Juan Manuel Marquez vs Timothy Bradley | Likely After Pacquiao vs Marquez 5?Written by Lee Cleveland
As a result of the Pacquiao-Mayweather talks, Pacquiao vs Marquez 4 was in limbo so Juan Manuel Marquez (55-6-1, 40 KO) expressed his interest in fighting Tim Bradley (29-0, 12 KO) instead.
Given everything that's happened since our interview with Tim Bradley, Marquez vs Bradley is still very much in-play if Timothy Bradley defeats Ruslan Provodnikov on March 16 and JMM decides to continue fighting after he faces off against Manny Pacquiao one more time.
What Makes Marquez vs Bradley a Possibility?
Top Rank Promotes Both Fighters
Since Bob Arum promotes both men, Marquez vs Bradley would be relatively easy to coordinate because Arum wouldn't have to negotiate with another major promoter and Top Rank would keep a lion's share of the revenue as opposed to having to split it with another promotional outfit.
WBO Welterweight Title
Tim Bradley has a world title and Juan Manuel Marquez doesn't.
Regardless of what some fighters will say, having world champion status beats being title-less. The other world champions at welterweight are Floyd Mayweather (who already thoroughly whopped Marquez), and Devon Alexander and Paul Malignaggi who are both promoted by Top Rank-rival, Golden Boy.
Who is next for Maquez after he fights Pacquiao one last time? Will he retire? How often do legendary fighters actually keep their word about retiring in the face of a lucrative, high-profile, potentially history-making bout?
Pacquiao vs Rios
There's been a lot buzz about the possibility of Manny Pacquiao vs Brandon Rios in what would surely be a blockbuster. Win or lose against Marquez in Pacquiao vs Marquez 5, Brandon remains the most likely opponent for Manny after the Pac-JMM series ends.
Of course, Rios will have to win his rematch with Mike Alvarado on March 30. No easy task.
So where does Juan Manuel Marquez go after Pacquiao vs Marquez 5? With regards to realistic, high-profile opponents, he has few options.
Revenge and/or Bragging Rights
Many believe Manny Pacquiao was robbed against Tim Bradley. Although Bradley wasn't responsible for the verdict, he's still villainized by the public and many would like nothing more than to see 'Desert Storm' get his comeuppance.
Tim Bradley, left, goes on the offensive against Manny Pacquiao
Courtesy of Chris Farina, Top Rank
Will Juan Manuel Marquez be the man to avenge Pacquiao's loss?
In an odd twist of fate, Marquez vs Bradley may garner tremendous interest among the Pacquiao faithful, some of whom "may" find themselves routing for the most unlikely fighter of them all - Juan Manuel Marquez.
Also, if Manny Pacquiao silences Marquez in fight No. 5, JMM can regain "some" bragging rights by defeating Tim Bradley, the man who beat the Filipino star. Moreover, Pacquiao's old title would be in Marquez's possession.
Tim Bradley's Status
Like him or not, Mr. Bradley was a top 10 pound-for-pound fighter even before his win over Manny Pacquiao. Ranked No. 9 on RING Magazine and FightSaga's Pound-for-Pound lists, Bradley is unbeaten, has already fought on PPV and has tremendous name-recognition as a result of the controversy that ensued after his title-taking win over Pacquiao.
Aside from Pacquiao, Mayweather and Rios, there are few fighters in the jr welterweight and welterweight divisions worthy (marketability-wise, not skills-wise) of fighting Juan Manuel Marquez in a lucrative, high-profile showdown.
And while one could make a strong case for Danny Garcia, Amir Khan and Robert Guerrero, they are Golden Boy fighters and only the former owns a major world title. Moreover, none are ranked as high as Tim Bradley, pound-for-pound.
Defeating Tim Bradley would be a major coup for anyone, even Juan Manuel Marquez.
Bradley vs Marquez - "Let's Make it Happen"
In his interview with FightSaga 13 months ago, Tim Bradley was very receptive to facing Juan Manuel Marquez whom he called a "great fighter."
Upon hearing from Top Rank Juan Manuel Marquez called him out, Bradley responded, "Let's make it happen."
"I definitely accept the challenge... I feel that I have the tools to beat Marquez... I feel I have the speed and athleticism (to win). I know Marquez is a great counter-puncher but I can counter-punch too. I can make adjustments in the ring and I'm very aggressive at times and can box as well."
But even then (pre-Pacquiao vs Bradley), Tim was reluctant to say that even a decisive win over the legendary Juan Manuel Marquez would yield him the high praise he believes he's worthy of.
"Marquez will be 39 (now 40). If I beat Marquez I probably won't get the credit I deserve."
Lee is Managing Editor of FightSaga.com, a student of the Sweet Science and longtime boxing fan.
A gym rat in the 1990s, Lee was trained by 1976 Olympic Silver Medalist Charles Mooney and several retired seasoned pros. He was also a sparring partner for former WBA Super Middleweight Champion Steve Little who upset Michael Nunn for the WBA Super Middleweight Title in '94.
Lee created FightSaga.com to honor and preserve boxing's rich heritage, chronicle the achievements of top fighters, celebrate the legacy of big fights and provide a fun, educational experience for fight fans.