15.06.04 – Interview by Carlos Kalinchuk: The clock is ticking on Raul Marquez’s (35-2) fight with rising Middleweight superstar and former Olympian Jermaine Taylor (20-0). This Saturday they’ll be fighting for Taylor’s WBC Continental Americas Title in the co-main event of the Paulie Ayala (35-2) and Marco Antonio Barrera’s (57-4) Featherweight showdown at the Home Depot Center in Los Angeles California.
Although Taylor and Marquez both share former Olympic glory, Marquez’s is much farther removed from his than the younger Taylor. Even though many are calling Marquez a long shot to defeat the younger bull, make no mistake about it, Raul wants to beat Taylor badly. However, considering his age and his penchant for cutting, this could be Raul’s last stand at greatness. Barring a cut though, he definitely has the advantage in experience and he has a tremendous heart. Will that make a difference? We’ll know soon enough.
I caught up with “El Diamante” in Houston today and this is what he had to say about his upcoming battle with Taylor. Enjoy.
Eastside Boxing: Can you give me your thoughts of Jermain Taylor as an opponent?
Raul Marquez: I think Jermaine is a good up and coming prospect and he has the story of being an Olympian. Their pushing him to be this great fighter and that’s the job of the media and the press to do when a guys’ coming out of the Olympics. Back when I was coming out of the Olympics I had that same promotion too and so far he’s backed it up by winning. I think he’s got good skills but I don’t think he’s ever fought a guy like me. I’m the type of guy that’s been there and done. I fought the best. I’ve got a lot of experience and I’m used to fighting on TV and being in the limelight. I could say I’ve had 23-24 years of boxing and I’ve been preparing myself to my fullest and I’m excited to get this opportunity because my names been thrown around a couple of times. Vernon Forrest, he didn’t want to fight because I’m left-handed. I don’t know if you heard but Floyd Mayweather had called me out. He was going to move to 154 and he was hoping to get a fight DelaHoya and then HE decided not to fight me and other different fights fall through. But finally, this opportunity came and I took it and I’m going to make the best out of it.
Eastside Boxing: Do you feel that if you beat him that you won’t get as much credit as you deserve in this fight?
Raul Marquez: I think I would get a lot of credit. I read the all the websites and all the press on Jermaine. They’re building this guy up big to take over the middleweight division. They want him for Bernard Hopkins’ 20th title defense assuming Bernard gets past DelaHoya. So if I were to beat Jermaine then I should be right there too.
Eastside Boxing: Do you feel if the shoes on the other foot and he beats you that he won’t get enough credit for beating you?
Raul Marquez: Ahhh, tough question. If he does beat me his people will make a big deal out of it because that’s their job; and not only that but I’ve fought the best. You saw that I was holding my own against Mosley and that’s why I’m still here. Some people would say that I’m not a middleweight but I could’ve been this weight years ago. Look at all my amateur peers and my Olympic teammates. If DelaHoya could move from 130 to 160…Shane Mosley could move from 135 to 154, and then there’s Vernon Forrest so I tell people, “Come on, I can’t move up one weight division?” When I came back from after the Vargas fight, all of them were at 68,65, 62, besides the Mosley fight because it was such a big opportunity and it was a big fight and all the hype for it. And not only that, a lot of the guys that I fought and beat when I was in the Amateurs like…Robert Allen who just fought Hopkins. I knocked him out to make the Olympic Team. I beat Antwon Echols who’s done a good job as a Middleweight; I beat him in the Olympic Trials. And I beat Bradley who was the Middleweight Champion in the Olympic Trials. So that tells you that I could have been a middleweight a long time ago.
Eastside Boxing: That leads me to my next question, how is your weight with just a week to go?
Raul Marquez: My weight is good. I just weighed in and I’m 162, and don’t think I’m trying to gain weight to get to 160. I’m trying to lose weight to get to 160 (Smiles)! I’m getting down…
Eastside Boxing: (Laughs) Too many tacos and refried beans huh?
Raul Marquez: A little bit of everything, but I have a small frame but I’m strong. Today basically is a light day for me but I’m still working hard. It’s the end of my camp and I sparred four rounds but both of my sparring partners, one of them is a light heavyweight, he weighs 178 and the other one Sebastian is 180-181 so I was sparring with Light Heavyweights and Super Middleweights and they know I’m strong. I was pushing them around. They hold me because I’m strong and I know I can carry the weight and like I said I’m coming down (easily) from 180 to 160.
Eastside Boxing: What are the prospects for you if you do win this fight?
Raul Marquez: Well I’ve got a lot of things in mind. I’m sure Golden Boy Promotions and Richard Shaffer will help me figure that out but I’d rather not talk about it. I have to focus on Jermaine and what good would it do to talk about it if I don’t beat Jermaine? My main thing is to beat Jermaine. I don’t think he’s been tested and it’s…
Eastside Boxing: It’s going to be a 10 round fight right?
Raul Marquez: No, it ‘s going to be a 12 round fight. I’m very excited. It’s for his WBC Continental Title.
Eastside Boxing: Do you expect it to go the distance?
Raul Marquez: IF I do it…I just feel that I’m very confident…and I don’t know if he has a lot of heart and he’s been tested before. I’ve been in deep water and he hasn’t been in deep water and we’ll see how he handles that. In none of his fights, none of the guys have put him in deep water. Alex Bunema was probably his biggest test and he was a welterweight and Jr. Middleweight and then he came up to middleweight and Bunema would hit him and Taylor would just sit there and wait. Even Bunema pushed him at times but he wouldn’t stay on him. You can’t let him think. HE likes to set. You have to pressure him and you have to dig to the body. Make him lose his head. I think…I know I’m going to win but I might be able to stop him in the later rounds. You never know. I’m in tremendous condition. I’m ready for the fight and I feel good about the fight. I’m not scarred of him and I’m not intimidated by him. We’ll see what happens.
Eastside Boxing: What’s been different about this camp from other camps?
Raul Marquez: I’ve been doing a lot of the things that I did for the Shane Mosley fight. Like you saw, my hands are up. I talked to Juan Lopez (My previous trainer) I’m sure you’ve spoken to him and we spoke about the “frame defense.” He calls it the “frame defense.” That’s one thing that I learned from him and I saw that it worked in the Mosley fight. Also I can’t sit there, I have to come back and throw something too. I might be good to let him sit there and do it but with Jermaine, when he throws, I’ve got to throw. I have to throw at the same time. I had a really good camp. The reason I’m using Ronnie Shields instead of Juan is because Ronnie has been there with the best. He’s been there and done that and he’s an experienced trainer and you don’t have to take the stuff from the media ( the immediate media) you know how that goes, he’s been with Whitaker, Holyfield, Meldrick Taylor, Tyson, and all of them. I’ve got a great cut man in Joe Souza and I’ve got my brother in the corner.
Eastside Boxing: I know you’ve known Joe for along g time as I have, what did you think of the claims from camp Klitchko that he inhibited Vladimir in the fight he had against Brewster? Total bullshit or what?
Raul Marquez: They’re just trying to use excuses and that’s it! I mean what is Vaseline going to do? Whatever! I don’t want to be part of that!
Eastside Boxing: In other words, you don’t have any problems with Joe in your corner?
Raul Marquez: I have no problems with Joe in my corner! I’m the one that picked him. I wanted him there. I’ve got a great team and let’s do it!
Eastside Boxing: I know you get asked this question a lot but you’ve been in the sport along time and a lot of athletes would love to be in your position to where they can still stay in the sport albeit by not having to lace up the gloves and get knocked upside the head. So considering you’re a successful commentator, why do this to yourself? Why go through all this?
Raul Marquez: Because it’s still in me, it’s not the money. I mean the moneys important and you want to make sure you get paid the right way and compensated the right way (I mean I do have a name). It’s still in me and I still feel I can do it. I like to get up here and run and I like to get up and spar. You saw I do it “con ganas” (translation-“with desire”), con gusto (translation-with pleasure), y con amor (translation-for the love of it), and it’s in me. It’s in my blood. I feel like I’m a young 32. I feel I can compete with the young guys. I feel I can compete with the best. I’m up there with the best and if I didn’t feel I could do it-then I wouldn’t do it. I’m a smart guy. I’m a broadcaster. I get paid well to be a broadcaster. I do HBO Latino. I do NBC and I’m doing the Olympics on Telemundo and it’s great but why not do boxing until I can’t do it no more. I’m playing it fight by fight and we’ll see after this fight what happens and then I’ll make a decision. I’m going in with Jermaine to win. I’m not going in there for the money to lay down for Jermaine. I’m fighting to move up and not down. I’ve only lost twice in my life and the Yori Boy Campas fight…my thing with that fight is that I had just come off of surgery and my other loss was to Vargas at his best. I fought Vargas at his best and so that’s the only legitimate loss that I consider on my record. I was one of the top amateurs coming out of the Olympics. I’m a competitor and I love to be number one and I want to win this fight. I’m telling you, I want to win this fight!
Eastside Boxing: If you shock the world and knock him out early, what will that mean for you?
Raul Marquez: Oh my God! I’ve been watching Marvin Hagler against Tommy Hearns. Tommy Hearns is Jermaine Taylor and I’m Marvin Hagler. You know a lefty (Hagler)-he’s a little bit shorter though. He’s like 5’9 and I’m like 5’11 and Tommy Hearns is like 6 foot like Jermaine Taylor. I used to watch tapes of Marvin Hagler coming up because he was a lefty and he just goes after Hearns! I kind of have that mentality that I have to go after Jermaine. I cannot wait on Jermaine and sit back. I’ve got to be throwing at all times and I’ve got to be showing some head movement. I’ve got to be throwing body punches and if I just sit there and throw one jab and move around it won’t be good. Jermaines got descent speed but I’ve been watching my tapes of Mosley and if I could see Mosley’s jab and punches, I’m going to be able to see Jermaines punches too. I can’t sit back because he’s got long arms and he’s tall so I just can’t sit back and look at him and wait, I’ve got to dictate the pace. He likes to stand back and look, and he doesn’t like to fight (put it this way). He tries to get away with that. To me he doesn’t even know how to put his punches together!
Eastside Boxing: It’s more one at a time right?
Raul Marquez: Yeah it’s pop. Stop and then pop-pop and that’s it. But he doesn’t like to be forced to fight so don’t be surprised if he starts holding me. I hope he doesn’t but don’t be surprised. I’m excited man. I’m excited.
Eastside Boxing: Finally, what do you want to tell the fans?
Raul Marquez: I want to thank the fans all over the world and locally here, and all the people that always supported me and believed in me. You know I always fight to the end. I’m not leaving anything in the dressing room. I’m leaving it all out there in the ring. I’m going to fight 100% and I’m going to LA to win and I have a positive mind and I thank everyone for their support who support Raul Marquez as a boxer and as broadcaster too. It’s going to be a great show at the Home Depot Center and there’s going to be a pro-Mexican crowd that’s in my favor too. How’s Jermaine going to take that? All that is part of the game!
Eastside Boxing: That’s a big fight card!
Raul Marquez: Ayala and Barrera and Jermaine and I and you know the crowds going to be all pro-Mexican and Hispanic so it’s on! It’s on!
Eastside Boxing: Thanks and good luck on Saturday.
Raul Marquez: You bet bro and thanks.
Carlos “Stiff-jab” Kalinchuk
Contributing Writer & Photographer