Two of the top pound-for-pound boxers in the world, Mexican legend Juan Manuel Marquez and unbeaten Timothy Bradley, will lock horns this Saturday night (Oct. 11, 2013) at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, leading a four-fight HBO Boxing pay-per-view (PPV) event.
MMAmania will deliver LIVE coverage of "Bradley vs. Marquez," starting with the HBO PPV broadcast at 9 p.m. ET.
In addition to the enticing main event, which will have Bradley's WBO Welterweight title at stake, the card will also feature a Featherweight title match between Orlando Salido and Orlando Cruz, as well as the professional debut of two-time Olympic gold medalist Vasyl Lomachenko.
The main attraction, though, is obviously the clash between "Dinamita" and "Desert Storm," the only two men since 2005 to hold wins over Manny Pacquiao. Will the size, speed and resilience of Bradley win the day or will Marquez's supreme grit and technical brilliance add the WBO welterweight title to his incredible trophy case?
Let's find out:
30-0, 12 KO
Last Fight: Ruslan Provodnikov, Unanimous Decision
By the time he was tabbed to face Pacquiao at Welterweight in 2012, Bradley had already cemented his place as the premiere 140-pound fighter in the world, taking out the likes of Miguel Vazquez, Kendall Holt, Lamont Peterson and Devon Alexander.
Despite these credentials, he was not expected to be a tough out for the Filipino sensation. And depending on who you ask, he wasn't, but the judges gave him the win anyway.
Stuck in a strange spot, Bradley did not compete again until this past May, when he took on Russian bruiser Ruslan Provodnikov. Whether he was out to prove a point or simply adversely affected by the concussion Provodnikov gave him in the first round, he eschewed his sizable technical advantage to go to war, getting wobbled multiple times and dropped in round 12 before eventually escaping with a narrow decision.
Despite dominating the majority of his opposition, Bradley has scored just one finish in his last 12 matches, a body shot knockout of the badly-degraded Joel Casamayor.
Juan Manuel Marquez
55-6-1, 40 KO
Last Fight: Manny Pacquiao, Knockout (Round Six)
In a career spanning more than two decades, Marquez has faced and defeated some of the best of the best from Featherweight to Welterweight, including Orlando Salido, Marco Antonio Barrera and Joel Casamayor, among many others.
Undoubtedly his most stunning win, however, was over longtime rival Pacquiao, an incredible one-punch knockout that won "Knockout of the Year" from The Ring magazine. After three razor-close battles with Pacquiao leading 2-0-1, Marquez came in determined not to see the judges, scoring his first knockdown of the quadrilogy in the third round. Just as things looked set to swing in Pacquiao's favor -- who scored a knockdown of his own in round five -- Marquez crushed his foe with a lethal counter overhand in the waning seconds of the sixth stanza.
With "Pacquiaoing" now a synonym for "planking," Marquez fights for the first time since that bout ten months ago.
Timothy Bradley vs. Juan Manuel Marquez
The big question in this fight is which Bradley will show up. If it's the "Rock-em, Sock-em Baldy" who showed up against Provodnikov, this won't even be competitive. That's because Marquez's counter combinations are brilliantly suited to an opponent who stands right in front of him. He also has the largest ratio of athleticism-to-knockout-power I have ever seen. Marquez has been in firefights with much bigger hitters than Bradley and, despite early adversity, has come out on top each time.
If the Bradley who walked through Abregu, Alexander and Peterson enters the ring, though, then we've got ourselves a fight.
Bradley at his best has a great body attack, an incredible chin and uses his head as a very effective third fist. In short, he can be "one mean sumbitch" with solid boxing skills.
He'll give Marquez all kinds of hell. I'm just not sure it'll be enough.
It all comes down to the fact that Bradley is going to have an incredibly hard time hurting Marquez. His feet-planted, combination-heavy attack is a game Marquez has been playing for 20 years and lacks the thump to keep the Mexican from playing it better than him.
Bradley will club, headbutt and rough up Marquez. Marquez will respond as he always has, giving as good as he gets and then some. A knockdown is unlikely, but expect one hell of a fight, with Marquez's bigger shots and steady counter assault carrying him to a narrow decision win.
Prediction: Marquez by split decision