re going to be 100% for this upcoming fight, which is a pretty important fight for me.
The hands are probably the most important thing to a fighter – we have seen a history of guys with hand problems (such as Mayweather). Have you had issues with your hands in the past or was it a one time deal?
Well actually it was my second one, back in the amateurs I went to the Pan American games and I had an issue with my left wrist, that one probably took a little bit more time but you know injuries happen and it’s just a matter of time before it heals. That’s the one thing about it if you take a whole year or at least a half of year, you’re behind.
How does it feel to be a part of the 1st fight at the new Cowboy stadium in front of your hometown with 40,000-50,000 and a worldwide audience on PPV?
It’s a great honor. I rarely fight here in the Dallas area. Right now I’m pretty excited and it’s not even time for the fight yet! I could just imagine how I’m going to feel going up to the ring for my fight. I know maybe a little bit nervous when I walk in there but for now I just dedicate everything to my training and hopefully it turns out to be a great night.
After seeing where a guy like Manny Pacquiao has come from and yourself having a stellar amateur career, does being around him give you extra incentive to make it big and fight these PPV fights down the road?
Well definitely, especially since the last champion we have had in the DFW area was Paulie Ayala, so it has been quite awhile. You know, I have great potential to become world champion but being around Manny Pacquiao it’s quite an inspiration because he came up from 106lbs to 140lbs, think about it, it’s crazy how a little guy came up to beat the bigger guys. You know, it teaches me if you have the dedication and the will and if you sacrifice a lot of stuff, definitely boxing is about sacrifice and so far it has been paying off for me.
Top Rank has big plans for you and reports that you could be the next Golden Boy. Do you have a time line set out on fighting for a title fight later this year or beginning of next year?
They gave me ideas for the end of this year, but you know, we are just taking it a step at a time. Anything could change in a fight, one punch could change the whole thing, an injury could set back the date of that so we can’t really confirm a date right now. Like I said, take everything step by step and hopefully everything turns out great.
When you’re home at night and you put your head down on the pillow and you get ready to go to sleep, do you dream about fighting one day at Cowboy Stadium as the main event on PPV?
Oh definitely! As a little boy I was probably 8 or 10, I would jump in the shower or look at myself and do a little bit of shadow boxing in the shower and everything as if I were fighting on the big PPV event for a championship title fight. Right now, I wouldn’t say I am close because it’s going to be quite a while to get there but I am really motivated and everything. My family’s support has been helping a lot, they have been pushing me, they know I have the will and the potential to be world champ and I am ready for it. And I just can’t wait until my opportunity comes and I know I am going to be ready for it.