Timothy Bradley (30-0, 1 NC, 12 KOs) may have youth and fresh legs on his side ahead of Saturday night's welterweight title fight with Juan Manuel Marquez (55-6-1, 40 KOs), but it won't matter when he steps inside the ring against one of the best counterpunchers in the sport.
Despite being 40 years old, Marquez remains one of boxing's best and is still a lethal contender in the welterweight division. The Mexican superstar possesses both the power and stamina required to win fights in a variety of ways. He's built to finish fights, but he's shown in past bouts with Manny Pacquiao and others that he can go the distance as well.
While both men have defeated Pacquiao in recent bouts, Marquez did so in convincing fashion last December with a devastating knockout, and the argument can be made that he has outboxed the Filipino in past meetings.
On the other hand, Bradley's victory was extremely controversial. Plus, the 30-year-old challenger never appeared to present that much of a knockout threat to Pacquiao. Based on that fight and his resume, it's fair to say that Bradley doesn't have the adequate power to end Saturday's fight with Marquez, and he lacks the elite defensive ability and superior movement to avoid Marquez's right hand over the course of 12 rounds.
It's possible that Bradley could harness his inner Floyd Mayweather, but how likely is it?
After all, Marquez brings tremendous experience to the table, having knocked off some of the sport's best in the past, including fighters like Marco Antonio Barrera and Joel Casamayor in addition to Pacquiao. There's very little he hasn't seen since turning pro in the early 1990s.
While Bradley backed up his controversial win over Pacquiao with a gritty performance against Ruslan Provodnikov back in March, the American star took a significant beating in that bout, getting knocked down and surviving via a unanimous judges decision.
It's certainly fair to question how Bradley will fare just seven months after one of the most physical fights of his career.
But in the end, there's no escaping the fact that Bradley's biggest win was clouded in controversy. In the other corner, Marquez has proven himself to be a marquee fighter on multiple occasions and has the arsenal to do it again on Saturday.
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