By Francisco Salazar
Through his first 16 professional fights, Efrain Esquivias was an unbeaten fighter. Winning came natural to him.
Unfortunately, Esquivias has gone through a dry spell in his couple of fights, winless in his last three.
Rather than take an easy bout, Esquivias will attempt to break this streak. He would also attempt to score a major upset in the process.
Esquivias will face former world champion Rafael Marquez in a scheduled 10 round bout at the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio, CA.
The bout will precede the 12 round heavyweight bout between Chris Arreola and Seth Mitchell. Both bouts will be televised on Showtime at 10:30PM ET/ 7:30PM PT.
Esquivias is coming off a second round technical draw against Victor Sanchez on June 28th.
Prior to facing Sanchez, the 30-year-old Esquivias (16-2-1, 9 KOs) had two difficult fights against former world title holders.
He suffered his first loss to Rico Ramos last June by majority decision over eight rounds. The fight was very close and Esquivias gave a good account of himself.
Three months later on September 21st, Esquivias lost a one-sided 12 round decision to Jhonatan Romero.
Against Marquez, he will face a hard-hitting fighter, who even though has lost a step, is still a dangerous puncher. Esquivias accepts the challenge, knowing a win could put him back in the title hunt.
"I'm very excites to get back in the ring," Esquivias told Boxingscene.com earlier this week. "I've even looked up to Marquez since when he fought Tim Austin. I became a big fan of his."
"He's a future legend. I prepared myself to fight the best Rafael Marquez, not someone people say has lost a step. That would be dumb of me to think that. I'm preparing to fight Marquez, the best fighter at his peak still."
Esquivias believes he will have an advantage in this fight. A notoriously slow starter, Esquivias believes he did not have a game plan when he fought Ramos and Romero.
He also did not have Dennis Hessner, his longtime trainer since his amateur days, during his fights against Ramos and Romero.
"The trainer I worked during the Ramos and Romero fight didn't give me a voice in camp," said Esquivias, who is promoted by Thompson Boxing. "I felt like I got treated as a little kid. He wanted for me to drop weight his way. It didn't work out so I'm happy to be back with my original trainer."
Esquivias knows what he is up against tonight. He has many decks stacked against him in that he is facing the house fighter, where he is expected to be the opponent for Marquez.
However, he believes that he will surprise people, even those who pick against him.
"What happened with the trainer situation affected me, but it's in the past. I've move on. I know what I have to do against Marquez. We have a plan, something I didn't have against Ramos or Romero."
"If I have to box more, so be it. I'm going to do the best I can and I'm more than motivated to get the victory."
Francisco A. Salazar has written for Boxingscene.com since last September and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. He also covers boxing for the Ventura County (CA) Stat newspaper and for Knockout Nation. He could be reached by email at [email protected] or by twitter at FSalazarBoxing