By Miguel Rivera
At one point he was being pushed as the next boxing superstar from Puerto Rico, but now Fekix Verdejo is just trying to rebuild his damaged career.
Ricky Marquez, the manager and head trainer of Verdejo, is well aware that they have had some very difficult months. But they are also confident that they can reverse the facts, and place themselves in the position they have so longed for: to get on track to a world title.
Verdejo will return to the ring on November 10 to face Yardley Armenta Cruz, a boxer who in 2016 was knocked out in two rounds by the super featherweight "regular" champion of the World Boxing Association (WBA) Alberto "El Explosivo" Machado.
"It was a difficult few months. And I think they were more difficult for me than for Felix himself. I am more sensitive than him," said Márquez to Carlos Narvaez.
"But they have also been positive and hopeful months. I hope that on November 10 the waters begin to reach their level. Felix once touched the doors of a world title. But I hope he does not touch the doors anymore but that he knocks them down and places himself in the position we all hope for."
In 2017, Verdejo (23-1, 15 KOs) was in line for a mandatory world title at then WBO lightweight champion Terry Flanagan. But, Verdejo was involved in a motorbike accident and that put his career on the shelf.
He also had some lackluster performances and suffered his first career defeat, by knockout, earlier this year to Antonio Lozada.
After the loss, Márquez has made some adjustments to the team - such as the inclusion of veteran coach Evangelista Cotto, a veteran of boxing who took several fighters to titles, like his nephew and five time world champion Miguel Cotto. He also added strength and conditioning guru Memo Heredia.
"For me (the most difficult part) was trying to control certain sectors. The fans were a bit hard with him (Felix) and with me. But with everything, it is a process of learning and experience," added Márquez.
"We have worked a lot in sparring, to look for that precision in the punches. The addition of Evangelista to the group adds a lot. He is a very serious person who helped us in different areas. Heredia has been involved in the work of power and explosiveness. I am hopeful that the public can witness the great work that's been done.
"Felix is ??aware that the public is the boss and they are the ones who pay for a show - and that is why he is working hard to deliver results. I hope to have a quick and explosive Felix in the ring..... aggressive and not passive. We want to win and ensure that his people are happy with him again."