By Chris Robinson
In a fight that flew under the radar, WBC lightweight champion Antonio DeMarco successfully made the first defense of his title on March 17th in Los Mochis, Mexico when he stopped fringe contender Miguel Roman in the fifth round.
Perhaps it’s not the biggest surprise, considering that the low-key DeMarco isn't yet a household name, but the 26-year old is now in a great position to raise his profile in the sport.
Looking back on the Roman blowout, DeMarco is happy to just be staying active while having another fight lined up in the form of a July 7th rematch with Venezuela’s Jorge Linares.
“I feel very good, because I’m still active in a short period of time,” DeMarco would tell me through my translator Margarita ‘Maggie’ Quinonez recently. “Roman came to fight. He wasn’t a known fighter, but he went there to fight and tried to win.”
DeMarco’s battle with Linares this past October was a test of his poise as a prizefighter, as he found himself in a huge deficit early as his foe boxed beautifully and picked him off with sharp counterpunches. However, DeMarco would stay determined and work his way back into the fight and by the eleventh round he had a bloodied and retreating Linares in enough trouble to the point where referee Raul Caiz Sr. felt the need to stop the contest.
Linares and his team have cried foul a bit at the way the fight was halted and DeMarco is eager for the rematch to show that the first fight was no fluke.
“We showed that we went there to fight and I believe the second fight, if it happens, is going to be as good as the first one,” DeMarco claimed. “The first time I was 100% ready and this time I’m going to be 1000% ready. Because I want to continue being a champion and I want to prove that I deserve to be a champion. I just want God to bless both of us and keep us safe.”
DeMarco’s nearly eight-year career has been quite the ride and he has shown great perseverance in overcoming his two defeats, a February 2006 majority-decision loss to Anthony Vasquez and a February 2010 date with the late Edwin Valero that saw DeMarco’s corner call a halt to the bout after nine one-sided rounds.
Now a more seasoned prizefighter with a brighter outlook, DeMarco seems taken aback when reflecting on the blessings that have come his way.
“I feel very excited and I’m still in shock for all that is coming to my career,” DeMarco would continue. “I can’t believe all the good things that are happening to me right now and all of the success I am having in my career. Because I’ve been working very, very hard to be where I am right now. For me, it’s just shocking.”
Growing up, DeMarco couldn’t help but to respect the career accomplishments of four-division champion Erik Morales, as both men hail from Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico.
Shortly after his victory over Linares, DeMarco was even mentioned as a possible foe for Morales, who, one month prior, captured the vacant WBC junior welterweight crown with a 10th round TKO over Pablo Cesar Cano in Las Vegas.
The two fighters’ careers would head in separate directions as Morales was seen looking a bit shopworn in his unanimous decision loss to Philadelphia’s Danny Garcia this past weekend in Houston, Texas.
Morales has endured a lot during his prolific career and at age 35 and coming off of a definitive loss, there are those asking for him to call it a day. DeMarco is unsure what Morales’ future holds but knows he ultimately will do what is right for him.
“I feel like Erik Morales is an awesome fighter," said the modest DeMarco. "He’s a legend not only for Mexico, but for the world of boxing. He had a great career, he did a really good thing for the sport, and I admire him. I wish the best for Erik Morales and whatever decision he makes in his career, he knows he’s going to make the best one.”