Juan Manuel Marquez Must Leave Comfort Zone to Defeat Timothy Bradley

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistOctober 12, 2013

Dec 8, 2012; Las Vegas, NV, USA;  Juan Manuel Marquez after knocking out Manny Pacquiao (not pictured) during their welterweight bout at the MGM Grand Arena.  Juan Manuel Marquez won by knockout in the sixth round. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

As one of boxing's best counterpunchers at the age of 40, Juan Manuel Marquez must look to neglect what he does best in order to notch a win over Timothy Bradley.

Marquez is at his best when he can sit back and avoid combos before throwing his devastating straight-right counter that has allowed him to knock out 40 of his 55 opponents.

Unfortunately for Marquez, he only thrives when his opponent plays into this strategy. Even worse for the Mexican legend, Bradley is smart enough to avoid taking an offensive approach on Saturday thanks to the happenings in his last bout.

Last March against the Siberian Ruslan Provodnikov, Bradley clearly felt he had something to prove after many fans chastised him for a controversial split-decision win over Manny Pacquiao in June of 2012.

Right off the bat Bradley took an offensive approach and was nearly knocked out twice in the opening two rounds. He settled down and got back to his smart game of picking and choosing his spots to pull out the victory, but it was a lesson learned for the younger Bradley, who has knocked out just 12 of 30 opponents.

Bradley won't make the same mistake again.

The lesson learned is Marquez's issue. Bradley received a reality check. He's not a slugger, and won't employ the approach no matter how desperately he wants to defend his WBO welterweight championship and win back the fans.

Marquez is not exactly a slugger either. He was humbled by Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2009 after he took an offensive approach and was picked apart by the best in the business. Bradley's style is difficult to describe, but he enjoys most of his success when he reacts in the same vein as Mayweather, not acting.

The good news is Bradley is no Mayweather from a technical standpoint and won't be able to evade an onslaught in a crowded space from Marquez.

Even at his age, Marquez has the power to down Bradley in a brawl. His conventional approach of reacting won't get a win here unless Bradley truly goes off the deep end in his quest for a dominant victory.

Bradley is accustomed to going the distance, but Marquez has enough left in the tank from a talent standpoint to out-gun him. It goes against what Marquez enjoys, but a standard fight where both fight the same style swings in Bradley's favor courtesy of his superior endurance.

For Marquez, abandoning his comfort zone to counter Bradley's style is no abandonment at all. It's smart fighting given the tale of the tape, and one to be expected from a man easily headed to the Hall of Fame.



Follow B/R's Chris Roling on Twitter for more news and analysis @Chris_Roling