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Bradley scored a huge win Saturday night, and there was no controversy this time.
For WBO Welterweight Champion Timothy Bradley, it's all about respect. He earned a huge amount of it by defeating Juan Manuel Marquez on Saturday night in Las Vegas. The fight was close and competitive, but the verdict was correct and non-controversial.
Bradley (31-0, 12 KO) was widely panned and dismissed in the wake of his highly controversial split-decision nod over Manny Pacquiao in June of 2012. Almost nobody—who wasn't friend or family—felt that "Desert Storm" deserved to get the win, and the decision unfairly weighed him down like an albatross.
His exciting win over Ruslan Provodnikov this past March helped remove some of the stigma from that performance. By outboxing, and handling Marquez in the way he did, Bradley should finally place the Pacquiao debacle in his rear-view mirror.
He can rightly call himself a top three pound-for-pound fighter in the world, and no longer can people question his possession of the WBO Welterweight Championship. Even if he did lose to Pacquiao, he has now beaten the man who beat the man. That makes him the legitimate champion.
But can Bradley take that next step and become a star in the sport?
Marquez was clearly the box-office draw in this fight—as evidenced by the virtually unanimous support he received from the hotly pro-Mexican crowd—and Bradley demonstrated a style that, while effective, will have a hard time appealing to the masses.
Everyone knows that in boxing it's about more than just wins and losses, and Bradley still needs to show that he can market himself to a mainstream audience.