Timothy Bradley vs. Juan Manuel Marquez: Keys to Welterweight Showdown
After a slugfest against Russia's Ruslan Provodnikov in March, WBO welterweight titleholder Timothy Bradley Jr. looks to hold off challenger Juan Manuel Marquez on Saturday in Las Vegas.
It won't be easy.
Marquez (55-6-1, 40 KO) is coming off the biggest win of his career, knocking out Manny Pacquiao in December 2012. The historic Mexican may be older than Bradley, but he's also more experienced.
Here are the keys to the welterweight battle at the Thomas & Mack Center on Saturday.
Bradley: Don't Go Punch-for-Punch with Marquez
Bradley went toe-to-toe with Russia's Ruslan Provodnikov, suffering a concussion and a 12th-round knockdown en route to a unanimous decision.
Like any normal boxer would, Bradley downplayed the damage he suffered, saying, via Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times:
I wanted to prove I'm willing to get into harm's way to get a win. I abandoned my original plan to just box. I traded with [Provodnikov]. I wanted to knock this kid out. Finish him. Send a statement.
He had dynamite in his hands, more power than Marquez.
Well, Bradley better not try to prove he's "willing to get into harm's way" against Marquez. He will undoubtedly lose this match if he does so.
While Provodnikov may have more power than the 40-year-old Mexican, Marquez is much more technically sound than the Russian. Floyd Mayweather Jr. is an excellent example of a technical boxer who can still do major damage without huge power.
Marquez: Stay Active
The 30-year-old Bradley is not only much younger than Marquez, he's also a ridiculously active boxer.
In his victory over Provodnikov, Bradley threw an astounding 1,000 punches, including 511 power punches, via CompuBox.
Marquez will likely not be able to match Bradley's punch count, but he has to be as active as he can be without tiring quickly. He's going to have to monitor his fatigue while still making sure to throw enough punches.
One very realistic way Bradley can win this fight is if he simply outworks Marquez. The WBO welterweight champion may not have to land a higher percentage of punches than Marquez to emerge victorious.
Bradley: Beware (or Be Aware) of Marquez's Counterpunching Ability
Who will win on Saturday?
It was a counterpunch that stopped Manny Pacquiao in December 2012.
That wasn't by accident.
Marquez is well known for his counterpunching ability. It's how he generally does most of his damage. His power, combined with his ability to make opponents pay when they are careless, is one of the reasons why he's won 55 fights in his career.
Bradley needs to be much smarter against Marquez than he was against Provodnikov. If he isn't careful, he could very well end up like Pacquiao.
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