6/9/17

Once upon a time there was A BOXER NAMED MARCUS VASQUEZ


This is a repost from several years ago that most won't have seen. In keeping with the man with the box for Sepia Saturday I give you boxer Marcus Vasquez. All I ever found about him is below.
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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."

UPDATE: I found this image for sale online at a boxing memorabilia site. This shows that Marcus was in an undercard fight on September 9, 1949 at the Hollywood Legion Stadium.

http://www.boxingtreasures.com/19holeboprru.html

I looked up "undercard" and found the following:
The undercard, or preliminary matches (sometimes preliminary card), consists of preliminary bouts that occur before the headline or "main event" of a particular boxing, professional wrestling, horse racing, auto racing, or other sports event. (In auto racing, however, the term "support race" occurs more commonly.) Typically, promoters intend the undercard to provide fans with an opportunity to see up-and-coming fighters or fighters not so well known and popular as their counterparts in the main event. The undercard also ensures that if the main event ends quickly fans will still feel that they received sufficient value for the price of their admission. (SOURCE: Wikipedia)
Marcus, I fear, is lost to history other than this post.
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14 comments:

  1. Apparently Marcus Vasquez did not live up to his potential. Maybe he went on to help train other up-and-coming boxers.

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    1. I'm hoping he opened a small pastry shop.

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  2. So what happened at Jerry's? Oh to have lived in LA in the 40's and 50's. I guess boxing was the road ahead for a few lucky people. Lucky, until the head injuries took their toll.

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    1. A world full of dreamers, criminals, and con artists. We can only hope Marcus came out the other side with all his marbles intact.

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  3. I'm a little confused about the slip of paper which might refer to a murder? Kind of like the strange movie we watched last night - "The Girl On The Train".

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  4. I often think blogs are a way to keep some memories for posterity, though who knows what happens to old blogs. Maybe they do eventually get destroyed. But thanks for sharing the sleuthing that you did, even with such meager results. I particularly like the apron!

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  5. The apron might be a clue that he liked cooking. At 125-130 lbs Marcus Vasquez fought in a less celebrated class, (though for my money more exciting) and maybe over the years he just put on too much weight to continue.

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    1. I'd like to think so, but I'm more inclined that it was a way to emasculate Marcus as a joke. Marcus might not have been a quick thinker and didn't fully understand he was the center of the joke.

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  6. I don't know anything about your fighter or his manager, but judging by his record he was never more than a journeyman and probably ended his career as a trial horse.

    A journeyman is a boxer with enough skill to put up a good fight, but not enough speed, foot work, or skill to be a contender. The best a journeyman can hope for is a tune-up with a contender, a fight to sharpen the skills of his opponent and to pad his record. Think Jerry Quarry who fought and lost to every big name heavy weight in the sixties and seventies.

    A trial horse is a fighter matched against an up and comer. If the up and comer does well, he moves up to bigger and better fights. If he can't beat the trial horse, he becomes one himself.

    Fat City is a great movie for anyone interested in the world of club fights, journeymen, and the trial horse.

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    1. Always wanted to see that movie. I guess TCM puts it on occasionally.

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  7. Well he’s immortalised in a way now that he wouldn’t have been otherwise. I know nothing of boxing, but it fascinates me nevertheless. I just watched a documentary made by a British TV presenter and comedian, about the life of Mohammed Ali, and was completely absorbed by it.

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    1. Ali was always so much more than boxing. He was unique. But I don't understand the love of boxing. It's not something I can sit and watch. I understand the need for being trained to do it in the military, but for fun? Getting hit?

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    2. I've been told my great-grandfather always watched the weekly fight on TV (this must have been in the late 40s...?)

      The so-called sport seems barbaric to me.

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    3. I remember wrestling on tv, but not boxing. I think the first time I was really aware of boxing was the night Cassius Clay fought the first big fight. I was in junior high at a dance class and the teacher was far more interested in listening to the radio than all of us pimply faced klutzes.

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