In the co-main event of Showtime “Special Edition” broadcast of Seth Mitchell vs. Chris Arreola, Efrain Esquivias (17-2-1, 10 knockouts) took on battle tested (and battle worn) veteran Rafael Marquez (41-9, 37 knockouts) in a 10-round featherweight bout. The fight wasn’t exactly set up to be a showcase for either fighter, but instead was to act as a gauge for just how much Marquez has in the tank following his newly signed 3-fight contract with Golden Boy Promotions. One thing is for certain following this fight; whatever was once there is seemingly gone.
In the early rounds of the bout, there’s no denying that was Marquez out-boxing and out-working Esquivias. Utilizing his in-ring experience and super human-like grit, Marquez was able to batter and frustrate Esquivias for much of the rounds.
Following a brief scare in the third round which saw Esquivias momentarily stagger the veteran, Marquez seemed determined enough to follow his gameplan en-route to a points victory. Esquivias had other plans however, and that finally began to show in round five.
At the opening moment of the fifth round, Esquivias came out especially aggressive and began attacking the body of Marquez. Body punches are effective to even the most prime fighters, but against an aging body they proved to be crippling. With each blow landed, Marquez was gradually being torn apart and was quickly slowing down. It eventually led to Marquez being hurt along the ropes, but somehow he managed to survive. Still, Marquez was feeling the effects of those punches while all Esquivias was feeling was his growing confidence.
Rounds six, seven, and eight each followed the pattern set by the fifth. While Esquivias continued in his relentless attack, Marquez wasn’t able to do much aside from shell-up and hope that the fight goes another round. When Marquez did manage to get something in the way of offense going, it would be too little too late.
The fight finally came to a close in the ninth round shortly after the opening bell of the round. As both fighters approached the center of the ring, Esquivias threw a quick combination that was capped by a lead straight right that landed flush on Marquez’ chin. Marquez managed to beat the count, but the defeated walk he took back to his corner was enough for the referee to call a halt to the action.
Without a doubt, this proves to be Esquivias’ biggest win. There’s no telling where he might go from here, but it’s much easier to tell what Marquez’ future may hold: retirement. Whether this ends up being Marquez’ last bout or not, it’s hard to not look back and remember the caliber fighter he was. The brutal wars were bound to catch up at some point, and it looks like they finally did. If this is the last time we see Marquez in the ring, thanks for the memories.