Rafael Márquez Méndez (born 25 March 1975) is a Mexican former professional boxer who competed from 1995 to 2013. He is a two-time world champion in two weight classes, having held the IBF bantamweight title from 2003 to 2007; and the WBC, Ring magazine, and lineal super bantamweight titles in 2007. He also held the IBO bantamweight title from 2005 to 2007, and challenged once for WBO featherweight title in 2011. Rafael's older brother Juan Manuel Márquez is also a professional boxer and multiple-time world champion.
Márquez began his professional boxing career with an eighth-round knockout loss to former WBC Bantamweight champion Victor Rabanales.
He gained recognition by defeating two division world champion Mark Johnson (40-1-0) by a split decision. In a rematch, Márquez knocked out Johnson in the eighth round in an IBF bantamweight title eliminator bout.
On February 15, 2003, he came from behind to knock out Tim Austin (25-0-1) to claim the IBF Bantamweight title, in what was considered to be a big upset. Márquez went on to successfully defend his title seven times. His notable title defenses were two victories over former light flyweight champion Mauricio Pastrana, a decision win over Ricardo Vargas and two knockout victories over former as well as future IBO Bantamweight champion Silence Mabuza, whom he defeated for the second time on August 5, 2006 in his final defense.
Márquez moved up a weight division to challenge and defeat WBC and lineal super bantamweight champion Israel Vázquez in seven rounds. However, in a rematch in July 2007, Márquez lost his title after being defeated by Vázquez in the sixth round when the referee stopped the fight. The rematch was named the 2007 fight of the year. In the rubber match of their trilogy, Rafael lost a split decision, with scores of 113-112 and 114-111 to Vázquez, with one judge seeing it 114-111 for Márquez. Márquez may not have lost this bout if not for a point deduction for a low blow in the tenth round. Marquez and promoter Gary Shaw claimed that this hit was on the belt line and should not have elicited any deductions. Márquez was able to knock Vázquez down for the first time in the trilogy in this third fight, but Vázquez in turn put Márquez down in the final seconds of the 12th round, securing the victory and giving Márquez his fifth defeat.
Márquez was ranked number three in The Ring magazine's pound-for-pound rankings. and ranked as the Ring Magazine's number one Bantamweight boxer. He later became the top ranked boxer in the Super Bantamweight division before his loss to Vázquez.
Márquez was inactive for over a year as he recuperated from the trilogy with Vázquez. On May 23, 2009, he returned to the ring by scoring a 3rd-round TKO over José Francisco Mendoza (21-2-2) in the featherweight division.
In the first week of May 2010, Márquez announced his 4th and final match with Israel Vásquez. After three epic battles, Vázquez and Márquez fought for a fourth time on May 22, 2010 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. The bout was appropriately titled "Once and Four All" and carried live by Showtime. Márquez scored a third-round TKO victory over Vázquez to even their series at two wins each. Afterwards, Márquez stated; "The fifth one could be a possibility if the fans vote for it. That is what I live for. Israel Vásquez is a great fighter."
In his next fight, he was scheduled to challenge undefeated WBO Featherweight champion Juan Manuel Lopez on September 18, 2010, however, the fight had to be postponed by several weeks when Márquez suffered a thumb injury which prevented him from training. Márquez would ultimately lose the bout by 8th-round TKO after he was unable to continue due to a shoulder injury. After the fight, Márquez said that he had chosen to proceed with the bout despite a right shoulder injury suffered before the contest because he did not wish to cause a second delay. According to Márquez, he re-aggravated that injury in the third round during a flurry of punches. He also expressed his eagerness to face Lopez in a rematch. It was later revealed that Márquez had suffered a hairline fracture in his right shoulder blade during the fight and would require 6 months to recover from the injury.
Return to Super Bantamweight
On 16 July 2011, Márquez made his comeback in Cancún on the same card as his brother, Juan Manuel, against Eduardo Becerril. Both fights were tune-ups and the younger Márquez brother comfortably dealt with his opponent, knocking him down once on the way to a 6th-round TKO.
Márquez fought against WBC Super Bantamweight champion Toshiaki Nishioka on 1 October at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Marquez lost by unanimous decision.
Professional boxing record
|Professional record summary|
|50 fights||41 wins||9 losses|
|50||Loss||41–9||Efrain Esquivias||KO||9 (12), 0:19||Sep 7, 2013||Fantasy Springs Resort Casino, Indio, California, U.S.|
|49||Loss||41–8||Cristian Mijares||TKO||9 (12), 1:59||Oct 27, 2012||Mexico City Arena, Mexico City, Mexico|
|48||Win||41–7||Eric Aiken||KO||1 (10), 2:26||May 5, 2012||Auditorio Municipal, Tijuana, Mexico|
|47||Loss||40–7||Toshiaki Nishioka||UD||12||Oct 1, 2011||MGM Grand Marquee Ballroom, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.||For WBC super bantamweight title|
|46||Win||40–6||Eduardo Becerril||RTD||6 (10), 0:10||Jul 16, 2011||Plaza de Toros, Cancún, Mexico|
|45||Loss||39–6||Juan Manuel López||RTD||8 (12), 3:00||Nov 6, 2010||MGM Grand Garden Arena, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.||For WBO featherweight title|
|44||Win||39–5||Israel Vázquez||KO||3 (12), 1:33||May 22, 2010||Staples Center, Los Angeles, California, U.S.||Won vacant WBC Silver featherweight title|
|43||Win||38–5||Jose Francisco Mendoza||TKO||3 (10), 2:26||May 23, 2009||Monterrey Arena, Monterrey, Mexico|
|42||Loss||37–5||Israel Vázquez||SD||12 (12)||Mar 1, 2008||Home Depot Center, Carson, California, U.S.||For WBC, The Ring, and lineal super bantamweight titles|
|41||Loss||37–4||Israel Vázquez||TKO||6 (12), 1:16||Aug 4, 2007||Dodge Arena, Hidalgo, Texas, U.S.||Lost WBC, The Ring, and lineal super bantamweight titles|
|40||Win||37–3||Israel Vázquez||RTD||7 (12), 3:00||Mar 3, 2007||Home Depot Center, Carson, California, U.S.||Won WBC, vacant The Ring and lineal super bantamweight titles|
|39||Win||36–3||Silence Mabuza||RTD||9 (12), 3:00||Aug 5, 2006||MontBleu, Stateline, Nevada, U.S.||Retained IBF and IBO bantamweight titles|
|38||Win||35–3||Silence Mabuza||TKO||4 (12), 2:08||Nov 5, 2005||Caesars Tahoe, Stateline, Nevada, U.S.||Retained IBF bantamweight title;
Won IBO bantamweight title
|37||Win||34–3||Ricardo Vargas||UD||12||May 28, 2005||Staples Center, Los Angeles, California, U.S.||Retained IBF bantamweight title|
|36||Win||33–3||Mauricio Pastrana||TKO||8 (12), 3:00||Nov 27, 2004||MGM Grand Garden Arena, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.||Retained IBF bantamweight title|
|35||Win||32–3||Heriberto Ruiz||KO||3 (12), 2:11||Jul 31, 2004||MGM Grand Garden Arena, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.||Retained IBF bantamweight title|
|34||Win||31–3||Peter Frissina||TKO||2 (12), 2:00||Jan 31, 2004||Dodge Theatre, Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.||Retained IBF bantamweight title|
|33||Win||30–3||Mauricio Pastrana||UD||12||Oct 4, 2003||Staples Center, Los Angeles, California, U.S.||Retained IBF bantamweight title|
|32||Win||29–3||Tim Austin||TKO||8 (12), 2:20||Feb 15, 2003||Caesars Palace, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.||Won IBF bantamweight title|
|31||Win||28–3||Jorge Otero||RTD||6 (10), 0:10||Jul 12, 2002||La Villa Real Convention Center, McAllen, Texas, U.S.|
|30||Win||27–3||Mark Johnson||TKO||8 (12), 2:41||Feb 23, 2002||Mandalay Bay Events Center, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.||Won vacant USBA bantamweight title|
|29||Win||26–3||Mark Johnson||SD||10||Oct 6, 2001||Memorial Coliseum, Corpus Christi, Texas, U.S.|
|28||Win||25–3||Gerardo Espinoza||TKO||4 (12)||Jul 6, 2001||Jai Alai Frontón Palacios, Tijuana, Mexico||Won vacant WBA Fedecentro bantamweight title|
|27||Win||24–3||Miguel Ochoa||TKO||2 (10)||Jun 1, 2001||Poliforum Zamna, Mérida, Mexico|
|26||Win||23–3||Jovy Chan||KO||3 (8), 1:05||Apr 1, 2001||Peppermill, Reno, Nevada, U.S.|
|25||Win||22–3||Aquiles Guzman||RTD||7 (12), 0:10||Dec 16, 2000||Forum Bicentenario, Maracay, Venezuela||Won vacant WBA Fedelatin bantamweight title|
|24||Loss||21–3||Genaro Garcia||KO||2 (10), 1:36||Nov 12, 2000||Regency Hotel, Denver, Colorado, U.S.|
|23||Win||21–2||Tomas Rivera||KO||2 (10), 1:12||Aug 20, 2000||Convention Center, Tucson, Arizona, U.S.|
|22||Win||20–2||Arturo Estrada||TKO||2 (10)||Jun 23, 2000||Poliforum Zamna, Mérida, Mexico|
|21||Win||19–2||Ricardo Barrera||TKO||1 (10)||Apr 14, 2000||Poliforum Zamna, Mérida, Mexico|
|20||Win||18–2||Adrian Cristian Ochoa||TKO||4 (10), 0:47||Aug 23, 1999||Great Western Forum, Inglewood, U.S.|
|19||Win||17–2||Angel Almena||KO||1 (10), 2:53||May 10, 1999||Great Western Forum, Inglewood, U.S.|
|18||Win||16–2||Jose Guadalupe Gastelum||RTD||6 (10), 3:00||Mar 8, 1999||Arrowhead Pond, Anaheim, California, U.S.|
|17||Win||15–2||Ricardo Barrera||KO||1||Oct 24, 1998||Tropicana, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.|
|16||Win||14–2||Dario Diaz||TKO||2||Aug 22, 1998||Tropicana, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.|
|15||Win||13–2||Ivan Salazar||KO||3 (8), 1:04||Jun 20, 1998||Tropicana, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.|
|14||Loss||12–2||Francisco Mateos||TKO||3 (10)||May 2, 1998||Arena Coliseo, Mexico City, Mexico|
|13||Win||12–1||Beldevear Meza||KO||3||Apr 6, 1998||Arrowhead Pond, Anaheim, California, U.S.|
|12||Win||11–1||Jose Felipe Garcia||TKO||1||Mar 4, 1998||Arena Coliseo, Mexico City, Mexico|
|11||Win||10–1||Julian Mujica||TKO||1||Jan 24, 1998||Arena Coliseo, Mexico City, Mexico|
|10||Win||9–1||Evaristo Primero||TKO||4 (6), 1:06||Oct 22, 1997||Tropicana Las Vegas, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.|
|9||Win||8–1||Jose Guillermo Sanchez||TKO||3 (4)||Sep 27, 1997||Caesars Tahoe, Stateline, Nevada, U.S.|
|8||Win||7–1||Gabriel Tinajero||KO||2 (6)||Jul 14, 1997||Great Western Forum, Inglewood, California, U.S.|
|7||Win||6–1||Juan Mendoza||UD||6||Apr 21, 1997||Great Western Forum, Inglewood, California, U.S.|
|6||Win||5–1||Oscar Zamora||KO||2||Dec 9, 1996||Great Western Forum, Inglewood, California, U.S.|
|5||Win||4–1||Robert Enriquez||KO||4||Oct 28, 1996||Great Western Forum, Inglewood, California, U.S.|
|4||Win||3–1||Mucio Castillo||TKO||1||May 15, 1996||Mexico City, Mexico|
|3||Win||2–1||Sergio Lopez||TKO||2||Mar 27, 1996||Mexico City, Mexico|
|2||Win||1–1||Jose Godinez||TKO||2||Mar 3, 1996||Mexico City, Mexico|
|1||Loss||0–1||Victor Rabanales||KO||8||Sep 14, 1995||Campeche City, Mexico||Professional debut|
Outside the ring
He was recently in a car accident in Cuernavaca, Mexico. He was on his way to the airport in Mexico City to go to New York to receive the award for fight of the year, where he fought Israel Vázquez.
He made his appearance on Fight Night Round 2 Launced in 2005.