Rafael Marquez arrived at the MGM grand hotel in Las Vegas today with a healed thumb and a determined heart. At 35 years old, this could be his last big fight of his illustrious career. He already made his legacy after giving boxing fans exciting fights like his trilogy with Israel Vasquez, but Rafael knew it’s still far from over and fighting Juan Manuel Lopez, who is coincidentally the same name with his decorated brother, would be a fitting exclamation point to his hall of fame career.
Juanma is not an easy task; in fact the hard hitting Puerto Rican is undefeated and is regarded as the kingpin in the lower weight division. There is no place for folding or bluffing; this is all-in for Marquez, make or break. If Juanma wants to be the best then he has to go through rough waters to get it, and Marquez will give him the toughest test putting him in the hardest fire to see if he is really a diamond in the making.
Marquez has fought a number of southpaws throughout his career, and he could compare Lopez to Tim Austin the southpaw from Cincinnati who was also undefeated when they fought way back in 2003 and handed Austin a beating, winning by TKO in the eighth round. But Marquez was the younger fighter when they met (Austin was four years older), and Lopez this time is eight years younger and packs an explosive power.
Rafael have sparred bigger and faster partners throughout his training camp. He knows he has to fight a perfect fight against Juanma.
Lopez is beatable; that’s the mantra Marquez put in his mind. The blue print of defeating Juanma has already been there. Lopez struggled to dispose an older and moving up on weight, Gerry Penalosa, and he had trouble when Rogers Mtagwa went toe-to-toe with him. So definitely having a good defense and enough power to engage will definitely make wonders. Just like when Marquez fought Israel Vasquez for the first time.
Marquez had a good training camp, and there was no trash talk and hoopla throughout the build up for the fight. The silence is deafening. That is just normal because this is the calm before the storm.
So Lopez should better be ready…