Right now the boxing world is focused on the upcoming bout between Floyd Mayweather Jr and Saul Alvarez, and after that comes Manny Pacquiao vs Brandon Rios in November. Seemingly floating under the radar is the most competitive of all the top bouts on the schedule as Juan Manuel Marquez meets Timothy Bradley at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas on October 12th. Of the high level matches on the schedule, this is easily the most competitve as far as the lines at the sportsbooks are concerned, as Marquez sits at a (-165) favorite with the comeback on Bradley at about (+135).
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There is an old saying, and I may be borrowing from another sport, but it goes ‘in order to be the man, you have to beat the man’. Now, thee is no doubt that Manny Pacquiao was the man in boxing over the last five years. Yes, Floyd is great, but with his long hiatus and jail time among other distractions, the last few years belonged to Manny. So both Pacquiao and Bradley have to be wondering what they have to do to become a crossover media star.
Since the Pacquiao fight, Bradley has fought once, winning a close, lackluster decision over Ruslan Provodnikov. He showed himself to be the dame fighter, and likely will bring that package against Marquez. He is extremely technical and very fast, but he does not hit hard and is pretty much forced to win by decision against top competition.
Marquez will be able to match technical prowess with Bradley, which will lead to a potentially entertaining fight. Marquez is a guy who puts his hard hat on and comes forward, not afraid of a firefight. That will be an asset against the light hitting Bradley.
Marquez is going to be 38 years old. He found a new level of conditioning and KO power and he will have to bring all of that to bear against Bradley, or he risks going to the judges, who have traditionally not been kind to him.
Bradley is 29 years old and in his prime and he is an undefeated 30-0. If it is going to be Bradley’s time, he needs to signal the world with another big win against Marquez, because he was just a radar blip in beating Pacquiao.