Raul “El Diamante” Marquez was the USA Olympic light middleweight in 1992 and the IBF light middleweight champion defending the title 3 successful times in 1997. He now serves as the color commentator on Showtime Championship (Spanish) and Shobox on Showtime!
Marquez was gracious enough during a preliminary fight on the Lucas Matthysse-Lamont Peterson and Devon Alexander-Lee Purdy bouts in Atlantic City on May 18th. I asked him if he had 10 minutes sometime during the night and he said “how about now?” I got his www.boxrec.com record out that I had been carrying since I met him last year at another show hoping for this opportunity.
“ I had a good amateur career with my father Arturo Marquez as my trainer. I won my first 2 fights in the 1992 Olympics before losing in the quarter finals,” said Marquez. He defeated David Defiagbon from Nigeria 8-7. Defiagbon moved to Canada and eventually into the heavyweight ranks in 1996 going 21-2, losing his last 2 fights. In the second Olympic bout Marquez defeated Rival Cadeau, of the Seychelles who also was in the 1996 Olympics. Marquez lost to OrhanDelibas of the Netherlands (born in Turkey) 16-12 in the quarter-finals. Delibas won a Silver medal in the finals.
“ In the amateurs I defeated Lonnie Bradley (WBO middle champ), Robert Allen by knockout in the Olympic trials and Antwon Echols. I was 5-1 against the Russian’s and reversed the loss in a rematch,” said Marquez. Against the Cuban’s I was 1-1 with both fights against Juan Lemus. Our first fight was in North Carolina over NBC. I had him out in the first round and he held me throughout the next 2 rounds. We had a Cuban referee and I lost a split decision. In March of 1991 in the World Championship’s in Tampa, FL, they would have their rematch. “It was an HBO Special with 5 rounds 2 minutes each. I gave him an 8 count and won easily,” said Marquez. He was the 1987 Junior Olympic, 1989 and 1991 US Amateur champion and 1991 AIBF amateur world champion.
In October of 1992 Marquez turned professional under Lou Duva’s Main Events. “I should have never dropped my father as my trainer. Duva used several trainers in Roger Bloodworth and Ronnie Shields and they wanted another Tony Ayala whereas I would no longer be a boxer-puncher,” said Marquez.
Marquez won his first 9 fights by knockout before decisioning Tommy Small, 29-7, in Atlantic City over 8 rounds. He would win the vacant USBA title in his 23rd fight in March of 1996 over Skipper Kelp, 22-2-1.Prior to that in his 18th fight he defeated former WBC welterweight champion Jorge Vaca, 51-13-1. In October of 1996 he was signed by Top Rank. He defended his USBA title once, against Panama’s Rafael Williams, 35-17, stopping him in 5 rounds.
In April of 1997 Marquez won the vacant IBF light middleweight title stopping Anthony Stephens, 28-7-2 in 9 rounds. Stephens had won 6 straight including a win over former WBA welterweight champion Aaron “Superman” Davis. Just 3 months later Marquez stopped former 1988 Olympian Romallis Ellis, 24-1, in 4 rounds. Ellis had defeated Vernon Phillips who in his next fight dropped to 140 and stopped Kostya Tszyu, who was 18-0, for the IBF light welterweight title.
It would be just 2 months later when Marquez defeated Keith Mullings, 14-3-1, by split decision and improving his record to 28-0. Mullingshad defeated Donald Stokes 39-1-1 to earn the title shot. In his next fight Mullings defeated Terry Norris for his WBC light middleweight title. “I was cut in the Mullings fight and hadn’t fully healed when they made the Yuri Boy Campas, 68-2, fight 3 months later and should not have taken it. I got cut again in the fight that was even after 7 rounds,” said Marquez. He was cut in the 5th round with each fighter up by 1 point and the other judge having it even. The fight would be stopped in the 8th round in favor of Campas. Campas defended his title 3 times then lost to Olympian Fernando Vargas.
Marquez would defeat Jose Flores, 36-6, and Michael Lerma, 17-2, both over 10 rounds to earn a shot at his old title that Vargas now had. The Lerman fight was in Houston where Marquez was 8-0 and 12-0 overall in TX. He lost in the Vargas fight when the fight was stopped in the 11th round. It would be 19 months before he fought again winning 4 in a row and then meeting former IBF lightweight and WBC welterweight champion Shane Mosley, 38-2, in February of 2003 with the winner to fight Oscar De La Hoya, in June.
Marquez fought those 4 fights over 160. He would be inactive for 11 months and got down to 154 for this fight. “It was Mosley’s first fight at 154 and I had an easy first round. In the second round we had a clash of heads and it was ruled a no contest. “I knew I would never get a rematch (nor would Campas give him one),” said Marquez. Mosley defeated De La Hoya for the WBC and WBA Super middleweight titles.
After a win Marquez would lose to Olympian Jermain Taylor, 20-0, in 9 rounds. 13 months later Taylor defeated Bernard Hopkins for all 4 titles. Marquez would lay-off for almost 2 years before coming back. In his last 5 fights his father, Arturo would train him again. “I won the fight with Bronco McKart, 51-8 and a month later it was changed to a draw by the MI commission,” said Marquez.
In June of 2008 Marquez defeated Giovanni Lorenzo, 26-0, in an IBF middleweight title eliminator. It would be 5 months before getting the fight with IBF middleweight champion Arthur Abraham in Germany. “We were there for a month and the fight got cancelled. I have no excuses in losing to Abraham,” said Marquez. The fight was stopped after 6 rounds. Marquez was 37 and it would be his last fight ending his career at 41-4-1 with 1 no contest, scoring 29 by knockout.
“ Today I run Raul Marquez Boxing Fitness Gym in Houston. I have 3 sons, Raul 20, Arturo 16 (GG champ) and Giovanni 12. My father trains them. When I have the time I sometimes spar with them. I pray for them every night. When I ran the boardwalk (Atlantic City) tonight I went down Memory Lane about the fight here with Campas. How different it could have been,” said Marquez.
Ken Hissner responds to all his emails at: firstname.lastname@example.org