You'd think that starting with "Once upon a time..." I'd have a fairytale to tell. No, just an old picture of a lightweight boxer named Marcus Vasquez wearing an apron. Seriously, I have no idea what is going on or how this photo eventually ended up in my hands.
"To a Swell Kid Marcus Vasquez.
From your manager Ben Marcus"
Marcus Vasquez appears to have fought his first professional bout on Dec. 21, 1948 against Cadilla Clemmons at the Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles. He won the fight. From then on he fought around Southern California, up to San Jose on March 22, 1949, over to Arizona for several fights, even down to Chihuahua, Mexico on Feb. 8, 1950; he lost that fight to Al Lopez.
According to the online information I've found, Marcus had 17 wins, 19 losses, and 7 draws with a total of 197 rounds fought. The last fight listed was on July 7, 1952 to Maxie Docusen in San Antonio, Texas. Marcus lost and is listed as TKO.
So, was this the end of Marcus Vasquez as a fighter? I cannot find any other information about him.
As to the fellow on the left, his manager, Ben Marcus, I cannot find anything about him other than he worked in the Los Angeles area.
I don't know, but my mind spins when I look at this shot with the inscription and I'm sucked into the world of Raymond Chandler and this little scrap of paper is evidence in a murder. I can't say truthfully anything one way or the other. It is what it is and it will forever be a mystery unless some person with knowledge of the world of boxing in Los Angeles in the late '40s to early '50s steps forward to fill in the missing pieces to the story.
For now, I'm riding in my old Buick on a warm summer night along Sunset, hoping I can run a few red lights without getting caught as I try to make my way to a mysterious meeting in Los Feliz. It began with this photo stuffed inside my morning paper with a note that read, "9:40, Jerry's, Los Feliz. Come alone."