|The battle of Manny Pacquiao tormentors will be on 12 October 2013 at the Thomas and Mack Center, Las Vegas, Nevada for the world welterweight title.|
Juan Manuel Marquez (welterweight TBRB rank no. 2), will return to the ring to face Timothy Bradley (welterweight TBRB rank no. 4), after a spectacular knockout victory, in November of last year, over arch-rival, Filipino boxing icon, Manny Pacquiao.
Marquez 55-6-1 (KO 40), ended the rivalry of his long time nemesis with exclamation point. Marquez knocked Pacquiao out, with a big right hand, sending Pacquiao face-first to the floor with a second remaining in the sixth round.
Bradley, another Pacquiao tormentor, will climb the ring against Marquez, coming off a thrilling victory in March over Russian banger, Ruslan Provodnikov. Bradley defeated Pacquiao in paper, rather than in actual combat; awarded by a split decision victory of what has been considered as the most controversial decision in recent memory of boxing.
Judge C.J. Ross scored the bout, a mind-puzzling, 115-113 for Bradley. Ross is the same judge that scored 114-114, a draw, for Mayweather-Alvarez ‘The One’ fight card on 14 September. Ross made a self-imposed leave of absence from judging boxing after ‘The One’ controversy.
Going back to Bradley-Marquez fight; I think the winner of this fight will be Pacquiao’s potential opponent in a rematch; after of course, if Pacquiao, will get past Mexican-American brawler, Brandon Rios in November. A Pacquiao rematch to either Bradley or Marquez is more feasible because they are all under Top Rank.
At an advance age, Marquez continues to explode like dynamite in every fight. I predicted Marquez to lose his 4th fight with Pacquiao. But the ‘Dinamita’ unleashed a deafening explosion that was heard in the four corners of the boxing world. It was really shocking. Some doubted as to how Marquez, 39 years old at that time, did it to Pacquiao.
A doubt, that Bradley even threatened that, “If this guy [Marquez] doesn’t get drug tested at all by VADA or USADA then the fight’s not going to happen.” Bradley said.
What a big doubt, is it?
Well, Top Rank boss, Bob Arum managed to convince Bradley to go on with NSAC—not VADA or USADA.
Now, after a long introduction, let me breakdown Bradley vs. Marquez.
I consider Marquez as one of the most intelligent fighter in the sport, along with Floyd May weather Jr. and Bernard Hopkins. The Mexican veteran is a thinking fighter and excellent counter-puncher inside the ring. He can use opponent’s aggressiveness to his advantage–ask Pacquiao.
I do not expect Marquez to show something different here rather than what he usually does, which is to counter… counter… and counter. Well, JMM is JMM, he will do exactly what a JMM should do.
It is with Bradley, whom I am excited to see, not just one but several approach to this fight. Bradley is famous to find ways to outwork his opponent. In his fight with Pacquiao, he tried to match speed with speed in the early rounds. He then realized that yes; he could match Pacquiao’s speed, but not Pacquiao’s power. So, he tried another approach: which is to hit without getting hit. He tried to outbox Pacquiao, keep himself busy with the jab and moving around in the later rounds. That could have kept him earning the judges’ scorecards.
Fighting with Marquez, I think Bradley will try to be the aggressor in the first three rounds because Marquez is a slow starter. I see Bradley winning these rounds. Then, Marquez will start catching him up in the fourth and fifth round with crisp and precise counters. Bradley will then switch to boxing. In this approach, I’m afraid the fight could become boring. Maybe in the sixth until the tenth round, there will be lesser activity. Remember that: Marquez will not open up as much, if his opponent will not throw more. See Mayweather-Marquez. I feel that these rounds could be given by the judges either way.
Not unless, Marquez will realize that Bradley really don’t have enough power in his punches. And opening up a little bit more is worth the risk. Well, I’m in doubt if Marquez will shift to being the aggressor once Bradley will go back a little deeper to his shell.
Then, I think in the championship round Bradley will go back to the offensive. He will then close the gap and work more the way he did with Devon Alexander, because Marquez, at 40 years old, might tire and may not have enough power to catch him with a single punch. This is where I believe Bradley’s third-hand played its role–the head-butt. You know Bradley’s tendency. Will I hope Bradley’s trademark head-butt will not be a factor here.
Larry Merchant commented on Bradley-Alexander fight: “It was another head-butt from Bradley that turned out to be the lethal fight-ending punch.”
My final verdict:
I pick Bradley to win via unanimous or a majority decision.