Larry Marks said he felt "somewhere between 65 and 70 percent" for his fight at Michael's Eighth Avenue in Glen Burnie last night, but that was still enough to score a fourth-round knockout of Elias Cruz of the Dominican Republic.
Thanks to several last-minute withdrawals by potential opponents, Marks, 32, had not fought since February. But last night, in the co-featured event of a Ballroom Boxing card, he began what he hoped is a trip back to headline status in the boxing world.
"This was just a nice little warmup to get me back into it," Marks said.
Marks (25-7), who is from Alabama but lives in Middletown, Del., usually fights at 154 pounds. He had two title shots in 2001 but he lost by unanimous decisions -- first to Andrew "Six Heads" Lewis and then to Cory Spinks.
"The shots I had, I should have won," Marks said. "But it was just that I wasn't properly trained. I wasn't training the way I am now."
Despite the setbacks and his recent layoff, Marks still has his sights set on a world championship. And he believes he needs only a handful of more fights to prepare.
"I feel it's within reach," Marks said.
Cruz fell to 11-11.
Also on last night's card: Sam Reese, a 175-pounder from Newport News, improved to 17-11-4 with a six-round unanimous decision over Venezuela's Osvaldo Bello (9-7-2); Giorbis Bartholemy (23-7-2) of Florida and Jose B. Spearman (23-8-3) of Indianapolis fought to a majority draw; Baltimore 168-pounder Henry Mayes was successful in his professional debut, scoring a third-round technical knockout of Dowayne Molina (0-6) of West Chester, Penn.; and the lone Washington boxer to fight last night, 160-pounder Ed Graves, fell to 0-5 as a professional, losing a majority decision to Philadelphia's Kareem Robinson (2-0).
Notes: Athens gold medalist Andre Ward will enter into a unique co-promotional deal with Dan Goosen of Goosen-Tutor promotions and former world champion Roy Jones Jr., said Washington-based attorneyJeff Fried, who is friendly with both parties and who brokered the deal along with James Prince, Ward's manager.
Promoting the 20-year-old Ward will be the first major foray into the promotion business for Jones and his promotional company, Square Ring Promotions. Ward will make his professional debut on Dec. 18 in Los Angeles on the undercard of the Antonio Tarver-Glen Johnson fight. First Tarver and then Johnson knocked out Jones in his last two fights, perhaps ending his storied career. Jones will provide analysis for the fight.
Ward, whose gold medal at 178 pounds in Athens was America's first boxing gold since 1996, will make his debut at 160 pounds against an unnamed opponent.