Tim Bradley decisions Marquez and finally gets his respect
By Peter Wells
Miguel Vazquez, Kendall Holt, Lamont Peterson, Luis Carlos Abregu, Devon Alexander, Manny Pacquiao, Ruslan Provodnikov and now Juan Manuel Marquez as well as others. Respect for Timothy Bradley has been long, long overdue, but at last one of the best fighters on the planet is finally being honoured the credit he has merited for many years.
Bradley added the legendary Mexican’s name to his already impressive resume with a split decision victory that was clearly unanimous – there were many close rounds but Marquez winning on one judge’s card was shocking. But Bradley won’t mind, the evidence was on display for all to see, Bradley proved the doubters wrong and suddenly the Palm Springs boxer is the public’s front runner to be Floyd Mayweather’s next opponent.
Marquez entered as the favourite following his destruction of Manny Pacquiao but found himself at the wrong end of a Bradley master class, the unbeaten American’s hand and foot speed gave Marquez fits all fight, while his ring generalship was at a level Marquez would admire.
The opening rounds were controlled by Bradley who jabbed and moved effortlessly, Marquez was never in range while Bradley snapped in the occasional right hand that very rarely missed its destination. In the irregular exchanges Bradley returned fire well, in most instances it was the American that had the last say as he showed glimpses of his own mean streak.
By the 5th Marquez had begun to find the odd combination but while many rounds were close it was Bradley that always did that little extra – making Marquez miss or generally throwing more leather. The body language told it all, Bradley’s confidence was flowing while Marquez’s head began to drop, and he cut a frustrated figure at the end of each round – even those stanza’s he won.
Both fighters should earn credit for their abilities to make the other miss as the rounds became harder to judge. As we entered the championship rounds Bradley was clearly ahead and Marquez was in need of a stoppage if he wanted to claim the WBO Welterweight title.
Marquez won the final 2 rounds on work rate alone but it was Juan Manuel who almost hit the canvas in the final seconds as Bradley rocked the Mexican back onto his heels with a perfectly timed left hook during an exchange. I had Bradley up 116-113 at the final bell.
The scorecards of 115-113 and 116-112 to Bradley saved boxing from another black eye as judge Glenn Feldman scored the fight 115-113 in favour of Marquez – sometimes watching the fight and not listening exclusively to the fans is the best way to judge a fight.
With the sensational victory Bradley improves to 31-0(12) while Juan Manuel Marquez sees his record drop to 55-7-1(40).
On the undercard Orlando Salido dropped and stopped Orlando Cruz in a Mexico vs Puerto Rico battle for the WBO Featherweight title. Salido hurt Cruz several times but the warrior inside kept him in the fight despite taking a vast amount of punishment.
In the 7th a right hand followed by a left uppercut left Cruz keeling over on the canvas, Kenny Bayless rightly waved off the count. Salido moves to 40-12-2(28) while Cruz falls to 20-3-1(10).
On his debut amateur sensation Vasyl Lomachenko destroyed seasoned contender Jose Ramirez 25-4(15) in stunning fashion. The Mexican was in big trouble in the opener from a body shot, before bouncing back taking the fight to the Ukrainian.
Lomachenko’s hand speed was astonishing and he dropped Ramirez again in the 4th, this time the Mexican wasn’t getting up. With the win Lomachenko 1-0(1) is in line to take on Orlando Salido in just his 2nd fight but the once in a lifetime fighter – or maybe one half of a twice in a lifetime fighter as Guillermo Rigondeaux hounds the division below – would be wise to put rounds in the bag first and there are plenty of decent contenders to give Lomachenko the experience in the pro game he needs to add to his undoubted talent.
A fight between himself and fellow amateur great Rigo has fans biting their nails in anticipation. A rivalry for the history books could be upon us in the foreseeable future. It’s not every era that two of boxing’s greatest amateurs of all time haunt the sport at the same time while being separated by just one weight class.
So while Lomachenko is already a heavy favourite for success, Bradley has always been a dark horse of the sport but now it seems time for this Stallion of the ring to soak up the plaudits coming his way. It’s time to accept that Timothy Bradley is for real.
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