Fight Pick & Preview - Bradley vs. Marquez:
Juan Manuel Marquez, fresh off the best win of his career, takes on unbeaten WBO Welterweight Champion Timothy Bradley in Vegas on October 12. While each man defeated Manny Pacquiao, it is Marquez who got all the acclaim with a 6th round knockout, while Bradley received a decision no one felt he won. But this isn’t a battle to see who beat Pacman more conclusively. Styles make fights and this is completely different ball game.
- Date: Saturday, October 12, 2013
- Site: Thomas and Mack Center, Las Vegas, Nevada
- Titles: WBO Welterweight Championship
Juan Manuel Marquez, 55-6-1 (40 KOs), Mexico City, Mexico
Timothy Bradley, 30-0 (12 KOs), Palm Springs, California
Marquez is 40--a time when guys at this weight are usually long gone. It seems strange that it is the decade-younger Bradley who suddenly seems like the less bankable commodity. His last fight, a life-and-death struggle with Ruslan Provodnikov perhaps confirmed what we had all been noticing over the past few years with Bradley. He seems to be getting worse, not better.
He hit a hot patch when winning the title and immediately after that, but since his unwatchable technical decision win over Devon Alexander, he has been flattening out. Once ballyhooed as a guy on the cusp of pound-for-pound recognition, his name rarely comes up now when discussing the top fighters in the sport.
Marquez is unusual, being that most fighters don’t score their best win at age 39. In the 4th fight of his rivalry with Pacquiao and coming off 3 close fights between the two, Marquez leveled Pacquiao and scored the series’ only definitive victory. It’s a little worrisome how this fight came about for Marquez. After a defining career win, he hinted at retirement. Of course, there was talk of a 5th Pacquiao fight. Then, he rather randomly settled on Bradley
After putting all his efforts into the last Pacquiao fight and scoring a great win, will Marquez still have the fire? Even if he’s mentally checked out even slightly, Bradley is a guy who can take advantage of that.
Marquez’ management team probably figured Bradley is an undefeated titleholder, but one who is ripe for the picking. They might be right. In his last bout, only his grit, conditioning, and perhaps the big-fight inexperience of Provodnikov allowed him to finish upright. Prior to the fight, it was considered almost a mismatch, with a world champion facing an ESPN fighter. Bradley avoided disaster, but only narrowly.
In his last series of fights, Bradley seems to have lost that sizzle. His last impressive performance was in 2009, when he lopsidedly defeated Lamont Peterson. It seems that version of Bradley wouldn’t have labored so hard against Provodnikov. Technically, he’s still undefeated and even if he lost to Pacquiao, it was pre-Marquez IV Manny, so losing that fight in the hearts and minds of the public isn’t such a terrible thing. It’s just that we haven’t seen the smash-mouth, greasy fast, take-no-prisoners Bradley in a long time. He seems eroded--physically, concentration-wise, strategically, and his defense and durability have simply gotten worse.
Bradley can’t compete with Marquez technically. Even if he decides to get in there and try to rough up Marquez, he doesn’t really have the power to make it stick. Other than his 2011 stoppage win over a completely-dilapidated Joel Casamayor, you have to go back to 2007 for the last time Bradley stopped his opponent. He just doesn’t have the power to dispatch of world class foes. If he can’t hurt Marquez, he might be struggling to find answers.
With all that being said, Marquez is far from a cinch to win this fight. He’s not even a 2-1 favorite. Marquez hasn’t beaten anyone worthwhile other than Pacquiao in 3 years. The man is 40 years old and there is reason to expect him to not be in the perfect condition physically and mentally as he was in December against Pacquiao. With Manny, he had the personal rivalry component at play. What is there about Bradley that is supposed to light that same fire within Marquez?
Bradley vs. Marquez Prediction
When taking into account how Marquez was almost out of the fight when he dropped the bomb on Pacquiao, his age, and the fact that he’s not really a welterweight, picking Bradley doesn’t seem like the worst move. It’s just that stylistically, Bradley is not a bad match for Marquez. The Mexican legend has not been stopped in a 20-year career and this won’t be his first. And Bradley is going to have to come up with something really special to outbox Marquez. I don’t see it.
Prediction: Marquez wins by unanimous decision.