MEXICO CITY -- Inside the ring,
So it comes as no surprise that his gambling mentality extends beyond the ring. Standing outside the Romanza Boxing Gym, Marquez, a noted sunglasses collector, notices a pair hanging from a reporter's shirt. He produces a coin and gently taps it off the glass of one of the frames.
"This side," said Marquez in broken English. "You give to me."
He turns the coin over and pulls his own glasses from his head.
"That side," he said. "I give to you."
When the reporter declines his offer, Marquez flashes a sly grin and says, "Will ask again later."
Enjoy it as he does, gambling doesn't always pay off for Marquez. In a one-year span, from 2007-08, Marquez participated in three epic slugfests with bantamweight champion
With the popularity of both Marquez and Vazquez sky high, and the public clamoring for this series to continue, Marquez returned to Mexico to wait for word on the next fight.
He waited. And waited. And waited.
Exactly what happened after the third fight is a little hazy. According to Marquez and his trainer/manager,
"I don't like the way [Vazquez's manager]
That another fight with Vazquez hasn't materialized has certainly dampened Marquez's popularity. With the memory of the trilogy fading -- and with Marquez locked in a dispute with his promoters -- Marquez remained idle for the rest of '08. He re-emerged last May with a third-round knockout win over unheralded
Marquez's frustrating year was punctuated when he flipped his car in June while on the way to the airport (he was uninjured) to catch a flight to New York where he was to accept the award for the Fight of the Year. Marquez is saving an Aug. 22 fight date, but his opponent, probably journeyman
The real fight -- perhaps the only fight -- Marquez is waiting for is a fourth run at Vazquez.
"I was ready to fight [Vazquez] last November," said Marquez. "That's who I wanted then and who I want now."
That sentiment is echoed by Beristain, who says he doesn't see the logic in pitting Marquez against any of the champions in the featherweight division because "they are difficult fights that don't bring any money to the table." And with Golden Boy, Vazquez's co-promoter, dangling the possibility of giving Marquez the payday he is looking for in a potential pay-per-view bout this winter, Team Marquez appears willing to wait.
"It's a risky fight for Rafael," said Beristain. "He knows that. He knows he could get hurt very badly. But this is the fight he wants."