By Charles Jay
Juan Manuel Marquez has a win over Manny Pacquiao under his belt. So does Timothy Bradley. What will happen when these two get together? That question gets answered on Saturday night at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas as they battle for the WBO welterweight title.
It’s scheduled for twelve rounds and will be seen on HBO Pay Per View.
In the boxing betting odds that have been established on this fight at America’s Bookie, the 40-year-old Marquez is the favorite:
WBO Welterweight Title – 12 Rounds
Saturday, October 13
Thomas & Mack Center – Las Vegas
Juan Manuel Marquez -142
Timothy Bradley +122
Over 11.5 Rounds -220
Under 11.5 Rounds +185
There are, one supposes, good reasons why neither of these guys is fighting Manny Pacquiao in a rematch. In a way, they involve money.
Marquez, who beat Pacquiao by sixth-round knockout when he fought Manny last, has taken the position that he doesn’t really need to fight Pacquiao again, and isn’t all that interested in it. This could be a bargaining tactic, because he would understandably want a ton of money for it. Bradley reportedly wanted $10 million for a Pacquiao rematch, but he’s got less leverage for a couple of reasons – one is that his decision win was widely criticized for its poor judging (the infamous CJ Ross was in on that one) and therefore tainted; another reason is that he is not known as a fighter with a lot of drawing power, and therefore doesn’t really hold the cards, so to speak.
As for the speculation some boxing bettors may have about what will happen to the winner of this fight, no one can really tell, because a meeting with Pacquiao would not be out of the question but so would other possibilities, depending on what is agreed to between other parties in the next four of five months or so.
There was some controversy surrounding this fight because of the drug testing protocol that was supposedly agreed to but was shelved. The Nevada Commission will take this task over, and all of this is of concern to Bradley, who can see, like America’s Bookie customers also can, that Marquez, even at this advanced age, has gained strength and bulk working with “coach” Angel Heredia, who is an admitted steroid pusher and government informant.
But you have to wonder at what point this starts to become a psychological disadvantage for Bradley, if he is thinking in the back of his mind that the other fighter might be “on” something, and as he is passing the drug tests, what he is doing to get around it. Concentrating on what HE has to do should be enough to occupy his mind.
Boxing betting aficionados can try to handicap this fight all they want. They can come up with ways Bradley can win that maybe DON’T involve unusual help from the judges. But there is one thing that has to stick out, and it boils down to something very simple – Bradley throws round punches while Marquez throws straight punches. And if you are throwing round punches against a pretty good and accurate counterpuncher with all the experience in the world, and a cerebral fighter besides, you had better be throwing them hard.
Well, our book on Bradley (the +122 underdog at America’s Bookie) is this – early in the fight he can be rather crisp with his punches. He may even throw some nice straight right hands. But that doesn’t matter al that much, because it is highly doubtful he is going to do something to take Marquez out in the early rounds. Bradley can’t sustain that kind of punching or any kind of meaningful power; over the course of the fight that will dissipate. He will throw round punches at Marquez and they will be countered with shots straight down the middle from a guy who has a pretty good chance to walk through whatever Bradley’s got to offer.
Seriously, those looking at these tight boxing odds should know that Bradley’s best chance in this fight is to just out-hustle Marquez, which means that he’ll have to be quicker, land a few, and get out before Marquez has a chance to strike back. He needs to do that enough times per round in the majority of rounds. That can conceivably be done, because it is conceivable that he could exact a speed edge.
But you have to remember something about guys who throw those round punches like Bradley: it generally takes longer for those punches to get there and can take longer to “get out.” And if he misses, he can be in worse position as far as balance is concerned. The boxing lines suggest a fight that will go the distance, but if you’re betting this at America’s Bookie and are looking at that over/under in rounds you may want to consider that in his last fight, back in March, Bradley was hurt almost every time he was hit solidly by Ruslan Provodnikov, who was supposed to a stepping stone to something else. Bradley has mentioned that he was dizzy and had slurred speech for weeks after that fight, which was against someone who was moving up from 140 pounds, his natural division (where he is about to fight Mike Alvarado).
That’s not a good omen. What kind of damage can Marquez do if he wears Bradley down a bit and then hits him with some sharp punches late? The call here is Marquez by decision, but cashing on that +185 price may not be out of the question.
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