In the TV opener at the Fantasy Springs in Indio, CA, Rafael Marquez gloved up against Efrain Esquivias. The 38-year-old best known for having four wars with Israel Vazquez hasn't been busy of late, and he may not be busy after this. Esquivias had great luck with his right hand, and very much so in round nine. At 19 seconds elapsed, a lead right put Marquez down. He rose, but his legs were bad, and the ref pulled the plug on his night, and maybe his career.
Marquez, now stopped in back to back fights, went 159-530 to 283-730 for Esquivias.
The two men had kind words for each other after the bout. E said that he's loved Marquez for a long time, and still does. He said he wants Leo Santa Cruz, or any titlist at 122, next. Marquez to Jim Gray said he will think about retiring.
In the first round of this featherweight scrap set for ten or fewer, Marquez (ex bantam and super bantam champ; 41-8 with 37 KOs entering; from Mexico), who last fought in Oct. 2012, ate a few clean rights. The Mexican picked up the jab as the round progressed.
In the second, Esquivias (16-2-1 with 9 KOs entering; age 30; from CA) ate a few uppercuts. Marquez had gotten warm, and busier.
In the third, we saw blood on E's left eye. Marquez got a tiny bit buzzed by a right at 50 seconds to go. Marquez ate a few of those in this round.
In the fourth, the lead right landed again for E. Then Marquez landed his own right, but overall, E was having a confident round. Same in round five; Marquez looked pretty bad, actually. In the sixth, Rafa was eating again. They fought in tight, toe to toe, with Esquivias backing up the Mexican mostly.
In the seventh, E often landed a left hook while squared up, in tight. He throws it often, with his right foot a bit out in front of his left, interestingly. Rafa got cooking late in the round, and thought he had E stopped at the bell. False alarm.
In the eighth, E looked peppy, and Marquez wasn't able to maintain his late rally from the last round. Rafa got buckled late in the round, it looked like.
Down went Marquez, and the ref halted it, at the beginning of the ninth. A lead right sent Rafa on his butt. He got up, wobbly, and the ref said no mas.
Check back for a ringside report by David Avila.
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