After finally being able to call himself a champion on the night of October 15th, 2011, current WBC lightweight champion Antonio DeMarco (26-2-1) could have never dreamt that his nearly life long dream would have come true the way it did. Behind on all the cards, DeMarco of Tijuana, Mexico, by of Los Mochis, Sinaloa, stopped a bleeding two-time world champion Jorge Linares of Venezuela in the eleventh round to give DeMarco not only the vacant green and gold belt but one of the most talked about wins of 2011. Now the twenty-six year old is reaping his rewards and enjoys the attention of his fellow Tijuanenses, “”My life has been different and October 15th has been etched in my life forever. When I am driving or I go to places and people wouldn’t really pay me any attention but now people ask me, ‘Are you DeMarco?’ and I tell them I am and they say, “You can’t be, you are too passive, too skinny and to well mannered to be a world champion.’ I am glad that people see me that way. I am how I am inside and outside the ring, I am del barrio like we say here.”
“I hope that God keeps giving me these fruits, these victories because that is what makes the people remember a fighter in a good way and I hope he gives me this humbleness because I want to continue to be the same father, the same son, the same friend and the same fighter. I think that is fundamental to becoming a world champion,” the methodical DeMarco said recently after an early roadwork session.
DeMarco is gearing up for his first defense of the title when he faces the rugged Miguel “Mickey” Roman (37-9, 28KOs) of Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, on Saturday, March 17th, in his hometown of Los Mochis. The scheduled twelve round championship bout will be presented by Baja Boxing in association with Gary Shaw Productions at the Polideportivo Centenario. The main event will be televised live in Mexico by Televisa’s “Sabados de Corona” weekly boxing series.
In the aftermath of his showdown with Linares, DeMarco has had to live with his fallen opponent’s incessant complaints on social networks of the fight being stopped early despite the fact that the Venezuelan was profusely bleeding from three gashes, one over each eye and on the bridge of his nose, and was not able to respond to DeMarco’s attack in that fateful round. Linares has called out DeMarco with less than savory words and has demanded a rematch ever since the all out brawl. Known for his respectful demeanor outside the ring almost as much as for his warrior spirit inside of it, DeMarco is surprised of the ex-champ’s behavior.
“Yes, it has surprised me. It doesn’t anger me but it bothers me in the aspect that this is a beautiful sport and to ruin it with that kind of talk I believe is an act of disrespect, not only towards me but the sport and the many people that love it,” the soft spoken DeMarco stated choosing his words carefully. “I still think that he is a good person because I don’t think there is any fighter that doesn’t have a good heart. All boxers are fighting to make something of themselves. I don’t have anything against him. It does irk me and I think he needs and I am going to be very frank, he needs some humility.”
By chance, DeMarco has had the opportunity to let Linares know personally that he is open to the rematch as long as both fighters came out unscathed in their next corresponding bouts. Linares is set to face Sergio Thompson on March 31st in Cancun, Mexico. “It was in Mexico City when we went to the Televisa studios to film some promos a couple of weeks ago. When I was leaving, he got there. He was also there to record some promos for his fight. We were able to have a short conversation. We didn’t disrespect each other, it is not my style. We spoke well and I wished him luck in his fight and the hopefully we can meet in the future so that he can get rid of those doubts or maybe realize that he lost that night.”
Before that much anticipated rematch can take place, DeMarco must do his part and get past the experienced Roman who has stated that he is no easy fight and is looking to dethrone the southpaw DeMarco in his own back yard. Despite both fighters being the same age, Roman has seventeen more fights that DeMarco. On his way in accumulating a total of forty-six professional bouts, Roman has captured the WBC Youth super bantamweight, Mexican super bantamweight, WBC FECOMBOX super featherweight and the WBC International super featherweight titles. Known for his typical Mexican come forward style and high punch output, DeMarco is more than aware that he will have a tough customer in front of him next Saturday night. Even though DeMarco has been training for the last eight weeks on his conditioning and different strategies, he knows that it will really come down to once he is exchanging punches with Roman to know what will be the key to victory.
“Every fight is different. All of us focus on different strategies in case one doesn’t work. I think that at the end you find out what kind of fight it is going to be once you are facing the opponent in the ring because anything can happen,” DeMarco said of his upcoming bout. “I think that is the best time to decipher how you can fight him, how you can beat him. You learn that best when you are in the ring. We are ready, we are well prepared, we are motivated and we are going to give a good fight. Sometimes I get in trouble with my trainer for giving to good of a show but that is what I like, that the fans leave the fight happy after buying a ticket.”
The fans that night will be more than happy and not only because of the action inside the ring which is sure to break out but because of who is the author of the mayhem inside the squared circle. Having not fought in his hometown except for a four rounder early in his career, DeMarco is over the moon with the thought of returning to the town he left under dire circumstances as a world champion. “It is with out a doubt a blessing from God and I sometimes think and I thank God for choosing me and awarding me with some many things at such a young age, such a short career. To fight in Los Mochis is another dream come true. About twelve, thirteen years ago I left Los Mochis in search of a world title, in search of becoming something in life.”
“Imagine after twelve, thirteen years going back to my hometown where my family is, my friend and all my loved ones and taking the title back and defending it for the first time,” DeMarco said obviously elated at the thought of his pending return. “For me it is very gratifying and I will never forget it. It is going to be fabulous. After all this time of fighting and struggling and to go back to your hometown as a world champion, I think that it is something that not everybody can experience and for that I am very grateful.”
DeMarco has always stressed that he does not like to look past any opponent but when asked, he does not hesitate which fight he would like next.
“It is not only me, we are a team, I have a trainer, a promoter, a manager, I think we can talk about it and we will see what would be best for my future,” DeMarco said. “If in those plans going up to 140lbs. fits and to face a great fighter like Brandon Rios, we would accept it whether it would be at lightweight or super lightweight.”