Michael Rosenthal

Here’s to Marquez’s unusual habit

LAS VEGAS – If Juan Manuel Marquez can beat Floyd Mayweather Jr. here on Saturday, he’ll be the toast of Mexico. For now, though, he might be best known for his urine.

Marquez revealed on HBO’s reality show 24/7 that he drinks his urine as part of his training regimen, even drinking it on camera. And this was no stunt. It seems Aztec warriors drank their own urine for its nutrients and he is a bona fide Aztec warrior.

“I never like to do it,” he said, sitting on the edge of the ring in which he will do battle with Floyd Mayweather on Saturday at the MGM Grand. “I have to do it. And it’s free for you guys too; your own body produces it.”

Marquez says he drinks it twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. Someone asked him what it tastes like.

“In the morning, it has no taste,” he said in matter-of-fact manner as onlookers winced. “In the night, it’s a little strong.”

Another reporter said a doctor told him that drinking urine has no nutritional value whatsoever. Marquez, obviously dedicated to urine, was unfazed.

“They always say it’s no good because they’ll lose their job,” he said with a big grin.

His wife might not be as enthusiastic about his unusual habit if what he says is true.

“I kiss my wife after I drink it,” he said.

He was laughing when he said, though. He’s not that weird.

Long journey: Marquez, 36 and a pro since 1993, languished many years in the shadows of fellow Mexicans Erik Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera when he fought for promoter Bob Arum, fighting in relative obscurity and modest paydays in spite of his unusual ability.

How things have changed.

Since leaving Arum and signing with Golden Boy Promotions, and with the careers of Morales and Barrera apparently over, Marquez has fought in one big fight after the other and finds himself in the biggest –- and most-lucrative -– fight of life on Saturday.

He fought Barrera, Rocky Juarez, Manny Pacquiao, Joel Casamayor, Juan Diaz and now Mayweather in succession. That’s a Murderers Row of consecutive opponents. Marquez beat all of them except Pacquiao, although many believe he also won that fight.

“I feel very happy because my life has changed,” Marquez said. “When I signed with Golden Boy Promotions, they give me great fights, great opponents. I feel very happy. … Everybody knows, with my other promoter, for five years I was tied. Erik Morales was his favorite fighter. When I finished my contract with Bob Arum, I go with Golden Boy.”

And if he wins? He could join his favorite fighter, Julio Cesar Chavez, as an idol in his country.

“It’s a wonderful thing,” he said, referring to the possibility of a victory. “The people, the Mexican people, all the time support me. The Mexican people in L.A., in the U.S. all the time support me. The people will go crazy if I win this fight.

“Everyone will go crazy.”

Marquez will make a minimum of $4 million for Saturday’s fight, by far the biggest payday of his career.

Pay-per-view optimism: Mark Taffet, HBO’s pay-per-view guru, believes strongly that Mayweather-Marquez will do big numbers because the fighters appeal to those in strong boxing markets.

“The two most-responsive market segments in the U.S., when it comes to pay per view, is the Latino market and the African-American fans in the urban market,” he said. “These are two huge bases of support for the sport of boxing. And we have the No. 1 fighter in each of those markets fighting on Saturday night.

“It’s a classic one plus one equaling at least three.”

Mayweather, who likes to call himself the king of pay per view, has done big numbers only when his opponents were named De La Hoya or Hatton. In 2007, his fights generated a record 2.4 million against Oscar De La Hoya and 920,000 against Ricky Hatton.

Other than those fights, Mayweather fell into the 300,000-400,000 range, which is respectable but nothing special.

“We see in HBO viewership that African-American and Hispanic households always over-index when it comes to viewing pay per view,” Taffet said. “Mayweather turned on that market segment like never before when he went to pay per view.

“De La Hoya-Mayweather did 2.4 million buys -– a million more than De La Hoya’s second-biggest fight.”

Interestingly, Manny Pacquiao also has done well on pay-per-view only against De La Hoya (1.25 million) and Hatton (850,000). His other fights also did 300,000-400,000.

De La Hoya’s appeal in the U.S. is obvious. He did huge numbers in the Hispanic community and crossed over to other markets. But Hatton?

“Ricky Hatton’s appeal seems to have been universal,” Taffet said of the Briton. “His persona, his character, the way he fights, the way he presents himself seems to appeal to every Tom, Dick and Harry as well as whatever names are popular in the UK.”

Michael Rosenthal can be reached at RingTVeditor@yahoo.com

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