Coming up fast under the wire like a nuclear studded stealth fighter comes the Timothy Bradley/Juan Manuel Marquez confrontation Saturday, October 12th at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. Hard to know how this bout is going to shake out because of the polar opposite styles and attributes of the two longtime P4P fighters. Prior to each fighting Manny Pacquiao, I would have favored the unrelentingly awkward frenzy of the quicksilver Bradley over the traditional, upright, stationary countering style of Marquez.
The boxing landscape has since rumbled massively on the Richter scale, swallowing up the Manny Pacquiao phenomenon of the last two decades that left him twisting cruelly in the forever hot winds of his critics. Nor have the two fighters responsible for that tectonic shift been able to escape venomous strikes against them. Timothy Bradley may have won the judges’ hearts in a split decision win over Pacquiao, but he lost a lifetime of respect built up over his considerable career thus far because nobody but his family thinks he came close to winning that fight.
Who to thank in Vegas for yet another rinse and repeat “rubber stamped” hack job? Insert Carl Sagan intoning “billions upon billions” of hack jobs littering the great boxing galaxy in perpetuity it would seem.
Speaking of Vegas, their favorite fighter not named Floyd Mayweather Jr just happens to be Juan Manuel Marquez. He may have finally scored a highlight knockout for the ages over his long time nemesis, but all was for naught on the respectometer due to the sordid reputation of his BALCO associated physical trainer Angel “Memo” Heredia who transformed Marquez’s modest physical frame into Hulk Jr. This ain’t your tubby, pissoir tonic guzzling Juan Manuel Marquez of the Floyd Mayweather Jr fight anymore, that’s for certain.
As to physical frames, Timothy Bradley is right out of a Superman comic book, clearly engaged in a lifetime of body building that he apparently pares down with a vegan diet during training camp if what I have read is correct. He loves to flex and pose, so it will be interesting to see the weigh in contrast between what used to be the modestly composed Marquez who used to let his fists do his talking in the ring.
Bradley was coaxed into a comeback of sorts after his one year rest period to recover from serious ankle injuries sustained in the Pacquiao bout. The deranged death threats against him and his family along with the failure of the boxing community to rally round his huge “upset” put a rust on his insecure form against Ruslan Provodnikov, a brutal bout Bradley spent much time out on his feet as he staggered around looking for a place to fall. We’ll see soon enough if he’s recover full use of his ankles and chin since this new form of Marquez punches harder than ever.
Marquez found out the hard way that hiring BALCO associated trainers won him no new fans either. This fight was cobbled together after a last ditch compromise that sees Bradley being tested by the illicit VADA drug testing cartel while Marquez is drug tested by some fly by night illicit drug testing cartel because of longtime down and dirty disputes between Victor Conte and Memo Heredia who claim to be cleaning up boxing with their magic elixirs. Yeah, and I’ve got some lovely ocean frontage in Afghanistan for sale too, just send me your bank account numbers for a steal….errr….the deal of the century!
It also goes without saying that neither of these guys can carry a PPV on their own, so it will be interesting how those numbers pan out. Both could’ve earned much more against Pacquiao, but their egos insisted on parity if not the lions share of that purse, so this fight is also when their high flying rockets make a hard return to the boxing business world they live in.
Bradley could get careless and pop like a burnt out light bulb, or he might do light saber pirouettes around the bulked out form of Marquez. Don’t know who the favorite will be since Marquez is 40 years old to Bradley’s 30, but like I say, Vegas loves Marquez, thus he can be seen as both the money and the home town fighter for this bout and likely the modest betting favorite.
Be a nice change of pace to see an exciting, well contested, well officiated, and well scored fight to make up for the last couple of big duds this year. Marketing grossly exceeded the quality of the officiating and fighting of the year’s big “events.” Mayweather vs Alvarez and Klitschko vs Povetkin were anticlimactic compared to the hype of their big money promotions, so maybe next year boxing can get quality back into big events…..always a next year.