According to the tale of the tape, Juan Manuel Marquez (55-7-1, 40KO’s) was the taller fighter, the most experienced, the one with three times the amount of knockouts. He was going into this fight as the favorite, having just knocked out Manny Pacquiao (54-5-2, 38KO’s) and being considered one of the best counter punches in the business. Yet, right after the first bell rang for the beginning of the fight, he appeared physically to be the smaller fighter. In this fight, Marquez had told the boxing world that he was going to rely on his experience, and this is what was seen in the first round of this fight. Marquez came out in the first landing left hooks to the head of Bradley (31-0, 12KO’s) and countering his way around the ring as we have seen him do in the past.
Unfortunately for Marquez, the first round appeared to be the only round that really looked good for him. From then on, it appeared to be a Bradley fight all the way, as Bradley started to land the quicker jabs as he followed them up with hard right hands to the head of Marquez in the second round. Not only was Bradley the busier fighter in this fight, but he was able to move around the ring and not allow Marquez to close in on him. And when Marquez did attempt to close the ring, Bradley made him pay for it with the quicker exchanges.
Both fighters had an agenda in this fight after turning down a bigger money fight with Manny Pacquiao. Marquez’ feeling was that a fifth fight with Pacquiao wasn’t needed at this time because of his sensational win last December. He was more interested in the attempt to be the first Mexican fighter to ever win in five weight divisions. This was something his countryman Erik Morales, Marco Antonio Barrera and even the great Julio Cesar Chavez had never achieved. He was going into this fight with hopes of making Mexican boxing history and being in the super star group of fighters like Manny Pacquiao (eight divisions), Oscar De La Hoya (six), Sugar Ray Leonard (five), and Thomas Hearns (five), who among others, stand on top of the boxing records.
As for Bradley, he wanted to stop Marquez, one of the greatest boxers from Mexico and attempt to let the boxing world recognize him as one of top three pound for pound boxers in the world. He was also trying to prove that he wasn’t damaged goods, considering the thrashing he took from number one contender Ruslan Provodnikov (22-2, 15KO’s) last March. Although he won that fight by unanimous decision, he was hurt early in this fight and almost knocked out in the last round. In addition, he also has surprisingly admitted that he had suffered a concussion that had him slurring his speech for approximately two months.
As mentioned earlier, the reason Marquez didn’t appear to be the stronger fighter, it may have been because he didn’t come into this fight as bulked up as he was against Manny Pacquiao. For this reason, one would have thought that he would have probably been faster in his hand speed. But it was the hand speed of Bradley and his ring movement that was making the difference in the fight.
In the second round, both fighters went toe to toe as Bradley landed some good right hands to the head of Marquez. Although Marquez slipped in some good counters, they didn’t appear to hurt Bradley, who snapped Marquez’ head back at the end of the round. As the fight continued toward the middle half of the fight, it was apparent that Bradley was in control of the fight. Bradley continued to use his hand speed and was not allowing Marquez to make it a brawl, which in turn didn’t allow Marquez to use his counter punching ability.
By the start of the eighth round, it was apparent that Bradley was outworking Marquez and beating him to the punch. It was during this round that Marquez’ left eye was beginning to swell from all the jabs he was receiving from Bradley. It wasn’t until the beginning of the ninth round that Marquez started to get in closer and land some good punches. This was also a round that Bradley looked like he was starting to just go through the motions because he knew he was ahead on the cards. Bradley could probably see the desperation in Marquez’ eyes at this point as he stayed away from Marquez as he continued to land the quicker punches.
It was apparent that it was a pro Marquez crowd, as you could hear them chanting his name throughout the fight and after every punch that Marquez landed. Although he may have had the crowd, it was Bradley who had all the points. Marquez appeared to have won the ninth round, but he was rocked in the tenth round by a huge right hand by Bradley. Marquez was the busier fighter in this round as well, but only a knockout would help him win. In the final round, Marquez attempted to go for the knockout several times, but it was he who almost got knocked out with a huge left hook by Bradley that sent him hurling backward and almost falling down.
Marquez was taken out of his game by the hand and foot speed of Bradley and that is what made the difference. When the first card read 115-113 for Marquez, I knew that Bradley had won the fight. The next card ready 116-112 for Bradley and all kinds of suspense was felt just before the last card that was announced. It read 115-113 for Bradley, who was able to defend the WBO Welterweight title. After the fight, it was somewhat bizarre, but Marquez was quoted as saying “We came to win and we did, but the judges saw something else, we won.” These are the kinds of statements we have heard before, but unfortunately it could not be used for this fight.
As for Bradley, he was clearly the winner on Saturday night, and although some may think he is not worthy of fighting Mayweather, he should be given the chance. What’s next for him will only be decided down the road, but his record does show a controversial win over Pacquiao and now a clear win over the man who defeated Pacaquiao. Now let’s see if the self-proclaimed Mayweather is willing to take the challenge.