Former four division champion Juan Manuel Marquez discusses his tremendous body, at age 40, as heads for his fifth divisional title on October 12th against WBO welterweight champion Timothy Bradley at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. HBO Pay-Per-View is carrying the fight.
QUESTION: As one of the best conditioned 40-year-olds in boxing, how have you managed to stay in such tremendous shape? What type of training do you do before a fight? Yet, more importantly, what type of training do you do when you aren’t preparing for a fight?
MARQUEZ: Since I became a professional boxer I have understood the importance of staying in good shape between fights and I have always tried to adapt to any new trends as far as physical conditioning goes for professional athletes. Boxing is a very difficult sport and there are a lot of sacrifices that need to be made during training camp but also in-between fights.
A good diet is important to stay healthy and in good shape. While I don’t keep the same diet between fights I try not to over indulge on food either. For many years I rarely stay away from the gym. Sometimes I would only take a week off after fight before I went back to gym, but as I have gotten older and more experienced I have learned to stay away from the gym and learned how to relax and let my body recuperate after a long training camp. Rest between fights has become a very important part of my training routine.
While I never thought that I would be fighting at this age, I have never felt that I should retire just because of my age. My body continues to feel good and mentally I feel at top of my game. The fact that I have changed my preparation for my fights -- adapting to my age -- has also helped; doing things differently has prevented my training from becoming boring and tedious.
Going up in weight has also helped me stay in the sport this long. I fought a lot of years at 126 pounds, but rapidly progressed to 147. From 1993 when I made my pro debut until 2007, when I fought for the 130-pound championship, I was a featherweight and got my first world title in that 126-pound division.
From 2007 until now I have fought at 130, 135, 140 and 147 pounds. And have also won championships in those divisions except for 147 pounds where I am looking to become the first Méxican to win five world titles in five different weight divisions. And while it has not be easy to stay at top of my game for this long I have learned to give my body the rest it needs and the work it needs to get me through these very difficult and challenging bouts.
The key has been my ability to stay focused on what I need to do between fights and once I get into training camp the ability to work hard and stay disciplined. I was in the gym when Daniel Zaragoza was winning championship fights in his late 30’s early 40’s and thinking how hard he worked to keep up his condition to be ready to fight much younger guys. But now here I am in the same position and looking forward to getting in the ring and doing what I do best -- winning.
24/7 Bradley/Marquez debuts Sat., Sept. 28 on HBO immediately after World Championship Boxing tripleheader.
Bradley vs. Marquez welterweight title fight takes place Sat., Oct. 12 live on HBO Pay-Per-View beginning at 9:00pm ET/6:00pm PT.