Former four division world champion Juan Manuel Marquez reflects on how he left his successful accounting career behind to focus full-time on boxing. On October 12th at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Marquez will challenge undefeated Timothy Bradley for the WBO welterweight championship.
Even though you were a successful accountant in Mexico, you gave it up to focus on boxing full-time. What was the motivation behind the career switch? Is accounting something you would like to return to after boxing?
Marquez: I started in boxing when I was very young and did not think about professional boxing as a career. My father had been a professional boxer and did not do very well, as his career was not managed properly and had some doubts about not only me but my brother Rafael becoming professional boxers. We all love boxing as a sport and as something to keep us off the street. That is why we took our education very seriously and got good grades in school. I was good with numbers and liked math very much. There is a two-year course in México that will get you certified as a bookkeeper and another two-year course that will get you certified as an accountant. By the time I made my professional debut I was an accountant and got a job working in the city accounting department. I still did not know how far I would go in boxing so I kept my job while I developed my skills as a professional boxer, not thinking that I could become a world champion someday as everyone seemed to think in the gym, especially my trainer Ignacio “Nacho” Beristáin, one of the best trainers in Méxican boxing history.
I would run in the mornings, then work my 9 to 5 accounting job, and then to the legendary Romanza Gym to do my boxing work to prepare for my fights. When I had fights and had to travel I would get permission from by boss to go for my fights traveling on the weekends, fight, and be ready for work on Monday. I did that until I got my first championship opportunity against Freddie Norwood. At that time I took a few months off from work to get ready for the fight. A fight I felt I won on points. But it was not until I won my first world championship in February of 2003 that I decided to leave my job and concentrate on my boxing career. I was a little nervous about leaving my job and its security but I felt that as a World Champion I needed to dedicate myself to boxing fulltime and it was the right decision to make.
I never expected to have this long of a career or to be this successful, but being good with numbers and knowing the value of money has helped me and while I doubt that I will return to work as an accountant, it will surely help in the future when I retire and invest in some type of business and understand the difference between a Balance Sheet and a Bout Sheet.
24/7 Bradley/Marquez episode 2 debuts Sat., Oct. 5 on HBO.
Bradley vs. Marquez takes place Sat., Oct. 12 live on HBO Pay-Per-View beginning at 9:00pm ET/6:00pm PT.