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Esquivias “I'm just here to ruin all their plans”

No one ever becomes a boxer to lose. Whether you fight for love, family, country, fortune or glory, the reason to walk up the steps and into the ring is never about losing. To varying degrees, that journey is about survival. Win this one and go on to the next, hopefully more meaningful stage. The more you win, the better the chance of becoming a “champion” of note. On Saturday night in Indio, CA’s Fantasy Springs Casino, Efrain Esquivias

of Carson, CA will be in a proverbial crossroads fight with former two division champion Rafael Marquez as the co-main event to the Chris Arreola-Seth Mitchell showdown live on Showtime.


At age 38, the veteran Marquez represents a unique opportunity for Esquivias. 3-3 in his last six fights and coming off a technical stoppage at the hands of Christian Mijares last October, Marquez is hooping to reignite his career at the expense of Esquivias. The former bantam and super bantamweight champion Marquez recently signed a four fight deal with Golden Boy promotions and hopes to win enough fights to win a potentially lucrative title shot with the likes of Leo Santa Santa Cruz at 122 pounds or the likes of Jhonny Gonzalez or Abner Mares at 126. When a fighter looks forward like that, he can lose sight of the hungry fighter in front of them.

“I think number one is the opportunity that we are getting. We know physically they bypassed me; they chose me as an opponent. I’m far from that. They’re going to surprised when the fight comes,” Esquivias told myself and co-host David Duenez on a recent episode of


Esquivias, a 2006 National Golden Gloves champion at bantamweight, is coming off his worst stretch as a professional. He closed out 2012 with back to back decision losses, albeit to quality opposition in Rico Ramos and Jhonatan Romero. Esquivias drew with Victor Sanchez earlier this year. With that streak, its no wonder Marquez took on Esquivias as an opponent.


“No doubt,” said Esquivias, who is as laid back outside the ring as he is relentless in it. “My last three fights, obviously, two losses and a draw. That’s what they see but they don’t know the whole story. They chose an opponent because [Marquez] has been off for a year. So I’m just here to ruin all their plans. I’m going to be next in line for a title shot after this hopefully.”


For some fighters at age 30, two losses and a draw in step up bouts might be the sign its time to look elsewhere for work. But Esquivias only has 19 pro fights. He’s still developing. A southern California gym staple, Esquivias formerly trained at the Wild Card in Hollywood, CA. Now he makes his gym home at The Rock in Carson, CA. To hear him tell it, his losses are just the beginning of the ring story of the fighter they call “E-Bomb.” In boxing, losses can sometimes be merely lessons.


“Those losses, people don’t half of the story,” said Esquivias. “I know I could have won those fights. With Rico [Ramos], they brought the fight from an ten to an eight rounder, which threw me off. After that, Romero, I knew, man. I knew I could beat this guy. But people don’t know that I changed my diet. I went into a new diet which affected me. I was weak in the ring.”


At the very least, Esquivias got to go the full twelve rounds versus Romero. Its invaluable experience that should carry over against Marquez in their scheduled ten rounder. Knowing how to mead out your energy in a distance fight is something you can only understand by doing it. The most powerful weapon a fighter can carry into a fight, besides one-punch stopping power, is self knowledge. The experience has given him confidence to use new aspects of his game.


“Everyone got to see I have heart [versus Romero,] at least,” said Esquivias. “I’m excited for this fight because I am back to a regular diet. Plus, a few other things. They will see I can switch up my style. I can box. I’m not just a come at you type of guy. I also have ring smarts and I can box around. I am going to confuse Marquez.”


At the weigh-in, Marquez made the agreed upon 126 pound limit. Esquivias missed it by a quarter pound. He eventually made weight and the bout will go on as scheduled. Esquivias spoke during our interview about making weight and the all important weigh in process.


“To a point, but I really think it is really how you rehydrate yourself after a weigh in. I am really good at knowing what to put in my body after a weigh in. It doesn’t affect me,” said Esquivias.


When a fighter starts to look bad each time he gets hit, or his legs look slower and more wobbly under fire than usual, as Marquez’ have in recent years, its generally time to call it quits. Instead, Marquez has taken a year off to rest his body which sometimes helps. It will be incumbent on Esquivias to jump on Marquez, who will be rusty, and not let him find a rhythm or comfort zone early on. However, with a record of 41-8 with 37 knockouts, many of them early on, perhaps it would be prudent to let Marquez tire while working the body and setting fast pace. 38 year old legs can only run so far.


“My plan is to drown him in deep waters,” said Esquivias. “He is an older fighter and I am slow starter. I’ve always been a slow starter. So I am planning on taking him to deep waters and hopefully take him to the later rounds.”


When asked why he prefers starting slow, Esquivias replied “I don’t know. I don’t plan it that way but every fight I usually start really slow. I notice with Marquez he starts fast, throwing hard. I don’t know if he tires. I better be looking out for his power the first three or four rounds.”


Marquez brings experience, excellent boxing skills and power that has to be respected. While he has been stopped six times, his power will keep him in the fight even if its just a deterrent in theory. Esquivias will have to be careful all ten rounds.


“If it presents itself. I am not going to say I am going to go for the kill and get careless. Marquez will carry his power to 126 easily and I heard he has pretty big hands. That explains where that power comes from. I definitely can’t get careless,” he said.


Not one to boast or brag, Esquivias assessed the fight honestly, offering bits of his gameplan. No doubt on Saturday night every lesson learned in all his fights, win lose or draw, will come to bear. In the most important step up bout of his life, Efrain Esquivias needs to be all about boxing’s most basic need: win at al costs.


“I think it is going to be a distance,” he said. “I am going to make sure I dictate the pace. Make him fight my fight. Because they think I am the kind of guy who just comes at you and has one speed. That is not the case. I am going to change it up on them and confuse them.”

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