By Miguel Rivera
Ricky Marquez, trainer and manager of Puerto Rican lightweight contender Felix "El Diamante" Verdejo, is confident that his boxer will return even stronger from last weekend's upset loss.
Verdejo (23-1, 15 KO's) took a major hit last Saturday night at Madison Square Garden in New York, when he was stopped in the tenth and final round by hard-hitting Antonio Lozada Jr. of Mexico.
A victory in that contest would have likely punched Verdejo's ticket to a showdown with the current 135-pound champion of the World Boxing Organization (WBO), Raymundo Beltrán.
Verdejo was dropped in the round and then found himself taking punishment until the ringside doctor signaled to the referee to stop the contest.
"There are no excuses for those who get up from failing in the search for victory," said Marquez to Jose Bartomlomei. "Only those who intend to go forward without fear of failure will one day succeed, I remain proud of Felix Verdejo.
"Because the warrior who goes down while fighting for his dreams does not have to be ashamed ever. Felix lost with a lot of gallantry before. Lozada deserves all our respect."
However, Márquez is worried about the physical condition of the 23 years old.
"We only need to see why his body did not respond after the weigh-in. He had such good physical conditioning thanks to the work of physical trainer Cruz Manuel 'Pensa' Garcia, sports psychologist, Manuel Rios Rigau... and also his discipline and dedication," Marquez added.
"Without excuses nor pretexts we will go back to the lab to see what happened, and there we will use all of available resources to learn from this bitter drink, grow and emerge stronger."
At the time of the stoppage, the official judges had Verdejo in front with scorecards of 86-85, 87-84, and one saw Lozada winning with a score of 86-85. Verdejo was returning from an inactivity stint of 13 months.