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.