Both Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez scored the biggest wins of their respective careers against the great Manny Pacquiao. It's safe to say it was a remarkably different experience for each man.
For Bradley, what should have been a career-defining moment in June 2012, the kind of win a fighter dreams about, quickly devolved into a nightmare. Of the millions who watched his bout with Pacquiao, it seemed only three people in the world saw it for Bradley—two of the ringside judges and, at least in public, the fighter himself.
Like that, a joyous occasion turned ugly. Death threats followed. Worse were the thoughts of suicide and a deep, dark depression that haunted Bradley for months. When he returned, it was in a slugfest with Ruslan Provodnikov, a desperate, dangerous and glorious fight designed to bring him back into fans' good graces. He walked away the winner but paid a horrible price.
For Marquez, it was the capstone of a Hall of Fame career. Three times, at least according to the judges, if not public sentiment, Marquez had come up short against Pacquiao. The fourth time, however, was the charm.
Marquez allowed none of the doubts that plagued the Bradley fight to creep into his own victory. A right cross with a single second remaining in the sixth round allowed no ambiguity. Pacquiao wasn't beaten in a narrow decision. He was face-first on the canvas.
Now Manny's conquerors will do battle themselves Saturday night in Las Vegas. For Bradley, it's a chance to prove he's no fluke. For Marquez, there is nothing left to prove. At 40, he's fighting for pride and money alone. His legacy has long been secure.
How do they match up? Who will win? How can you see the fight? Join me on this journey and we'll explore these things and more. It's everything you need to know to really make the most out of the night.
The Ruslan Provodnikov fight was scary for Timothy Bradley. Not so much in the moment, when he was clearly willing to go out on his shield in pursuit of an exciting action fight, but in the aftermath. His speech slurred and he was just "off" for months.
When I talked to him last week, Bradley was articulate and sharp, back to his old self and a bit wiser for the experience. He's pushed the experience out of his head—you have to, he says, to continue in the sport.
"I don't really think about that," he told HBO's Max Kellerman in a revealing Face Off interview. "Boxing is the hurt business. You have to deal with the consequences later. I'm willing to go into the devil's mouth and do what I have to do, or even dive into the deepest part of the ocean if need be to win. I'll deal with the consequences later."
Against Juan Manuel Marquez, Bradley pledges to fight a smarter fight. He had something to prove against Provodnikov—both to his critics and himself. He's gotten it out of his system and is prepared to out-slick and outbox his hard-punching foe.
For his part, Marquez isn't buying it.
"He's looking for the fight too," Marquez told Kellerman. "...He likes to fight. I like to fight....his style and my style make a great fight."
Odds (via Las Vegas Insider)
Timothy Bradley: +130
Juan Manuel Marquez: -150
You can't help but be impressed by Bradley's courage. He took everything Provodnikov had and kept coming. Rather than clinching and holding on, he responded to trouble with both fists. It was inspiring and more than just a little insane.
The problem? Ruslan Provodnikov is not Juan Manuel Marquez. Very few fighters are. Even if Bradley is able to maintain discipline, Marquez will track him down and force him to fight. He's done it time and time again, and against better fighters than Bradley.
Juan Manuel Marquez via decision
Tuesday, October 8
Grand Arrivals: Open to the Public
South Valet Entrance at Wynn Las Vegas
- 12:30 p.m. PT Tim Bradley
- 1 p.m. PT Juan Manuel Márquez
Friday, October 11
Official Weigh-in: Open to the Public
Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas
- 2:30 p.m. PT Undercard Weigh-In Begins
- 3:10 p.m. PT Bradley and Márquez on the Scale
Saturday, October 12
Fight Night (Thomas and Mack Center, Las Vegas)
Remaining tickets to Bradley vs. Márquez—priced at $800, $600, $400, $300, $200, $100 and $50—can be purchased at the Thomas & Mack Center Box Office, online at UNLVtickets.com, at UNLVtickets Outlet Town Square Las Vegas Concierge or by calling 702-739-FANS (3267).
Television (9 p.m. ET)
Orlando Salido vs. Orlando Cruz
Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Jose Ramirez
Seanie Monaghan vs. Anthony Caputo Smith
Additional Undercard (streaming on Top Rank TV at 6:45 p.m. ET)
Brad Solomon vs. Kenny Abril
Mikael Zewski vs. Alberto Herrera