Boxing fans should take notice. Two elite, professional fighters are set to do battle this weekend.
Juan Manuel Marquez (55-6, 40 KO) will challenge WBO welterweight champion Timothy Bradley (30-0, 12 KO) on Saturday night at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas. Bradley is making his second defense of the title he captured from Manny Pacquiao in June 2012 after a controversial split decision.
He gutted out a win over tough Russian Ruslan Provodnikov in March and he’s looking to earn a win over a living legend.
The punch that Marquez landed on Pacquiao in December is the most impacting in-ring event in the past five years. Marquez returns to the ring looking to add to his legendary achievements.
If you love boxing, you need to see this fight. Here’s how you can watch.
The Book on Marquez
Marquez has nothing left to prove. Nothing that happens in the ring for the rest of his career can taint his legacy. He’s headed to the Hall of Fame having mounted a sparkling record, a 64 percent KO rate and an emphatic win over another legend.
Beating Bradley would just be gravy.
Some fighters continue to fight for the love of the sport, fame, money, respect, validation or all of the above. In Marquez’s case, it has to be the first three options. He obviously loves his craft, but he can’t mind the increased paydays either.
For his last fight with Pacquiao, Marquez was guaranteed $3 million, per Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports. The details of the purse for the Bradley fight haven’t been published yet. While it isn’t likely to be as high as $3 million, you can bet it is more than what Marquez was making before he left Pacquiao lying face down in the ring.
If you’re Marquez, win or lose, life is good.
The Book on Bradley
Still Looking for Redemption?
Both men scored big wins over Pacquiao, but the fallout was very different. Marquez’s win made him a legitimate legend and certain Hall of Famer.
Bradley’s controversial split decision over Pacquiao in June 2012 earned him the WBO welterweight title. However, because the decision is widely viewed as unjust, Bradley has never received the credit he deserves as an undefeated champion.
In fact, he and his family were ridiculed and harassed behind the decision, per Damian Calhoun of the Orange County Register. Bradley’s win over Provodnikov was a struggle primarily because the champion elected to fight the slugging Siberian toe-to-toe.
He wanted to prove his mettle, but in the process he underestimated Provodnikov and was nearly stopped on multiple occasions in the fight.
While he took unnecessary damage, he did win over some fans with his show of toughness. Was it a smart gamble? Not at all. Sometimes the quest for public approval can put you in harm’s way. This was one of those times.
Marquez In the Ring
If there is a better counterpuncher in the sport, I’ve missed his entire career. Marquez’s excellent timing, instincts and chin make him a deadly counterpuncher. Just ask Pacquiao.
Biggest Weakness—Lack of Speed
Swift fighters who box and stay away from Marquez give him issues. Floyd Mayweather Jr.’s speed and instincts led to a near shutout of Marquez in 2009. Chris John also used a speed advantage to outbox Marquez in 2006 and speed is also the edge Pacquaio held over his rival.
The Fight Will Be Going Bad for Marquez if…
Bradley doesn’t trade with him. Marquez needs his opponents to come at him with combinations to give him something to counter. If Bradley doesn’t give Marquez these opportunities, it could be a frustrating night for the Mexican legend.
Bradley in the Ring
Bradley looks as if his torso were manufactured in a factory. He’s always in tip-top shape and he has excellent stamina. To employ the smartest strategy against Marquez, he’ll need a strong wind.
Biggest Weakness —Lack of Punching Power
Desert Storm has above-average quickness and great punching accuracy, but he doesn’t pack a wallop. He has just 12 KOs in his career and he’s more of a natural junior welterweight. If he hasn’t punched hard enough to accumulate more KOs against fighters at 140 pounds, he probably doesn’t stand much of a chance in stopping Marquez.
The Fight Will Be Going Bad for Bradley if…
He’s slugging with Marquez. For all the aforementioned reasons, this is a fight Bradley simply can’t win if he fights the way he did in the first two rounds of the Provodnikov bout.
I believe Bradley has learned his lesson. He will not attempt to bang with Marquez. Instead, he’ll show his superior boxing abilities and out-point Marquez in an entertaining bout. Marquez is too good to be completely dismantled, but Bradley’s chin and toughness will keep him afloat and he will win more rounds.
I've got Bradley by close unanimous decision.
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