In a match between two men known for their wins over Manny Pacquiao, one fighter was looking to define himself and get the recognition he was denied in a victory that most people felt was a defeat. Timothy Bradley and Juan Manuel Marquez met in their long anticipated match up this past Saturday night, and while odds makers had Marquez as the favorite, Bradley who has upset the odds his entire career found a way to do it again against a seemingly aging Juan Manuel Marquez.
The opening round saw each man looking to establish range with their jabs and feel the other out. Early in the first round it appeared as though Marquez would have little trouble finding Bradley when he started to land counter right hands, and was able to work behind a steady jab. In the second round, Bradley changed up the pace of the fight and began to use movement and angles to start to land on Marquez and also cause the older legend to miss with his counter attacks. The third round saw a little better success for Marquez as he was able to land his jab, but the fourth and fifth rounds saw much of the same as the second as Bradley was consistently out scoring Marquez, while Juan Manuel would only land single shots at a time that could only get the crowd’s reaction but nothing from his opponent.
As the fight went on there were many close rounds but it seemed that Bradley was the busier fighter, and while Marquez was more accurate, he was often getting beaten to the punch. The final round of the fight delivered the most action of the fight as Marquez sensing urgency was starting to land his most significant shots and was clearly winning the round until the final 20 seconds of the bout saw both man trade shots and Marquez getting the worse of it. The final flurry of the bout set up a right hand off the ropes by Bradley that stunned the 4 division champion and caused him to stumble back having to regain his balance before the final bell of the fight.
When the scorecards were read, most felt as though Bradley had done more then enough to take the decision ( I scored it 116-112 for Bradley) but with the first card being read as 115-113 for Marquez, doubt was in the air. The final two cards read 115-113 for Bradley and the last had it 116-112 and Timothy Bradley was announced the winner of the fight thus retaining his WBO welterweight championship of the world.
With this victory, Bradley now moves to 31-0 and has victories over two of the greatest fighters of this generation. He has also himself up for a rematch against the man most feel he has yet to really defeat, Manny Pacquiao. Juan Manuel Marquez falls to 55-7-1 and after a performance in which he started to look more his age, and with the speed of Bradley giving him so much trouble, one has to wonder if Marquez might want to consider hanging up the gloves as there is little more at this point that he needs to accomplish.
Timothy Bradley is a fighter that has proved throughout his career what hard work and determination can do. While he might still be underestimated after this fight, few can argue that he has earned his spot amongst the best pound for pound fighters in the world, and more importantly earned the respect the has long been looking for.