Five keys for Juan Manuel Marquez
Plotting a path to victory in Saturday's title bout against Timothy Bradley Jr.
After an incredible knockout victory over Manny Pacquiao in his most recent fight in December, Juan Manuel Marquez knows that the past is the past.
Timothy Bradley Jr.- Juan Manuel Marquez
Where: Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas
When: Saturday, 9 p.m. ET/PT
TV: HBO PPV
Marquez (55-6-1, 40 KOs), a four-time world champion, will try to earn his fifth title Saturday night (HBO PPV, 9 p.m. ET) at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, where he faces welterweight titlist Timothy Bradley in a 12-round bout.
A defeat against Bradley (30-0, 12 KOs) could bring the end to the long career of Marquez, but a victory would make him the only Mexican fighter to win world titles in five different divisions.
Here are five keys to victory for Marquez against Bradley:
Master of disguise
|Marquez will be facing a complicated opponent in Bradley. Waiting and counter punching, as is usually his plan, will not suffice this time. Bradley will not play along to that, and thus the Mexican fighter will have to take the lead. How? Hooks to the midsection, pressure upstairs and variations in his pacing. Retreating quickly to make Bradley confident before timing him with hard counter shots when he's not expecting it may be Marquez's road to a knockout victory.|
Don't play his game
|Closing the alleys through which Bradley usually escapes is easily said, but hard to get done. Against an opponent who dominates the art of masking his movements, Marquez must be very effective when cutting off the ring. At the same time he will have to avoid the punches from various angles. This unexpected hammering with which Bradley piles up points and usually wins fights will be his chosen tool once again and Marquez can't allow that.|
Plan for the long haul
|We all believe that, unless a punch lands from another galaxy, the fight with Marquez will go the distance. At 40 years of age and with an opponent 10 years younger, Marquez will have to regulate his energy output. If he can't find his rhythm and is unable to hurt Bradley by the fifth round, Marquez will have to work to win over the judges. That will take the veteran fighter scoring with power punches, taking over the center of the ring and closing each round strongly.|
Are you ready for some boxing?
|Is Marquez motivated enough to continue in this business? He has already retired and came back, rejected a fifth fight against Pacquiao for an astronomical purse and accepted to face Bradley for less money. He even indicated that if he loses he may leave the game. What could we read from that? It's difficult to answer, but something holds true: The essential key to this fight has a lot to do with the Mexican fighter's mindset. He has to give his best and come out motivated. Otherwise, this will be an uphill battle.|
In Nacho we trust
|Marquez's trainer, Ignacio "Nacho" Beristain, went on record saying he didn't want this fight. "Timothy Bradley is too complicated," he said. Putting together a strategy for this battle will take the best from this veteran trainer. But beware, Marquez's history has taught us he has based most of his greatest victories on the teachings of his trainer. So Beristain will have to work extra hard, because a victory against Bradley may depend on him.|