Juan Manuel Marquez is a great fighter. But he's only great going in one direction - backwards. If Bradley forces Marquez to chase him around the ring it's going to be a major problem for Dinamita. And while Bradley doesn't usually fight that way, it is in his skill set. So who do you favor in a fight like that, a 30 year old or a 40 year old? I'm going with the 30 year old "Desert Storm." It also doesn't help Marquez's cause that he's compared this fight to two bouts in which he's lost (his pro debut and first world title shot against Freddie Norwood). Marquez had to chase Norwood back when he was only 26 and couldn't get the job done then. It was a controversial decision, sure, but I scored the fight for Norwood and I know Bradley can do just as well if not better.
Conversely if Bradley fights aggressively and gives Marquez the type of fight he wants, Tim might go to sleep much like Pacquiao the year before. However, the age is still a factor and Bradley is clearly the busier fighter. I feel he'll outpoint Marquez no matter what he does and the outcome just comes down to whether or not he gets caught in the process. I give Marquez a much better chance of catching an aggressively Bradley but I truly believe Bradley is going to show Marquez the respect he deserves and refrain from fighting in such a manner beyond brief periods. Thus my best guess is Bradley by decision. Bradley by decision.
This is a very good matchup between a great old fighter (Marquez) and a better-than-good but probably-not-great fighter who is neither old nor young. I expect Max Kellerman to simplify that into GREAT. OLD. FIGHTER. AND A GOOD. YOUNG. FIGHTER. Kellerman TKO-3 my patience.
Neither of these guys line up to be an easy matchup stylistically for the other. Marquez is best as a counter-puncher, and while Bradley could do the volume punching and perhaps lend himself well to JMM's strengths, chances are Tim is a lot less stupid than that would make him, because that's about the only way that I think Marquez should be considered a serious favorite.
Look, if Bradley fights like he did against Ruslan Provodnikov, yes, Marquez will beat him and probably stop him. But Bradley's no idiot. My guess is he gives Marquez hell in a fight that never quite becomes a high-octane thrill fest. This is a fall drama, not a summer blockbuster. Bradley may have an argument at the end of the fight, but I think Marquez will put him on the canvas at some point, and that could be the difference on the scorecards. Marquez by close decision.
You know, boxing picks can be tricky sometimes. Because so often there's this clear, obvious pick right in front of you. Like here - Marquez KO. See, it's right there, and it makes sense. He's the all-around beter fighter. He has tremendous counter punching ability. He works the body beautifully. He is riding high off the best performance of a career filled with great performances. Meanwhile, Bradley is coming off a fight where a far lesser man beat him up pretty badly, and we are yet to see the results of that beating on Bradley as a fighter. And yet... I can't help thinking of the way Bradley still managed to never give up and won that fight. But is just heart enough to get him by Marquez? My gut says yes. My mind says no way. I like to go with my gut sometimes, but the evidence is just too strong. Marquez KO-10.
Of all the elite, well-put-together match-ups so far in 2012 - and, really, this is as good a year as we've seen in quite some time - this is absolutely the most intriguing of the lot. It's a fantastic mesh of styles, at least on paper.
Boxing's forever-misleading triangle theory tells us that Pacquiao looked like he outpointed Bradley, before Marquez well and truly cleaned his clock. Realistically, it means little, of course. What's more pertinent, perhaps, is that Marquez - truly one of the great technicians of the past couple of decades - is coming off a career-best, ghost-laying win, while Bradley may never quite be the same after willingly and repeatedly getting punched in the head back in March. It may not matter, of course - Bradley's will to win is so impressively steadfast it's almost disconcerting, and the words '40-year-old, ten-month-inactive Marquez' raises obvious doubts.
Here's what I don't see happening: I don't see a brawl, and I don't see it ending inside the distance. Bradley, let's not forget, can be an ugly fighter to watch, and a more cautious, sensible strategy here could well force Marquez out of his counter-punching comfort zone. Assuming he'll just take the bait is far too simplistic for a boxer that intelligent, though. If he hasn't lost a step, Marquez will bemuse Bradley, and he'll land the more eye-catching shots on the inside, but he won't be looking to detonate the huge overhand rights frequently, simply because he hasn't got an opponent as open to it as Pacquiao proved to be. Marquez by tight UD.
Marquez is Marquez, and Bradley is an in-shape, high-volume puncher, so this fight will be a banger, no doubt. However, even though Bradley has a significant age advantage, this is still a match between a good young fighter and a great older fighter, and when those two forces collide, typically the great old fighter prevails.
I suspect that Bradley will take the edge early, and perhaps even catch the Mexican off-balance with a shot that could knock him down. But Bradley simply doesn't have the power to go punch-for-punch with Marquez (even a 40-year-old version) and he will begin to wear down as Marquez adjusts his game plan and starts snaking hard shots under and around his guard.
Bradley is tough, and Pacquaio couldn't knock him out, but I'm not sure how much his bout with Ruslan Provodnikov took from him - he's been candid about the brain trauma he suffered, and another all-out war could have serious consequences.
A smarter man might take this to mean that he should move and box the whole bout, but Bradley is a fighter, and he will come forward and try to prove once more that he is worth the mantle he holds. This, unfortunately for him, will lead to his downfall. Marquez UD-12.
This should be a close and entertaining fight. I feel Bradley has a habit of fighting to a similar level to that of his opponent, which means he should produce a better and more disciplined performance against Marquez than he did against Ruslan Provodnikov, who he got dragged into a war with. Marquez is better technically than Bradley, combine that with the way he looks to be physically stronger and punching harder now than at any time previously and you have to give him the edge in this fight.
Bradley won't be beaten easily but Marquez seems to have the advantage in every department and should be able to work his way to a hard-fought unanimous points decision. Marquez UD (around 116-112).