Hall of Fame broadcaster Al Bernstein will be hosting Boxing Channel’s coverage of Timothy Bradley vs. Juan Manuel Marquez this week, and the ringside expert told TSS he expects to see a busy version of Tim Bradley come fight night.
“I think it’s an interesting fight, and it’s going to be a good fight,” said Bernstein. “I think that Tim Bradley feels he has something to prove. He found a little of his mojo in my opinion. He’s become much more of a boxer-puncher and in all the right ways. He didn’t show it as much in the [Ruslan] Provodnikov fight because of the layoff and because once he got hurt he had to fight back and do what he did to squeak by in the fight. “
Bradley (above, in Chris Farina-Top Rank photo) was out on his feet during the first two rounds of the barnburner against Provodnikov last March, but rallied to win a unanimous decision victory. Bernstein believes Bradley will use his feet much better against Marquez.
“I think we’ll see Bradley able to control the space in the ring a bit better, and I think that’s why this is such a compelling fight.”
Marquez is coming off a career-defining win. His sixth round knockout over archrival Manny Pacquiao last December, his first win in four tries, has the legendary Mexican champion contemplating retirement.
“Marquez has talked about this being his last fight which I think is an interesting subplot here. Usually when people say that about a fight, they’re not as invested in that fight, even though they want to be. Now in Marquez’s case, he such a warrior and has such pride that I don’t know if that’s the case, but it might have some ramifications.”
Bernstein told TSS he leans Bradley in the bout, but said experts are probably split down the middle among the two.
“You could probably line up ten people, and you’d get five predictions for Marquez and five for Bradley.”
Despite being 40 years old to Bradley’s 30, Bernstein said Marquez was still as dangerous as ever.
“Marquez, even at this advanced age, still has the ability to pick the punches that matter and throw them. We did see in the last fight with Pacquiao that combinations, and things like that, kind of freeze Marquez a little bit more now that he’s a little older. And Pacquiao was doing well in that fight, and looked like he was headed potentially to a win when he got hit with that right hand.”
The right hand, of course, was the one that stole the show. Pacquiao was left face down in the dirt while Marquez celebrated a picture perfect knockout win. So how can Bradley keep from ending up like Pacquiao?
“Bradley will want to be the boxer-puncher in this fight, throw lots of combinations to try and freeze Marquez.”
“I think Marquez believes if Provodnikov can hurt Bradley, then he can as well.”