For a sport that touts a perfect balance between aggressive and reactionary fighters, WBO welterweight champion Timothy Bradley must understand that an offensive approach against Juan Manuel Marquez on Saturday will only leave him face down on the mat.
Marquez is well-known in boxing circles as one of the sport's best counter punchers, but the public was awakened to that fact courtesy of the counter punch that recently sent Manny Pacquiao to the mat in December.
What Bradley, known for his incredible stamina and speed, has to understand is he will play right into Marquez's hands if he acts as the aggressor.
Bradley is no fool, but this is a point that must be driven home considering his recent performance in March against the Siberian Ruslan Provodnikov. In the match, Bradley elected to come out aggressive with an ill-advised strategy and was almost knocked out twice in the first two rounds.
While he bounced back to defeat Provodnikov, the wrong strategy against a man like Marquez, who is well on his way to the Hall of Fame, will cost Bradley the match, his title and pride.
Bradley is in no way a slugger, anyway. He has knocked out just 12 of 30 opponents and better relies on the fundamental aspects of boxing, picking and choosing his spots. Add in the fact Marquez has never been knocked out and it's easy to see Bradley must rely on what he does best.
Picking and choosing his spots properly also means effectively finding a way to avoid the elite counter punches of Marquez. This means Bradley must utilize his elite footwork to crowd the man who has knocked out 40 of his 55 opponents in large part thanks to his straight-right counter.
For as exceptional as Marquez's career has been to this point, he struggles with fighters who do not play into his strategy. Floyd Mayweather Jr. used speed and a similar strategy to the one Bradley employs to all but shutout Marquez way back in 2009.
Now 40 years old, Marquez is even more susceptible to Bradley sitting back and picking his spots. Rather than the use of combinations, which gives Marquez something to counter, Bradley must crowd Marquez and quickly hop back out to nullify Marquez's strength.
At 30 years old, Bradley has had an outstanding career but has failed to make it from a popularity standpoint, especially after a controversial spit decision over Pacquiao in June of 2012.
Bradley's typical fighting style actually works against him with fans, as they would much rather watch an offensive display in the ring. Against Marquez, it's what Bradley must rely on for a victory—the fans and popularity will come with a legit win over Marquez regardless of how sexy it is.
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