Last night (Oct. 12, 2013), at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada Timothy ‘Desert Storm’ Bradley retained his WBO Welterweight title with a Split Decision win over Mexican superstar Juan Manuel Marquez. Though the scores of 115-113-113-115 and 116-112 are very close and it was a well fought, strategic fight, I was watching the Mexican broadcast and they had Bradley ahead throughout the later stages of the fight. With the Mexican announcers unabashedly routing for their countrymen, it says a lot that they thought Marquez had not done enough to win. Though nearly a pick ’em fight, Bradley paid off at about (+120) as an underdog by the time the lines closed. Skill-wise, Bradley proved himself top tier again, displaying a style that is part Floyd Mayweather and part Andre Ward. So what does this win mean for Bradley? He moves to an undefeated 31-0 and has two split decision wins over future Hall of Famers Juan Manuel Marquez and Manny Pacquiao to bolster his resume. Whether this translates into big money fights for Bradley remains to be seen, as he does not have a massive following in the mainstream. The obvious big money fight for Bradley would be against Floyd Mayweather Jr, who recently fought at 154 lbs and is generally in synch schedule wise, but Mayweather has a list of potential opponents a mile long, and Bradley’s name has never been high on the list. Nevertheless, Bradley should start calling for the match now, because that is not only the biggest payday, but in terms of legacy, should Bradley be the man who finally takes Mayweather out, he would absolutely have to be considered one of the top fighters of this generation. Pacquiao fights next month, and should he get by Brandon Rios as expected, then a rematch with Pacquiao would also be extremely lucrative. The match would likely be overseas, but Bradley should be fine with that. He captured the WBC Light Welterweight Title in the UK and the WBO version in Canada, so he has fought ‘on the road.’ Fighting Pacquiao in a place like China would be lucrative and in neutral territory, but Bradley is mentally tough and if Pacquiao gets big money for a match in the Philippines, Bradley should take it. A rematch with Marquez is less likely. For the paydays these guys are now in the neighborhood of, this was a hard fight for a smaller piece of the pie than they will now expect. Marquez has talked retirement, but I suspect we will see Marquez back, possibly for a rematch with Pacquiao as well. Whoever handles Marquez, they should remain quiet about a rematch with Bradley, as that would be a bad idea. Marquez should either retire, or go out with a match he can win.
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