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17 SEPTEMBER 2014

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Bradley Edges Marquez In Vegas/Salido Ko’s Cruz


Bradley retained WBO crown in Vegas
Bradley retained WBO crown in Vegas

By Mike Sloan ringside in Las Vegas: Timothy Bradley entered tonight’s contest with a lot to prove to the boxing world. As great a fighter as he is, “Desert Storm” has yet to solidify himself as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters on the planet. Though he is sponsored by athletics giant Nike and others, he has yet to catch on with the casual fight fan; he’s far from a household name.

 

Most disagree with the victory he was awarded over Manny Pacquiao last June and even though he survived one of the most grueling battles in recent memory earlier this year – against Ruslan Provodnikov – he is largely overlooked. All that was supposed to change inside the Thomas & MackCenter against future Hall of Famer Juan Manuel Marquez, as long as he beat him.

 

After twelve rounds that were more like a chess match than the torrid barnburner most anticipated, Bradley had his hand raised in victory. He was given the win via split decision in a fight that he appeared to some to have won convincingly, though in reality several of the rounds were very close.

 

Bradley utilized a superb gameplan of sticking and moving and countering Marquez’ own counters behind his pesky left jab. Whenever the Mexican tried to goad Bradley into a firefight, the American simply circled out. Bradley tore dozens of punishing hooks to the body and popped Marquez with several counter right hands; Marquez was continuously second-guessing Bradley’s attacks.

 

Things weren’t as smooth as silk for Bradley, though. Marquez seemed to figure him out in the later rounds and began landing hard right and left hands upstairs. Some of Marquez’ punches stopped Bradley in his tracks, and it appeared as though Marquez was about to turn the fight in his favor at any second. But Bradley stuck to his guns and refused to engage in the sort of brutal war that has featured Marquez so many times throughout his career.

 

Marquez continued to press the action deep into the fight, but while he was unfurling several stinging shots to the head and body of his own, Bradley was always right there to quickly return the fire and then step out of harm’s way. The key weapon was Bradley’s annoying jab, a punch that routinely kept Marquez guessing and switching between gameplans.

 

Considering that Bradley intelligently decided to play it safe throughout the encounter, it left much to be desired in the eyes of many inside the Thomas & MackCenter. There were several lulls in the decibel level of the near-capacity crowd and when Bradley was announced as the victor, he was showered with boos, undoubtedly for preventing the fight from turning into a perilous slugfest.

 

In the end, the fight was extremely close but Bradley did enough to win the majority of the rounds. Judges Robert Hoyle and Patricia Morse-Jarman scored it in favor of Bradley via tallies of 115-113 and 116-112, respectively. Those scores usurped the one turned in by Glenn Feldman, who favored Marquez 115-113. SecondsOut also had it 116-112 for Bradley. The general consensus around the media section sitting ringside and in the press room had Bradley winning, but there were quite a few media members who either had it a draw or for Marquez.

 


While some immediately ripped into Feldman’s score, the fight was actually much closer than it seemed. Bradley certainly won more of the rounds in a much more convincing manner, but the majority of the frames in the duel could have gone either way. Bradley was busier and landed more punches, but Marquez’ shots had more authority behind them and, while they never had the Palm Springs resident on the verge of being stopped, had more of an impression upon impact.

 

Bradley (31-0, 12 KOs) was elated after the fight and declared that he wants to fight nothing but the best possible opponents. He said that he considers himself among the top three best fighters pound-for-pound, but only time will tell whether he eventually will be considered in the same breath as guys like Andre Ward and Floyd Mayweather.

 

As for Marquez (55-7-1, 40 KOs) he was noncommittal to his future. He stated that he felt as though he won the fight and was fed up with being the victim of a robbery so many times. Though he didn’t exactly say that he was retiring, he did voice that maybe he is giving up on trying to win close decisions.

 

Salido Takes out Cruz

 

Former world champion Orlando Salido proved to be too much for Orlando Cruz to handle, knocking him cold in the seventh round. Salido was relentless with his pressure throughout their featherweight encounter. His charged forth from the outset and dug sinister hooks to the body every opportunity he got. In the end, it was a crippling right hand to the jaw that ended the fight, but it was entertaining while it lasted.

 

Cruz, who made worldwide headlines earlier in the year by revealing that he is gay, boxed very well from the outside. He was able to avoid most of Salido’s vicious attacks with superb footwork, but he couldn’t keep the Mexican at bay forever. Though he was backing away for the vast majority of the fight, Cruz stood his ground at all times and fired back when he could. Even though it was obvious that he didn’t possess the same sort of power in his fists that his opponent did, it didn’t stop Cruz from trying his best to remove Salido from consciousness.

 

As it turned out, when Cruz backed into the ropes in the seventh, he was pounded by a right hand followed by a left uppercut, ending the fight. Cruz crumbled to his knees and then fell face first onto the canvas, where he was counted out by referee Kenny Bayless. The official time of the KO came at 1:05 of the seventh, allowing Salido to improve to 40-12-2 with 28 KOs. Cruz, from Puerto Rico, fell to 20-3-1 with 10 KOs.

You can also follow Mike Sloan on Twitter at www.twitter.com/mikesloan19

 



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