COMMENTARY| The stage is set for a showdown between Timothy Bradley (30-0, 12 KOs) and Juan Manuel Marquez (55-6-1, 40 KOs) to take place at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. This fight isn't likely to do record numbers in pay-per-view ratings but still is one of the more intriguing fights to take place this year.
Besides the fact that these are the last two fighters to beat the brand that was/is Manny Pacquiao, both of these men have compelling stories of determination fueling their drive for boxing immortality. Especially in the case of Marquez, a legend already who finally bested his nemesis Pacquiao, he seeks a new glory few others have been able to attain.
This fight doesn't lack for story lines or angles. Here are three reasons why Marquez vs. Bradley is worth your time even if you watch it with a buddy at a sports bar instead of pay-per-view at home.
Marquez looks to make history with a win
The Hall of Fame to be boxer can be the first Mexican-born fighter to win a belt in five different weight classes if he defeats Bradley. A feat only a select list of fighters, Mexican or otherwise, have been able to accomplish. His celebrity status has never higher and even at his age he is still one of the best fighters in the sport. He is extremely patriotic and taking Bradley's Welterweight championship is not a task he views as pedestrian. His legacy doesn't need solidification but patriotism, not selfishness, fuels the 40-year old fighter.
Bradley can vanquish any remaining myths about his standing in the sport with a win
Few things burn like a man on fire. Bradley has been a raging inferno doused with contempt for his naysayers who keep the flames fanned. It can be argued he gained more respect for surviving his last fight against Ruslan Provodnikov than he gained for beating the legendary Pacquiao. It is a curious situation and Bradley has had trouble understanding the logic behind it. So instead of trying to convince people with previous accomplishments he looks to overwhelm them with his present and future.
He claims he won't be nearly as reckless in his fight with Marquez as he was in his last bout...that remains to be seen. But a convincing win over Marquez will certainly solidify his case for legitimacy with any of his remaining doubters.
Action should be prevalent throughout
Few things are more exciting that a punch-filled affair on a Saturday night, unless you are the one taking the punches--but that's another story in itself. Both guys are capable of pressing the play button and moving forward to create a pace that is both palpable and aesthetically pleasing.
Bradley may implore a more defensive strategy at first especially after that freakish slug fest he endured with Provodnikov. But if Marquez wins rounds early Bradley might throw caution to the wind and trade (even though that wouldn't be a good idea) because he still has a little something to prove.
Marquez should have the option to be the aggressor or to counter-punch if Bradley proves to be wary of his power. Both guys are vulnerable to big shots and both have hit the canvas in their careers which sets things up for an entertaining evening in Las Vegas.
The phrase "fight of the year candidate" is thrown around loosely mostly as a marketing ploy to lure a few extra viewers. This fight may not live up to such hype but it certainly has the elements worthy of strong viewership. Be sure to find a way to catch it.
Warren Shaw is a NBA contributor to Dime Magazine and co-host of the weekly basketball podcast "The Baseline". He has covered various sporting events live while also conducting one on one player interviews. His passion for basketball is seconded by boxing and his work can be found on shawsports.net.
Follow him on Twitter @ShawSports
- Sports & Recreation
- Juan Manuel Marquez
- Timothy Bradley
- Manny Pacquiao