Juan Manuel Marquez wants a new challenge, and a world title in another weight class. That, he says, is why he's chosen to face Timothy Bradley on September 14, rather than take a bigger-money, fifth bout with Manny Pacquiao.
Marquez (55-6-1, 40 KO) has won titles at 126, 130, and 135 pounds. Now he seeks Bradley's 147-pound WBO title. The fight, according to promoter Bob Arum, is nearly a done deal for the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.
"[Bradley's belt is] a title which belonged to me since 2011 but I was denied in the third fight against Manny Pacquiao, and why shouldn't I go and get what's mine? ... Bradley is the best welterweight and to be the best you have to fight the best. He is an undefeated fighter, elusive, difficult, so I must work on speed. I think the key [in this fight] will be to counter his speed."
Marquez will turn 40 three weeks before the fight, and while he'll be the favorite, it would be unwise to expect Bradley (30-0, 12 KO) to fight Marquez the way he fought Ruslan Provodnikov in March. If he did, to be honest, Marquez would scorch him, and I'm sure Bradley knows that. I'm also positive Tim isn't interested in taking another beating like that. Whatever point he wanted to prove, he's proven it.
To me, it's a terrific fight. It's not going to sell a million on pay-per-view, where it will likely land, but it should do a strong number on what is a traditionally phenomenal weekend for boxing. One hopes that Golden Boy and Showtime won't counter with their own show, but if they do, it would be hard to blame them. Their Canelo-Lopez show last year was a smashing success despite Chavez-Martinez being in the same town, and on HBO PPV.