After the highly anticipated megabout between Floyd Mayweather and Canelo Alvarez turned out to be a one-sided disappointment, next month’s big fight could end up being the best of 2013. Juan Manuel Marquez and Timothy Bradley will square off in what is expected to be a hotly contested encounter on Oct.12 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.
The WBO welterweight title will be on the line, which Bradley took from Manny Pacquiao in June 2012. Bradley defended the belt once, retaining it with a unanimous decision over Ruslan Provodnikov in March. The win wasn’t as easy as many thought it would be. Bradley almost got knocked out twice and was knocked down in the final round.
Bradley and Marquez are responsible for two consecutive Pacquiao losses. Marquez knocked out Pacquiao in December with a hard punch that dropped the Filipino star in the sixth round. The current welterweight champ’s victory over Pac-Man was very controversial, with most experts giving Pacquiao an easy victory, instead of the split decision that was awarded to Bradley. When neither boxer agreed to face Pacquiao in a rematch, he scheduled a fight with Brandon Rios for November.
Marquez hasn’t stepped inside the ring since he defeated Pacquiao. Nearly 20 years into his professional career, the Mexican boxer picked up his biggest win. Now, he’ll look to take the welterweight title at 40 years old.
There may be a 10-year age difference between the two boxers, but many experts are anticipating a very even fight. Marquez has been named a slight favorite, but nothing compared to the other major PPV bouts of this year. Mayweather was a 3/1 favorite over Alvarez, and Pacquiao’s odds have him at 4/1 against Rios.
After spending two decades in the ring, Marquez appears to be improving with age. It’s been seven and a half years since he lost to someone other than Mayweather or Pacquiao. The undefeated Bradley remains confident, but realizes the test he faces in his more experienced opponent.
“Marquez is a late-bloomer who got better and better,” Bradley said. “He is a legend and the greatest Mexican fighter of his era. He has a great trainer in Nacho Beristain, but they will never stop my will to win.”
Top Rank promoter Bob Arum expects the bout to sell around 500,000 PPV buys. Pacquiao-Marquez IV sold over 1 million buys, while Bradley’s bout against Pac-Man did 700,000.
"We think the lowest is 400,000, with a shot at 600,000,” Arum said in April. “Marquez is now bigger in Mexico than Chavez Jr. after the way he beat Manny, and Tim is coming off that great fight with Provodnikov. People know a good fight."
The bout was originally scheduled for Sept.14, but moved because of Mayweather vs. Alavrez. It will be broadcast on HBO PPV.
Betting Odds: Marquez -150, Bradley+130
Prediction: Marquez by unanimous decision