The announcement of a bout between the last two men to defeat Manny Pacquiao, Juan Manuel Marquez and Timothy Bradley, is one that must be celebrated within the boxing community if only because it is a pairing that makes sense both stylistically and competitively. Despite the bout being moved from it's originally scheduled date of September 14 to October 12 after the announcement of a Floyd Mayweather/Saul Alvarez bout on the same night, this is a bout that this writer is greatly anticipating, and believes that many should share that opinion.
For Bradley, this bout is another step in his attempt to rebuild his reputation in the boxing world after his decision win over Manny Pacquiao last summer was almost universally discredited due to the poor judging involved.
Bradley's first step in this reclamation project of sorts was his wild brawl with Ruslan Provodnikov earlier this year. That night, Bradley took enormous punishment at the beginning of the fight, but evened things out and eventually overwhelmed Provodnikov before withstanding one last barrage in the final moments. Bradley rightly won that bout by decision.
Taking a bout against Marquez was a good move in itself when it comes to Bradley rebuilding his reputation. Because Marquez beat Pacquiao in a manner more satisfying to the public and more definitive than any decision (like how Bradley “beat” Pacquiao), it was a wise move for Bradley to insert himself and create a match between the other man who beat Pacquiao in 2012. If nothing else, it provides the general public a reason to take a look at this bout due to neither Marquez nor Bradley being that big with average fight fans.
The reason Bradley has to rebuild his reputation at all is because he happened to win the biggest fight of his career without actually winning the fight. The percentage of people either at ringside or watching that actually believed Bradley won is so small that it defies logic that three of those would be the three people at ringside whose opinions matter the most, the judges. Bradley didn't beat Pacquiao, he knows it and everyone knows it. But because the record will always show that he did, it's a black mark on his career that needs to be redeemed.
As for Marquez, the decision to fight Bradley was a simple one. Because a fifth bout against Pacquiao and a rematch with Mayweather weren't available, Bradley was the best option for Marquez following his knockout of Pacquiao last December.
It's also a good bout for Marquez because there is the possibility that it could be his last. The bout with Bradley will be Marquez's 63rd as a pro and will take place after he has turned 40. If a fifth meeting with Pacquiao or a rematch with Mayweather can't be made, there really isn't much out there for Marquez after his bout with Bradley when you consider his age and all that he has already done in his pro career. A win for Marquez would give him something to bargain with in the hopes of making a bout with Pacquiao or Mayweather happen. Otherwise, who really knows?
Moving the bout to October 12 was a smart decision for two very big reasons. First, this bout wasn't going to beat a Mayweather bout on pay-per-view. So instead of getting crushed, this bout was moved far enough away from the Mayweather/Alvarez bout to where it will be comfortably on its own on pay-per-view. Second, this is a bout that needs to be on its own night so it can get its own attention without the media having to choose between it or the Mayweather bout. This writer anticipates that Marquez/Bradley will be much more entertaining bout than Mayweather/Alvarez.
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