With victories over Manny Pacquiao under their respective belts, all eyes will be on Juan Manuel Marquez and Timothy Bradley when they do battle at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas on Saturday with Bradley's WBO Welterweight Championship on the line.
Floyd Mayweather may be the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world right now, but Marquez and Bradley certainly aren't far behind. As good as they are, though, there is some concern regarding their ability to draw big pay-per-view numbers.
They aren't going to pull in anything close to Mayweather or Pacquiao, but there is hope that they can still generate some interest.
Even if fighting Pacquiao again would have been a more lucrative venture for Marquez and Bradley, they'll be just fine when they walk away from Saturday's bout. Here is a closer look at the guaranteed purse for both fighters, as well as a breakdown of the contest itself.
Juan Manuel Marquez Purse
Most boxers are breaking down at the age of 40, but that certainly isn't the case when it comes to Marquez. "Dinamita" appears to be better than ever coming off a knockout victory over Pacquiao. Marquez has won five of his past six fights, with the only loss coming via a controversial decision against Pacman in 2011.
Marquez was able to avenge that loss, though, and he has reestablished himself as one of the best in the sport.
Due to Marquez's experience and name recognition, his cut is larger than Bradley's. According to Dan Rafael of ESPN.com, Marquez is guaranteed $6 million regardless of the result, although that number will obviously increase based on who wins, as well as both pay-per-view and gate sales. While $6 million may not seem like much when a guy like Mayweather is pulling down more than $40 million per fight, the likes of Mayweather and Pacquiao have to be graded on a different scale due to their popularity.
From Marquez's perspective, $6 million is pretty solid. He has nothing left to prove against Pacquiao, so it would have been silly to face him again simply for the money.
Marquez has gotten to the point in his career at which he is trying to cement his legacy, and handing Bradley his first loss while becoming a a champion in five different weight classes would help him accomplish that.
Timothy Bradley Purse
Following his win over Pacquiao, Bradley suddenly became one of the sport's most controversial boxers. Bradley wasn't the one who came up with the decision, but most seem to believe that his split-decision win over Pacquiao was a miscarriage of justice.
Even so, Bradley's career record stands at a perfect 30-0 with one no-contest, so he puts plenty on the line each and every time he steps into the ring.
According to Rafael, Bradley's purse for Saturday's bout in $4.1 million in guaranteed money. Considering the fact that Bradley made only $5 million guaranteed when he fought Pacquiao, $4.1 million isn't too shabby.
Bradley is still trying to rebuild his reputation, as most fans feel as though he was given a gift in the Pacquiao fight. With that in mind, Bradley told HBO that his goal is to fight the very best, and Marquez is certainly among them.
"I want to fight the best. I want to be the best fighter in the world. That's the reason why i chose Marquez." - @Timbradleyjr— HBOboxing (@HBOboxing) October 10, 2013
Bradley deserves a lot of credit for the decisions he has made since the Pacquiao fight. He took on Russian brawler Ruslan Provodnikov back in March and scored a big unanimous-decision victory. He proved that he is capable of putting on an exciting bout, and he'll try to do the same against Marquez.
Should Bradley get past the wily veteran, there will be even bigger paydays in his future.
As great as Mayweather is, it is very difficult for fans to believe that anyone can possibly defeat him. What normally ensues is a clinic courtesy of Mayweather, which is great to watch in its own right, but the fights are rarely competitive.
If nothing else, Marquez vs. Bradley is about as evenly matched as a fight can be on paper. Both men have some big wins to their credit, and they have certain qualities that suggest they should be able to get the job done on Saturday.
Fans who want a closely contested fight would be wise to invest in this one.
Who will win on Saturday night?
The result of this fight really comes down to the pace at which it is fought. If Bradley has his way, it will be a methodical fight that places emphasis on defense and timely counterpunching. Marquez usually likes to open things up a bit more, though, which is something Bradley has shown that he is receptive to on occasion.
With Bradley seemingly wanting to increase the entertainment value of his fights, this one could turn into a barnburner, to say the least.
Even though Bradley is 10 years Marquez's junior, it's very difficult to pick against Marquez, based on the way he has been fighting. Bradley may have technically beaten Pacquiao, but Marquez obliterated him and left no doubt. Since neither man has ever been knocked out, it would be a shock if this fight doesn't go the distance.
Maybe Marquez and Bradley don't have the greatest drawing power in the sport, but they'll put on a show, with Marquez scoring a unanimous-decision win.
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