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Raul Marquez: A Diamond in the Rough


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A very good junior middleweight who wasn’t quite as good at middleweight, despite being tall enough and hard.hitting enough, Raul Marquez had a quite long and rather distinguished career, also as amateur. His fighting alias was “El Diamante”, hence the subtitle. 

He was born on 28 August 1971 in Valle Hermoso Tamaulipas, Mexico and came to USA in 1976, settling in Houston, Texas. He first participated at the World amateur championship in Moscow in 1989, as a welterweight, winning the bronze. Next year, he won a silver medal at the Goodwill Games in Seattle, as a light middleweight. Before that, he won the 1987 US Junior Olympics and the 1989 US amateur championship, both as a welterweight, and the 1991 US and AIBF championships at light middleweight. He also qualified for the 1992 Olympics and first beat David Defiagbon of Nigeria 8-7 and then Rival Cadeu of The Seychelles 20-3 before losing to eventual silver medalist Orhan Delibas of The Netherlands by 12-16 in the quarterfinal. 

The 5’10 1/2 (179 cm) tall Marquez turned pro shortly thereafter, having his first pro fight on 3 October and winning by TKO 4. He scored 9 straight knockout victories and beat guys like Jorge Vaca and Alain Bonnamie, both by UD10, to make his mark. On 5 March 1996, he won the vacant IBF USBA light middleweight title by UD12 against Skipper Kelp. On 10 January next year, he defended it against famed former lightweight contender Rafael Williams by corner retirement in 5. Three months later, on 12 April, he fought Anthony Stephens for the vacant IBF title at Tropicana Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas; he won by TKO 9 to become the champion, after 4 and a half years as a pro. 

He first defended against Romallis Ellis, who was coming off an upset win over Vince Phillips. Ellis was however more of a natural welterweight and was easily overpowered by larger Marquez and stopped by TKO4. His second defense was tougher, as he faced Keith Mullings, the man who would end the great Terry Norris’ prime and championship reign right after this fight. Marquez had to fight hard to earn a split decision at Thomas and Mack Center. And then, his reign came to a brutal end when he faced Luis Ramon Campas, also known as YORI BOY. Campas was even slightly takler at 5’11 and could punch and brawl. It was a true dogfight at Caesars Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City on 6 December ‘97. The scores were divided going into round 8. Marquez had sustained great damage as his right eye was cut and he had a great swelling under his left eye and lacerations beneath both eyes. After Campas landed a combination, the referee stepped in and stopped it at 2:29. 

Marquez came back with wins over fringe contenders Jose “Shibata” Flores and Michael Lerma, both by UD10, before fighting the new IBF champion, Fernando Vargas, the new sensation who had stopped Campas. Marquez gave it all he had and lasted 11 rounds but was in the end stopped by TKO. He was way behind on all scorecards. That fight, which happened 17 July ‘99, pretty much spelled the end of him as a serious contender. He scored 3 stoppage wins and one decision before fighting Shane Mosley on 8 February 2003 at Mandalay Bay, but the fight ended too soon after both fighters got badly cut in a clash of heads, late in round 3. After that, Marquez decided to move up to middleweight division. 

After defeating the journeyman Humberto Aranda in his first fight there by KO4, he took on the young sensation Jermaine Taylor, who was 6’1 and therefore a big and strong middleweight, as well as 7 years younger. The fight took place at Home Depot Center in Carson, Arizona and Marquez was just dominated and beaten up. He was also down in round 9 and retired in his corner after that. He continued campaigning at 160 and scored a string of wins against lesser opponents, also drawing against Bronco McKart on 29 March 2008. On 21 June that year, he defeated Giovanni Lorenzo by UD12 in an IBF-eliminator. It then landed him a fight against the IBF-champion, Arthur Abraham of Germany. They fought on 8 November same year in Bamberg, Germany and Marquez put up a fight but got too much punishment and quit after round 6. 

That was his final fight and he retired at the age of 37 and a record of 41 wins with 29 ko’s, 4 losses, 1 draw and 1 no contest. Today he lives in Houston and works as a color commentator for Showtime on their Spanish language broadcasts, as well as the English language ShoBox: The New Generation series. He is married and has four sons, of which the third, Giovanni, turned pro in March this year. He also has one daughter. 

Raul Marquez was a talented fighter who had a rather good career both as amateur and pro, but the presence of fighters like Fernando Vargas at 154 and Jermaine Taylor at 160 limited his chances of success. The loss to Campas was kind of unfortunate as it came due to getting badly cut and bruised. He is still fondly remembered by fight fans for his exciting wars in the ring. 

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