Published Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013 | 8:04 p.m.
Updated Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013 | 9:36 p.m.
Timothy Bradley is still undefeated. And his is still the WBO welterweight champion.
All thanks to the perfect strategy.
Bradley (31-0) stuck to his game plan today against Juan Manuel Marquez at the Thomas & Mack Center, patiently attacking the slight favorite Marquez with his jab and emerging with a split decision victory.
Judge Robert Hoyle scored the 12-round fight 115-113 in favor of Bradley and Patricia Morse-Jarman saw it 116-112. Glenn Feldman had it 115-113 for Marquez.
“Tim followed the game plan perfect,” said Joel Diaz, his trainer. “He doesn’t have a mark on his face. Marquez didn’t touch him. No one can outbox Timothy Bradley.”
Diaz said the plan was to not get reckless or to get into a slugfest in the middle of the ring. Twice, Diaz had to remind Bradley in between rounds to stick to the strategy and not fall into the trap of slugging it out with the powerful Marquez.
“Everything worked. I gave him a boxing lesson,” Bradley said. “I jabbed over and over. He couldn’t touch me. I had complete control.”
Marquez was quick to disagree. The fight was clearly close — one judge saw it in favor of Marquez, after all — and the Mexican legend feels it should have been his name called.
“The judges took it away from me,” Marquez said. “You don’t have to knock down the other guy to win the fight. I thought I clearly won. I have been robbed six times now in my career.”
Entering the last round: Timothy Bradley is the leader in the clubhouse — at least on my scorecard — heading into the final round of the WBO welterweight title fight against Juan Manuel Marquez. Most of the rounds have been even, but Bradley has been downright dominant in the others. That’s especially true of the 10th. He battered Marquez for most of the round, nearly knocking him down in the center of the ring with about one minute left in the round. Marquez, the savvy veteran with nearly 20 years experience, is showing his experience. He’s been patient and relied on his counter attack. He’ll surely be smart enough to pick up the pace in the final round, knowing a knockout could be his only option for a win and becoming a five-division world champ. Talk to everyone after the decision — or if someone gets floored in the 12th.
After the Eighth Round: Back after some minor connectivity issues. Sorry, gang. Going into the final three rounds, the fight is still very much in question. You could make arguments for either fighter winning a decision. Bradley is sticking to his game plan and picking his spots with the jab. And Marquez’s forehead definitely appears to have taken a few of those shots — it’s red and swollen. Bradley also appears to be quick than Marquez. With that said, Marquez seems to have landed the more significant punches of the fight, something that will surely catch the judges’ eye. The general opinion is Bradley ahead 5-3. Stay tuned.
Fifth and Sixth Rounds: At the end of the fifth round, Marquez lands his best combinations of the night to send Bradley into the ropes right when the bells sounds to end the round. Bradley doesn’t seemed bothered, however, simply laughing as he goes back to his corner. It’s one of the rare moments of the fight where there is some heated action. Oddsmakers had Marquez as a small favorite and promoters from Top Rank bragged all week how this would by one of the rare fights in Las Vegas where there wasn’t a clear-cut favorite. Looks like they are right. I still have Bradley winning, but it’s too close to predict.
Third and Fourth Rounds : This fight is really too close to call. The reporter on my right at press row has the WBO welterweight title fight between Juan Manual Marquez and champion Timothy Bradley even. On the other side, a reporter has Bradley ahead 30-28 — winning three of four rounds. What seems to be certain, though, is this fight will go a complete 12 rounds. Neither fighter is dominating, but each has enjoyed flashes of success. Bradley continues to be more aggressive, but then again, Marquez still is to always go on the counter attack. At the end of the fourth, Bradley again landed some solid combination. It would surprise me if Bradley is ahead 30-27, after all.
Second Round Some had Juan Manuel Marquez winning the first round, but that was up for debate. But there is no doubt who took the second round of the WBO welterweight title fight. Timothy Bradley was the aggressor and landed more shots. Toward the end of the round, he pieced together a nice combination to send Marquez to the ropes and bring the crowd to its feet. Give the second round to Bradley, meaning the fight is likely even after two rounds.
First Round As expected, Mexican Juan Manuel Marquez has the crowd at the Mack on his side. They are chanting his name repeatedly in the opening seconds of the WBO welterweight title fight. There isn’t much action in the early seconds with the fighters feeling each other out — typical for most fights. With about one minute left in the round, Bradley goes on the attack and lands a good combination. You could easily argue, however, that Marquez is trying to lure him in for a counter attack, which is his speciality. You could make an argument for either fighting winning the round, but the three guys next to me each have Marquez.Prefight: Timothy Bradley won’t back down against Juan Manuel Marquez in welterweight title fight
The last time Timothy Bradley fought in Las Vegas he exited the ring to a chorus of boos.
Bradley won a controversial split decision against Manny Pacquiao in June 2012 to win the WBO welterweight crown, becoming the first in seven years to defeat Pacquiao even though most casual observers believed he convincingly lost the fight.
Much has changed since that night when Bradley seemed like boxing’s biggest villain. He’s now considered one of the sport’s more courageous fighters.
When Bradley returns to Las Vegas tonight in defense of his welterweight title against Mexico’s Juan Manuel Marquez, he’ll do so with the respect of most in the crowd at the Thomas & Mack Center.
Bradley’s popularity spiked after his most recent fight, where he emerged victorious last March in a slugfest against Ruslan Provodnikov by unanimous decision. It was one of those fights everyone wanted to see on replay — Bradley was knocked out in the 12th round, but had done enough to win on points in the previous rounds. Each round featured great action; both fighters took more than their share of blows.
But Bradley (30-0, 12 KOs) didn’t feel all too victorious in the aftermath.
He had balance and vision issues, and slurred speech for more than two months after the fight. Some questioned his return to boxing — not just tonight, but calling for the undefeated 30 year old to retire alltogether.
After taking four months off of training and with the blessing of multiple doctors, Bradley couldn’t say no to a fight with the veteran Marquez. He knows the risk, but is only concerned with putting on another good show.
“I’ll deal with consequences later,” Bradley said early in the week.
Marquez (55-6, 40 KOs) is also coming off a victory against Pacquiao, using his elite counterpunching ability and strength to record a sixth round knockout in the highlight of the 40 year-old fighter’s near two-decade career. Tonight, he’s making $6 million to face Bradley, and is the face of a major pay-per-view card for the first time in his career.
If the fight becomes another battle like Bradley’s victory against Provodnikov, then both fighters would have delivered on their aspirations to put on a show. Just don’t expect Bradley to back down.
“(Bradley) showed courage. He showed class and he showed character,” said Bob Arum of Top Rank, which is promoting the fight, said of the Provodnikov fight. “He showed what a true champion he is.”
I will keep everyone posted once the fight gets started. Las Vegas oddsmakers have Marquez as a small favorite, meaning we could be in line for a classic.