Bradley Out-Counters the Counterpuncher and Stays Undefeated

by Kieran Mulvaney

Juan Manuel Marquez, Timothy Bradley - Photo Credit: Will Hart

The crowd booed, as it did the last time Timothy Bradley won a decision in Las Vegas. But on this occasion, unlike when Bradley was awarded a hugely disputed win over Manny Pacquiao last June, the catcalls were not sentinels of controversy. The crowd was there to support Juan Manuel Marquez, had cheered every punch of his that landed and even those that missed; many – perhaps most – of those supporters doubtless genuinely believed he had won. But although this was a close contest, the right man prevailed, as Bradley remained undefeated and retained his welterweight belt on a split decision.

It had been a bout that had simmered without ever truly exploding, but was no less commendable for that. This was twelve rounds of boxing of the highest quality, two experienced and skilled combatants looking to out-think, outsmart and out-punch each other in a contest of shifting momentum.

Read the Complete Timothy Bradley vs. Juan Manuel Marquez Fight Recap on HBO.com.

Undercard Overview: A Featherweight Title Fight and a Big Debut for a Legendary Amateur

by Nat Gottlieb

The undercard for the Bradley-Marquez showdown is highlighted by a pair of intriguing featherweight bouts, including the return of former champion, Orlando Salido, making his return after losing his title to unbeaten Mikey Garcia. Equally interesting is the much-anticipated professional debut of two-time Olympic gold medalist Vasyl Lomachenko, one of the greatest amateur fighters of all time. The opening bout on the card will feature a light heavyweight fight between unbeaten contender Seanie Monaghan, a former bricklayer who turned professional just three years ago, and once-beaten Anthony Caputo-Smith.

Orlando Cruz vs. Orlando Salido:

The Mexican Salido (39-12-2, 27 KOs), a two-time champion who was the first boxer to defeat Juan Manuel Lopez, is an all-out brawler with a super-aggressive style. His opponent, Puerto Rican Orlando Cruz (20-2-1, 10 KOs), doesn't have the résumé of Salido, but stylistically will present problems for the former champion. Cruz is a southpaw with very good boxing skills who moves well in the ring. As such, he is not the ideal matchup for Salido, who prefers opponents to stand right in front of him and wage war. Salido has an enormous edge in big-fight experience over Cruz, having been in nine title bouts. The Mexican's only losses in the last nine years have been to the top-tier boxers Garcia, Juan Manuel Marquez, Cristobal Cruz, and the unbeaten Cuban sensation, Yuriorkis Gamboa.

The task facing Salido is to cut off the ring against the fleet-footed Cruz, work the Puerto Rican's body, slow those legs down, and then force him into a slugfest. In press conferences, Salido has accused Cruz of being a "runner," but the Puerto Rican says he is not going to get on his bicycle. "When I need to fight, I am going to fight," Cruz says. "When I need to box, I am going to box. I am going to be the smartest guy in the ring."

The 32-year-old Salido knows the stakes are high for him. A second straight defeat would make it hard for him to get another title fight anytime soon. He also is hoping for a rematch against Garcia, who recently moved up to junior lightweight.

Vasyl Lomachenko vs. Jose Luis Ramirez

The 25-year-old Lomachenko is taking on an unusual assignment for his pro debut. Instead of testing the pro waters with a few easy fights at four or six rounds, he will be jumping right into a 10-rounder against a featherweight who is knocking on the door of the top 10 ranks, Jose Luis Ramirez (25-3, 15 KOs). Ramirez, who traveled to the Philippines in his last fight to take on hometown hero, Rey Bautista, handed the Filipino only his third loss in 36 fights.

Lomachenko has generated an enormous amount of buzz, and justifiably so. The Ukrainian won an Olympic gold medal in both the 2008 Games in Beijing and again in London in 2012. His amateur record was an unbelievable 396-1. His only loss was to Albert Selimov in the 2007 World Championships, a defeat he avenged twice. Like several recent amateur legends who turned pro, the 25-year-old Lomachenko asked his promoter, Top Rank, to fast-track him to a championship fight. If he beats Ramirez, there's a strong possibility Lomachenko will challenge the winner of the Salido-Cruz title fight.

Seanie Monaghan vs. Anthony Caputo-Smith

In the light heavyweight bout, the 32-year-old Monaghan is taking on Caputo-Smith, who has a 14-1 record, but is something of a journeyman. Caputo-Smith's loss was to another unheralded fighter who had six defeats on his record. Monaghan fights out of Long Beach, N.Y., and is known to attract a vocal Irish-American crowd. A win over Caputo-Smith would bring the fighter and his supporters closer to a possible title fight.

 

Real Sports Interviews Orlando Cruz, Boxing's First Openly Gay Fighter

Last year, HBO's 'Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel' sat down with Orlando Cruz to discuss his decision to come out as boxing's first ever openly gay fighter. On the undercard of Saturday night's Bradley-Marquez fight, Cruz will face off against Orlando Salido for the featherweight title. As reported by Yahoo Sports' Kevin Iole, he'll do so wearing rainbow-colored trunks in support of the LGBT movement.

Watch a clip from Cruz's interview with Real Sports:

 

Beyond Pacquiao: Marquez and Bradley Eye a New Rivalry

by Eric Raskin

It is nearly impossible to talk about either Juan Manuel Marquez or Tim Bradley without talking about Manny Pacquiao. After Oct. 12, it might also be nearly impossible to talk about Marquez without talking about Bradley, or to talk about Bradley without talking about Marquez.

Pacquiao is the common thread who elevated the names of both Marquez and Bradley through his pay-per-view bouts with them, and part of what has drawn Marquez and Bradley together for their PPV-headlining showdown is their shared status as the only men to defeat Pacquiao in the last eight years. However, their victories over the Filipino icon couldn’t be more dissimilar. In December 2012, Marquez flipped the switch on Pacquiao’s senses with a single counter right hand, scoring a one-punch knockout that will be replayed for decades, perhaps centuries, to come. Six months earlier, Bradley was awarded one of the most controversial decisions in pugilistic history, a split nod over Pacquiao that, to most observers, wasn’t just debatable; it was inexplicable.

The 40-year-old Marquez (55-6-1, 40 KOs) and 30-year-old Bradley (30-0, 12 KOs, 1 No-Contest) have arrived at this destination via decidedly different angles, but here they are, both looking to build on wins over Pacquiao with the most meaningful bout they can take that doesn’t involve Pac-Man. Marquez vs. Bradley is loaded with questions, controversies, and subplots. And if their most recent performances are any indication, the action might just live up to the intrigue.

Read the Complete Timothy Bradley vs. Juan Manuel Marquez Fight Overview on HBO.com.