Boxing

Bradley vs. Marquez: Expert Predictions for Main Event

Jonathan SnowdenCombat Sports Senior WriterOctober 11, 2013

Bradley vs. Marquez: Expert Predictions for Main Event

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    Ethan Miller/Getty Images

    Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez climbed the same peak last year, settling on top of Mount Manny Pacquiao with no other fighter in view—besides one another. It made sense, then, for them to meet, Manny's two conquerors together in the same ring to establish primacy, if not in all of boxing, at least in HBO's boxing fiefdom.

    For hardcore fans it's a very compelling matchup. Marquez's resume speaks for itself. He's beaten superstars like Marco Antonio Barrera and Joel Casamayor and sent Pacquiao's aura of invincibility crashing to the mat with one solid right hand. Even at 40 years of age, there exists no better counterpuncher in the game.

    "You know, Juan Manuel Marquez knows how to fight," said Bradley, according to the Daily Mail. "He's very smart, knows when to fight. With that being said, this will be my toughest fight."

    Added Marquez: "Everybody knows me, I don't like talking outside the ring. I talk inside the ring, I talk with my fists on the ring."

    Bradley doesn't quite have the same curriculum vitae. His best win, of course, is Pacquiao, but it's a victory shrouded in controversy. But whatever good will he lost with that bogus win, he regained tenfold with his courageous performance against Ruslan Provodnikov earlier this year.

    "I've got a win over Pacquiao," Bradley said at Wednesday's final press conference. "If I get a win over Marquez then you can't deny me a place in the Hall of Fame."

    It's a matchup that has split the boxing community. When Marquez has struggled in his career, it's been against slick boxers who made the Mexican powerhouse come to them. If Bradley really does get on his bicycle and box, Floyd Mayweather style, things could get interesting for the underdog quickly.

    Does the older Marquez have what it takes to chase Bradley for 12 rounds? And can Bradley maintain his discipline for the same 36 minutes? Opinions vary.

    Our Bleacher Report experts sound off in the following slides. Whose reasoning seems most valid to you? Let us know in the comments.

Lyle Fitzsimmons

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    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Who Wins the Fight? When and How?

    It's a good matchup. Even partisans in either camp can't claim their man is head-and-shoulders above the other, which should make for a good event and a possibly tight decision.

    Marquez is too precise and too persistent and will eventually get the better of things as the fight goes on. Can't see a one-punch KO happening, but a grinding decision in which he wins either seven or eight rounds? Absolutely.

     

    The Moment We’ll Remember the Most Is...?

    The down-the-stretch sequences when the fight's result is in doubt and each man knows it. Plus, that couple of minutes between the final bell and Michael Buffer's reading of the cards will be tense, given the judging machinations of the last several months.

     

    Whom Will Bradley Fight Next? When and Where?

    With a loss, he gets thrown back into the not-quite-ready-for-PPV-stardom pool, along with the Ruslan Provodnikov-Mike Alvarado loser (and perhaps winner) and Brandon Rios, assuming he doesn't pull an upset over Manny Pacquiao when they get together. I'll put a dollar on it being Rios, on the undercard of Marquez-Pacquiao V back in China in March.

     

    Whom Will Marquez Fight Next? When and Where?

    If he wins big and looks good, maybe a fifth with Pacquiao. Maybe Rios, if he beats Manny. Hard to imagine there'd be anything bigger out there for him, short of a Floyd Mayweather Jr. rematch that exactly no one is clamoring for. With a loss, it's retirement or the same fodder Bradley will choose from if he gets an L.

    The pick here for JMM is a fifth of Pacquiao, as indicated earlier, in Macau come March.

Kelsey McCarson

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    Al Bello/Getty Images

    Who Wins the Fight? When and How?

    Juan Manuel Marquez will defeat Timothy Bradley by unanimous decision. Bradley will use movement early and have his moments, but Marquez will take over during the second half of the fight with smart counterpunching and well-timed combinations.

     

    The Moment We’ll Remember the Most Is...?

    Marquez will stagger Bradley a few times in the middle of the fight. Bradley will amaze everyone by staying on his feet. He's like a weeble. He wobbles, but he won't fall down.

     

    Whom Will Bradley Fight Next? When and Where?

    Bradley will fight a rematch with Ruslan Provodnikov. The bout will be held in Las Vegas at the MGM Grand. It will take place sometime in March.

     

    Whom Will Marquez Fight Next? When and Where?

    Juan Manuel Marquez will respond to the giant truckload of money Bob Arum drives over to his home by accepting a fifth fight with Manny Pacquiao. It will be the most money he's ever made in a prizefight. In a surprise move by Top Rank, the bout will be held in Mexico City on Cinco de Mayo weekend.

Kevin McRae

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    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    Who Wins the Fight? When and How?

    It's tempting to go with conventional wisdom here and pick Juan Manuel Marquez by decision. After all, he's the better-known commodity and has a clear advantage in punching power. But it seems that a lot of people are drastically underrating Timothy Bradley.

    A lot of that has to do with the controversy that surrounded his victory over Manny Pacquiao last year.

    All Bradley was guilty of was fighting, and much of the criticism—as if he had anything to do with the scorecards—was completely unwarranted. He's a tough, hard-nosed fighter who will not be pushed around by anyone. He's looking to make a statement on Saturday, and he will by taking a close unanimous decision from Marquez.

     

    The Moment We'll Remember the Most Is...?

    Marquez comes into the fight with a well-known advantage in punching power, but he has also been down several times in his career. While it would be surprising to see Bradley score a knockdown—"Desert Storm" isn't the biggest puncher—he will land something flush on Marquez in the early rounds that wobbles him and surprises the mostly pro-Mexican crowd.

     

    Whom Will Bradley Fight Next? When and Where?

    Bradley became a lot more marketable after his win over Ruslan Provodnikov earlier this year, and a win over Marquez would bump that score up exponentially. Manny Pacquiao and Freddie Roach both seemed reluctant to seriously consider a rematch with Bradley after last year's debacle. But after this fight—and assuming Pacquiao gets by Brandon Rios—it would be marketable and meaningful. Bradley vs. Pacquiao II would take place next April at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.

     

    Whom Will Marquez Fight Next? When and Where?

    If Marquez loses this fight, it could well prove to be his last. He's been on record in recent months saying that he's not sure if he'll fight again—win or lose—after Saturday night. At 40 years old and with a Hall of Fame spot already secured, he could just ride off into the sunset. It's also entirely possible that he'll take a sort of homecoming final fight in Mexico against a low-level opponent as a swan song.

Jonathan Snowden

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    Jeff Bottari/Getty Images

    Who Wins the Fight? When and How?

    Marquez had a real storybook moment against Pacquiao, the kind of knockout that would have perfectly capped a Hall of Fame career. But there are millions of dollars on the table. Who am I to demand he leave them there for another fighter?

    Instead, Marquez will step into the ring, at the age of 40, against a very good fighter in his prime. Very good, however, is not the same as great. Timothy Bradley, as brave as he was against Ruslan Provodnikov, is not among the sport's elite. Marquez will prove it over 12 long rounds.

    Juan Manuel Marquez wins via decision.

     

    The Moment We’ll Remember the Most Is...?

    He'll maintain his discipline for a couple of rounds. But at some point early in the fight, Bradley won't be able to contain his enthusiasm. He'll stand in the pocket and trade with Marquez—and pay a price when he tastes the legend's power.

     

    Whom Will Bradley Fight Next? When and Where?

    If he wins, it will be time to return, not to the scene of the crime, but to square off with the victim. It will be Bradley-Pacquiao II next year in China.

     

    Whom Will Marquez Fight Next? When and Where?

    I'd like to say this will be Marquez's final fight if he loses. But I'm a realist. So why not the winner of Provodnikov vs. Mike Alvarado?

Brian Mazique

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    Jeff Bottari/Getty Images

    Who Wins the Fight? When and How?

    Bradley wins the fight by close unanimous decision. He has a clear speed advantage, and he has likely learned from his mistakes against Ruslan Provodnikov. He knows he can't slug with Marquez, but he can outbox him.

     

    The Moment We’ll Remember the Most Is...?

    When the final scorecards are read. Fans and the fighters will be wary of a fishy decision.

     

    Whom Will Bradley Fight Next? When and Where?

    If Bradley wins as I predict he will, a rematch with Manny Pacquiao seems like the most logical bout—provided Pacquiao beats Brandon Rios. The fight would represent both men moving on from their previous bout and the aftermath. Since Pacquiao's prospects of fighting in the United States are dim, a return to China seems like a logical location.

     

    Whom Will Marquez Fight Next? When and Where?

    I can see Marquez having one or two more fights against lower-level competition. He's too much of a legend to walk away from the sport on a loss. His farewell tour could begin as early as April of 2014. Perhaps a bout with Jessie Vargas could take place. He is fighting Ray Narh this weekend at the Thomas and Mack Center. A meeting back in Vargas' hometown of Vegas on HBO would be mildly entertaining.

Robert Contreras

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    Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

    Who Wins the Fight? When and How?

    Timothy Bradley can really be a swarmer supreme when he chooses to. But just seven months off from that hellacious firefight he had with Ruslan Provodnikov this past March, “Desert Storm” has stated he’s going into his next fight far more cautiously.

    Unfortunately, this plays right into the hands of Marquez. “Dinamita” has proven to be absolutely impeccable in just about every facet of the fight game, and Bradley will not be able to outbox the boxer in this fight.

    Bradley will have his moments, but Marquez’s otherworldly counterpunching and pristine footwork will run away with the scorecards.

    Marquez wins by unanimous decision.

     

    The Moment We’ll Remember the Most Is...?

    These two men didn’t reach the pinnacle of the most unforgiving sport in the world by performing like some prissy pacifists. So forgive them when the two throw the proverbial boxing textbook out the window and unleash all hell on each other sometime in the middle rounds, sending spectators to their feet amid rabid applause.

     

    Whom Will Bradley Fight Next? When and Where?

    With a loss to Marquez, Bradley’s last three fights will feel more like 0-3 rather than the official 2-1 they will be. No one outside of (bless their hearts) judges Duane Ford and C.J. Ross thought he won his fight with Manny Pacquiao, and the physical repercussions he suffered against Provodnikov weren’t worth the Fight of the Year honor he may, or may not, receive when 2013 comes to a close.

    After a good layoff of about eight or nine months, look for Bradley and his team to do what they haven’t done in half a decade: Pick up an easy win.

    I see him picking off one of the older higher-profile names of the divisions like Shane Mosley or Randall Bailey, presumably in California where he was born and raised and 25 of his 31 bouts have taken place.

     

    Whom Will Marquez Fight Next? When and Where?

    Marquez has earned every right to carry himself triumphantly into the sunset for good. Since he's 40 years old, I hope he does.

    To him, I write:

    Dearest Dinamita,

    Go away.

    For Heaven’s sake, you have nothing else to prove. You’re an immortal walking amongst mere men now. Don’t risk showing us gods can bleed.

Briggs Seekins

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    Victor Decolongon/Getty Images

    Who Wins the Fight? When and How?

    Marquez wins by hard-fought decision. Bradley will force him to become the aggressor, and he'll score solid combinations on Bradley in the later rounds to hurt him and come from behind on the cards.

     

    The Moment We'll Remember the Most Is...?

    The moment we'll remember most will be Marquez staggering Bradley in Round 8 to turn the fight around.

     

    Whom Will Bradley Fight Next? When and Where?

    Bradley's next fight is very likely to be Manny Pacquiao, regardless of if he wins or loses. A good second choice is Ruslan Provodnikov. It will be in Vegas either way.

     

    Whom Will Marquez Fight Next? When and Where?

    Marquez retires after this—even if he wins.

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