Walking through the various media rooms this week left me with a surprising sentiment from my colleagues, many of them believe that Timothy Bradley will defeat Juan Manuel Marquez tonight. A sentiment this publication can not justify. Timothy Bradley is a very good fighter. Juan Manuel Marquez, however, may be the greatest Mexican fighter to have ever put on boxing gloves. And while there is little to no disparity in each fighter’s desire and will, the advantages in precision, technical skills, versatility, power and a astounding ring IQ will be the difference. Ultimately, leaving Marquez a five division champion (the first fighter to do so from Mexico), when what should be a very crowd pleasing fight is finished with.
When asked “Why?” to my esteemed fellow media members, on their belief that Timothy Bradley will upset Marquez tonight, the common answer was that all Bradley needs to do is fight an intelligent fight and not get suckered into a war like he was in his previous fight with Ruslan Provodnikov. In that fight when Bradley brawled, he almost got removed from his senses. When he boxed, Bradley piled up the points. But Bradley was not punching himself in the face and stomach, Provodnikov was not a ghost. Some believe he won the fight, and it is not fair to discredit the intelligent pressure Provodnikov applied on Bradley to force the exchanges that almost netted him a knockout and a world championship. Fighters have instincts that they have built up over the years, sometimes and usually since before they were professionals, and Timothy Bradley’s instinct more often than not is to exchange punches when he himself is damaged. That will lead to his undoing against Marquez, and not by a decision either.
With all the talk of Timothy Bradley having to be the boxer and the intelligent fighter it seems as though people have forgotten what has made Juan Manuel Marquez a first ballot hall of famer. In his now iconic four fights with Manny Pacquiao, each one of them turned into a slugfest, leaving many with the view that Marquez is a brawler. Like so many great Mexican fighters before him. That is not the case, Marquez is the best counter puncher in the world along with the likes of Floyd Mayweather and Guillermo Rigondeaux. When an opponent of Marquez decides to open up, they are met with every punch in the book. Marquez has terrific uppercuts, a thunderous right hand that left Manny Pacquiao face down for several minutes motionless, and a left hand that can end the fight as well. What makes Marquez even more dangerous however, and what separates himself from other counter punchers is that he is very effective in being the aggressor. Making Marquez nearly equally as dangerous when being the hunter or the matador.
Even if Timothy Bradley proves this publication and many others wrong and is able to stick a game plan that keeps him out of the exchanges, and keeps him boxing all twelve rounds, Marquez will still make the adjustments necessary to get Bradley to make mistakes. If Bradley’s speed and movement are winning him the fight early, Marquez will turn into the hunter and force Bradley into a fight he wants to avoid. If and when that happens, Marquez will once again prove just how dangerous and great of a fighter he is once again.
BRB’s FINAL PREDICTION: JUAN MANUEL MARQUEZ VIA KO.