By Luis Sandoval
Timothy Bradley (31-0, 12KOs) added yet another hall of fame name to his resume as he defeated Juan Manuel Marquez (55-7-1, 40KOs) by split decision with scores of 115-113 for each fighter and a deciding scorecard of 116-112 for Bradley.
Bradley may never receive full credit for his victory over Manny Pacquiao but there shouldn’t be any controversy in his victory over Marquez as he simply out boxed and out worked Juan Manuel Marquez over 12 rounds.
Tim was both aggressive and used his boxing skill to both attack and evade Marquez throughout the contest. Even though he was the champion and undefeated, Bradley once again was an underdog but he proved he’s one of the best fighters today scoring one of the biggest victories of his career.
Many didn’t expect Bradley to fight as aggressive as he did against Ruslan Provodnikov but he once again came out looking for a fight in the very first round. Bradley moved forward as Marquez looked for countering opportunities and he found some as he was able to land two solid inside left uppercuts on the charging Bradley.
Bradley was aggressive but not reckless in his attack in this fight as he appeared to be faster on both hand and foot over the 40 year old Marquez. Proof was seen as early as the 2nd round as both men traded in the final seconds with Bradley getting the better of the exchange.
Marquez is one of the best counter punchers in the game but he simply couldn’t capitalize on Bradley coming forward as he was highly inactive and seldom used his jab. He was having success landing some good counter shots on Bradley but little by little, Bradley began to neutralize Marquez’s offense.
Bradley used his jab beautifully as it helped keep Marquez from coming in and also set up his offense when he chose to attack. By the 6th round, Bradley appeared to have fallen into a comfortable rhythm and landed a hard flush right hand on Marquez for good measure. The action wasn’t consistent but both fighters had their moments.
Maybe feeling a sense of urgency, Marquez came out much more aggressively in the 9th round and it paid off as he was able to mount a successful attack and land some of his best shots in the fight. The 10th round would produce some great action as Marquez landed a left hook while Bradley answered with a right hand that put Marquez off balance.
Bradley appeared to simply be too active and boxed when he needed to and exchanged when he wanted to. Even when Marquez would try to land, he would often over extend as Bradley would simply move out of harm’s way and resume where he left off.
The championship rounds would see both fighters having their moments but things really heated up in the 12th and final round. Marquez controlled most of the three minutes but as the seconds wound down, both fighters decided to exchange and let it all hang out. Both fighters let their hands go but it would be Bradley who would land a big left hook that put Marquez on his heels as he fought to stay on his feet; it was almost an exclamation point for Bradley as he may not have won the round but got the better of another exchange.
While most media had Bradley winning, Marquez and his team felt they got a bad decision once again. During the post fight press conference both Marquez and trainer Ignacio “Nacho” Beristain expressed their disagreement with the decision.
“Bradley is the only undefeated fighter with two losses” Beristain would say when he took the podium.
With a loss tonight, Marquez missed out on the opportunity to be the first Mexican fighter to win five titles in five different weight classes. He fought for the same belt against Pacquiao in 2011 but didn’t receive the decision then either.
For Bradley, this puts him a different category as this was a career highlight victory over another fighter who is a sure future hall of a famer. A Fight of the Year candidate bout against Provodnikov in March and a victory over Marquez will go a long way to put those bad memories of the Pacquiao fight to rest.
Bradley is both undefeated, a champion and ready and willing to continue facing the best. This victory should elevate his status in the sport and Bradley made sure he let everyone know he’s now on the pound for pound list.
“I told you I only fight best in the world. I’m top 3 in the world. Floyd [Mayweather], Andre [Ward], and Tim Bradley baby” said Bradley after the fight.
As for Marquez, he assures he will still try to achieve his goal of winning his fifth title in a fifth weight class and even though he didn’t win, he felt proud of the performance he put on.
Orlando Salido (40-12-2, 28KOs) may have been dominated in his last outing against Mikey Garcia but he got back to his winning ways as he knocked out Orlando Cruz (20-3-1, 10KOs) in the 7th round to regain the WBO Featherweight title.
The Salido we are accustomed to seeing who uses immense amounts of pressure and activity to wear down his opponents showed up and Cruz eventually met the same fate his countryman Juan Manuel Lopez did when he faced the tough Mexican warrior.
Salido wasted no time as he applied pressure from the opening bell and stalked Cruz while ripping him with shots to the body and looping right hands to the head. Cruz used his legs and movement early on to deal with the charging Salido but it wasn’t enough to keep him off him. Salido’s right hand was landing continuously on Cruz who surprisingly took the shots well for most of the contest.
In the 4th round, Salido had his most dominate and offensive round of the fight as he threw and landed his looping right hand and finished off by going downstairs on Cruz. If Cruz was going to use his legs, Salido was going to make sure he zapped them by never abandoning his dedicated body attack.
Cruz stopped moving in the 5th round and tried to stand his ground by meeting Salido in the middle of the ring. It was a good effort but he often ended up trapped in a corner with his back against the ropes as Salido was the one letting his hands go.
In the 7th round, Salido would once again trap Cruz in a corner and landed a monster right hand followed by a short inside left uppercut that put Cruz down for the count. Cruz would initially go to his knees but then dropped all the way down as it revealed the true damage of Salido’s combination. Referee Kenny Bayless would stop his count and waived the fight off as it was obvious Cruz was not getting up.
You can follow Luis Sandoval on Twitter @Truewest007.