Two-division world champion Rafael Marquez took his training up a notch last week as he prepares for his world title battle against undefeated WBO featherweight champion Juan Manuel "Juanma" Lopez on Saturday, November 6, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
The rumble between the pride of México and Puerto Rico, respectively, will be televised live by Showtime Championship Boxing.
The 12-round world championship bout, originally set for Sept. 18, had to be rescheduled after Marquez injured his right thumb.
"The injury is totally healed. This will be the best preparation of my career. I will work very hard so I defeat Juanma when we meet because I know he will also be in top shape. We are going to give the fans the fight they deserve, which will be nothing less than the fight of the year," said Marquez.
Marquez is training in México City under the tutelage of Hall of Fame fighter and former world champion Daniel Zaragoza, now a world-class trainer in his own right.
"I am working on my strength training right know and sparring against bigger guys. As the training moves a long I will be working on my speed and I will put it all together by the time we fight. I know that I need to be at my best to defeat Juanma and I will be," said Marquez.
These two warriors boast a combined record of 68-5 with an astounding 61 knockouts – a winning percentage of 93% and a victory by knockout ratio of 90%.
Lopez (29-0, 26 KOs), from Caguas, Puerto Rico, returns to Las Vegas for the first time in more than four years. The pride of Puerto Rico and a consensus Top 10 pound-for-pound fighter has won 16 of his previous 17 fights by knockout.
He earned his first world title by knocking out defending WBO junior featherweight champion Daniel Ponce De Leon in the first round of their June 2008 fight. After five successful title defenses – four by knockout – he vacated the title and successfully challenged WBO featherweight champion Steven Luevano, stopping him in the seventh round, on January 28, at Madison Square Garden.
In his last fight, Juanma successfully defended his featherweight crown with an exciting second-round TKO of the Manny Pacquiao-managed contender Bernabe Concepcion on July 10 in Puerto Rico.
Marquez (39-5, 35 KOs), of México City, also makes his first visit to the Entertainment Capital of the World since 2006. Already the author of a first-ballot Hall of Fame career, Marquez boasts victories over world champions Tim Austin, Israel Vazquez (2), Mauricio Pastrana (2) and Mark Johnson (2).
Marquez captured the IBF bantamweight title in 2003, knocking out undefeated defending champion Tim Austin in the eighth round and ending his six-year title reign.
Marquez successfully defended the title seven times before vacating it in March 2007 to challenge WBC super bantamweight champion Israel Vazquez, winning the title via a brutal seventh-round stoppage, beginning one of this era’s most exciting rivalries.
Promoted by Top Rank, in association with PR Best Boxing, Zanfer Promotions and Gary Shaw Productions, tickets to Lopez vs, Marquez are priced at $400, $300, $200, $100 and $50, and can be purchased at all Las Vegas Ticketmaster locations (select Smith’s Food and Drug Centers and Ritmo Latino.)
Ticket sales are limited to eight (8) per person. To charge by phone with a major credit card, call Ticketmaster (800) 745-3000. Tickets are also available for purchase at www.mgmgrand.com or www.ticketmaster.com.