In a highly competitive 12-round title affair, Timothy Bradley remained unbeaten and retained his WBO welterweight belt with a split-decision victory over veteran Juan Manuel Marquez. The fight didn’t have the fireworks of their respective previous bouts against Ruslan Provodnikov and Manny Pacquiao, but nonetheless was a spirited battle between two excellent fighters.
Unlike the Provodnikov brawl where Bradley survived several scares including a final round knockdown, “Desert Storm” fought a much more controlled fight against Marquez. His punch output for the most part was greater than his veteran counterpart, and Bradley was able to avoid danger when exchanging with the dangerous Mexican veteran.
In fact, it was Bradley who rocked his opponent with the hardest punch of the fight, a crisp left hook in the final 10 seconds of the final round that appeared to cement a clear-cut victory on the scorecards.
One judge had it 115-113 for Marquez, while the two other scorecards favored Bradley by margins of 115-113 and 116-112. Despite the boos in Las Vegas from the pro-Marquez crowd, this was a victory that Bradley was deserving of.
It was nothing like the travesty of his upset decision win over Pacquiao back in 2012. That verdict brought a sense of outrage from just about everyone who witnessed that fight and was seen by most as an embarrassment for the sport.
Marquez simply wasn’t as busy or as accurate with his counter shots against Bradley as he had been in his knockout victory over Pacquiao. While he certainly landed what seemed like the heavier punches for a good bulk of the fight, there just weren’t enough of them to counteract Bradley’s output. Bradley utilized a stiff jab, and his defense was clearly sharper in this fight than in his prior performance.
Marquez wasn’t happy about the final verdict, but he has no one but himself to blame. Where he goes from here remains a question mark.
As for the unbeaten Bradley, there will be a number of options to consider. The best option could be to face the winner of the November 23 fight between Pacquaio and Brandon Rios.
Rick LaFitte is a Boxing Writer for Rant Sports