COMMENTARY | After defeating yet another sure shot Hall of Fame fighter in Juan Manuel Marquez, Timothy Bradley stated that he belonged among the top three pound for pound boxers today alongside Floyd Mayweather and Andre Ward. With victories on his portfolio over Manny Pacquiao and Marquez, perhaps he should be given the respect he feels that he deserves.
Unbeaten with a record of 31-0 (12 KOs), Bradley has defeated former champions including Devon Alexander, Kendall Holt, Joel Casamayor, Lamont Peterson, Junior Witter and the aforementioned Marquez and Pacquiao. To deny Bradley a place at the pound for pound table at this point would be absurd.
Despite the controversial Pacquiao decision, Bradley has done enough to defeat the best available fighters in his weight class. And in his victory against the same Marquez, who flattened Manny Pacquiao last November, Bradley demonstrated restraint to go along with a flickering jab, exceptional movement and solid defense. It was a completely different display than the gutsy one Bradley showcased against Ruslan Provodnikov. That performance was as violent, gritty and dangerous of a fight as you can expect. It wasn't a restrained game plan that was necessary to upend Marquez. Instead, Bradley fought to prove that he could bang with the best of them. And bang he did. Almost to the point where years where shaved off of his precious career. Nevertheless, he won a fight doing what he felt he had to in order to take home the victory.
Who else in boxing today can say they have victories over Marquez and Pacquiao? Nobody. He handed Devon Alexander and Lamont Peterson their first professional losses. He is one of only two fighters to stop Joel Casamayor (Marquez being the other). On paper, Bradley shouldn't be struggling to gain the respect of fight fans. Yet, he is.
When Marquez' trainer Nacho Beristain stated at the post-fight press conference that Bradley is the only unbeaten fighter with two losses, it was viewed by many as a classless act. However, there may be some merit to what Beristain is suggesting and the reason why Bradley isn't among the top three fighters in the world today.
Obviously, Bradley's victory against Pacquiao will remain in question. Aside from that, he hasn't exactly dominated the competition. A flip of the coin here and a few close rounds going the other way there could change Bradley's fortunes drastically. The victories over Marquez, Provodnikov, Pacquiao and Witter were all decided by a single round. It would be an easier argument to make for Bradley had he swept through competition like Mayweather and Ward have during their unbeaten careers. Bradley doesn't possess game changing power nor does he do anything exceptional. He's a very well rounded fighter that does just enough to win. That, in itself, is reason enough for people to scoff when he makes statements suggesting that he belongs in the top three on the pound for pound list. It is the reason why he will still find himself fighting for respect. Winning by the skin of your teeth will not place Bradley in the greatest boxers of our generation conversation.
So where does Bradley stand? It's anyone's guess. As long as he continues to win, nobody can deny him. They will try, but until that precious '0' is blemished, he can still boldly exclaim that he should be standing alongside the best boxers in the world and should figure skate into the boxing hall of fame. A lot will hinge on his next few fights. It is unlikely that he'll get a crack at Mayweather or even some of the other top 140 and 147 fighters including Adrien Broner, Robert Guerrero, Danny Garcia and Lucas Matthysse thanks to the ongoing cold war between Top Rank and Golden Boy. Perhaps a showdown with the winner out of Manny Pacquiao and Brandon Rios could help clear up Bradley's foggy career.
Until then, Timothy Bradley will continue to have to fight for respect until it can no longer be denied.
Andreas Hale is a former editor at websites including BET.com and HipHopDX.com. Today, he resides in the fight capital of the world and has covered boxing and MMA for mainstream media outlets such as MTV.com and Jay-Z's LifeandTimes.com, as well as die-hard outlets, including FightNews.com, Fight! Magazine, Ultimate MMA, CagePotato.com and others.
You can follow him on Twitter (@AndreasHale).
- Sports & Recreation
- Manny Pacquiao
- Timothy Bradley
- Juan Manuel Marquez
- Lamont Peterson
- Floyd Mayweather