It’s not speed chess, but it might be pretty close to it when Southern California’s Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley meets Mexico’s legendary Juan Manuel Marquez.
Speedy WBO welterweight titlist Bradley (30-0, 12 Kos) defends against the scientific wizardry of Marquez (55-6-1, 40 Kos; seen searching into each others' soul on Wednesday, in Chris Farina-Top Rank photo) on Saturday, Oct. 12, at Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. HBO will televise the Top Rank card.
Whenever two elite technicians step into the ring against each other fans seem hesitant to laud the fight as must-see fare. But that’s always the case with Marquez, a scientific counter-puncher who in the past several fights has increased the artillery.
Mexico City’s Marquez with his pencil thin Cantinflas-like mustache and beady eyes zeroes in on opponents’ flaws like a laser-guided missile. Once he detects flaws or weaknesses the electrons in his brain kick into overdrive and uppercuts or devastating right cross bombs find their mark. Remember the Juan Diaz or Manny Pacquiao fights?
“Gotta watch out for those uppercuts,” said Bradley, who readily admits watching tons of footage on the fighter known as “Dinamita.” “He can catch you with that at any time.”
Bradley with his dark bronze domed head and ready smile blinds opponents with his speedy combinations and dazzling footwork. And if an opponent tries to walk through his punches they end up on the seat of their pants looking up. Remember Junior Witter or Devon Alexander?
“He’s very fast,” says Marquez, who had trouble with speedy fighters in the past such as Floyd Mayweather and Chris John. “This is a big moment for me. I can become the first Mexican fighter to win five world titles in five weight classes.”
One added dimension is that both prizefighters are considered among the top Pound for Pound boxers in the world. It doesn’t happen very often when elite pugilists match up. Marquez and Pacquiao were probably the last to clash in the ring.
Bradley’s undefeated record is at risk but there’s more to gain from defeating someone as highly considered as Marquez.
“I’ve always been a fan of Juan Manuel Marquez. I knew some day down the road we would be meeting,” said Bradley, 30. “I study his tapes like a madman. I watch them over and over.”
Despite beating Pacquiao and Ruslan Provodnikov, there still are critics of Bradley’s abilities. He knows a victory over Marquez would boost his own credibility a long way.
“It’s the type of fight I’ve been waiting for,” said Bradley, who spurned fights with Mike Alvarado and Pacquiao. “If I win this, who knows? Maybe Floyd Mayweather?
Bradley laid out the boxing landscape and asked who else is out there for Mayweather after he defeated Robert Guerrero and Saul Alvarez?
“It’s still too early to talk Mayweather, but after I beat Marquez, why not?” said Bradley. “The big fights are out there if I beat Marquez.”
Would you pay to see Manny Pacquiao vs Saul Alvarez?