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Marquez-Bradley Fight Rumor Just Doesn't Hold Water

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COMMENTARY | Thursday's rumor du jour had to do with a high-profile welterweight clash between Juan Manuel Marquez and WBO welterweight champ, Timothy Bradley. But, unlike other rumors that seem to filter out through cyberspace and eventually die a slow death, this one appeared to have legs. After all, Marquez, himself, was the source of the info.

"I had a meeting, I spoke with my family," Marquez told ESPN Deportes. "The decision was made because I still feel good. I feel capable and I can probably do two or three more fights...They discussed two opponents for September 14: Mike Alvarado and Timothy Bradley. I like challenges, Bradley would be a difficult fight for me. Apart from being world champion it would be a challenge to fight him and win another big challenge title in a fifth division, which for me is something that fills me with pride to have the opportunity to try."

As expected, the moment the four-division world champ from Mexico City said those words, the news began flying through social media and found its way to several major boxing news websites. Marquez-Bradley would be a big fight and more than a little interesting in terms of a stylistic match-up. The internet buzz was understandable.

However, there was something fishy about the story from the very beginning.

September 14? Scheduling Marquez-Bradley on that date is a little odd. Sure, it's Mexican Independence Day weekend, but it's also the date Floyd Mayweather and his team have put aside for their next fight following the May 4 clash with Robert Guerrero.

Promoter Bob Arum, who promotes both Marquez and Bradley, has in the past begrudgingly acknowledged Mayweather's pay-per-view dominance by keeping his shows-even Manny Pacquiao shows-- far away from his former client's events. Scheduling a big fight featuring two of his company's biggest names on the same day of a Mayweather card would be business suicide. Say what you will about the aged Hall of Fame promoter, but the man is a smart businessman who wouldn't book an event so likely to tank.

A "free" HBO alternative to a Mayweather Showtime PPV would make a little bit of sense, but would the satisfaction of spiteful counter-programming outweigh the loss of mainstream attention for what should be a high-profile bout? Holding Marquez-Bradley on the same day as a Mayweather fight would make zero business sense for Arum and his company.

But maybe the odd scheduling and all the subsequent speculation about that fight date is pointless. Maybe this is all sleight of hand. It wouldn't be the first time Arum and his crew manipulated public opinion with strategically-circulated rumors.

Bradley's manager, Cameron Dunkin certainly leads credence to the idea that this is all smoke and mirrors. His response to the rumor was a great, big question mark.

"We don't know anything about it, I don't know anything about it," Dunkin told The Desert Sun. "I know Monica (Bradley's wife) and Tim don't know anything about it."

So, what appears to be happening here is one of two things: Marquez-Bradley is a distinct possibility, but far from a reality or, maybe, the whole thing is a fabrication fed to Marquez by those supposedly working with him to find the biggest, best bouts. Could the whole affair be an effort to poison any possible fight negotiations with other boxers and force Marquez back to the negotiating table for a fifth Pacquiao bout?

Marquez is supposedly ready to make a formal announcement about his next fight early next week. Then we'll see what's real and what's fantasy. Until then, fans will just have to keep their expectations in check until the contradictory statements and other inconsistencies are sorted out.

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Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico and a close follower of the sport for more than thirty years. His work can also be found on Fox Sports and as Editor-in-Chief of The Boxing Tribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing. For breaking news, additional analysis, and assorted crazy commentary, follow him on Facebook, @TheBoxingTribune or on Twitter, @BoxingBTBC.

Sources: ESPN Deportes, The Desert Sun

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