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Leo Santa Cruz vs Rafael Marquez could happen this fall

Santa Cruz and Marquez, both with Golden Boy, are slated for fights in the near future, and if both come away winners, there could be a bout later this year pitting the rising young star against the veteran.

Jeff Bottari
Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

When Rafael Marquez signed with Golden Boy Promotions recently, one of the first things that popped into my head was that Marquez, at 38 and faded since his better days, could be just the right type of guy to feed to younger fighters on the rise. Richard Schaefer apparently is thinking the same, because he's a genius like me, and reports that there's a chance we'll see Marquez face Leo Santa Cruz later this year.

"The first fight back will be a get the rust off kind of fight, a stay sharp kind of fight. If that all goes well, I can definitely see him fighting Leo Santa Cruz, assuming he wins his fight [with Terrazas]. And that's a fight that I would target that for sometime in November, December. Rafael said that's what he would like to do and that's another barnburner."

You know, it's obvious that GBP would like to feed Marquez (41-8, 37 KO) to Santa Cruz in this scenario, but it's not like Schaefer is making up lies here. If Marquez looks good on September 6 against Efrain Esquivias (no guarantee, honestly), and Santa Cruz picks up the WBC 122-pound title from Victor Terrazas on August 24 (no guarantee, honestly), then it's a perfectly OK fight. It's the exact type of fight we've seen forever and will see forevermore. Rising star vs battle-tested vet.

And for however long it lasts, it probably would be a good fight. Marquez ain't what he used to be, but he is still in good fights. The guy can't have a bad fight. He's a long way from the guy who had a dominant run at bantamweight and then engaged in three classics with Israel Vazquez, but he's still a pretty decent fighter, and it's hard to say if he's really any step down from the fighters Santa Cruz (24-0-1, 14 KO) has been beating. We'll know more after September 6, and we'll see then if it's an idea worth everyone's time.

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