So incensed was Bradley that he did not appear to receive credit and acceptance from the boxing community for his triumph, that the 30-year-old fighter carried those emotions into his next bout, against Ruslan Provodnikov.
Bradley had to rise from a 12th-round knockdown to secure a unanimous decision over the hard-punching Provodnikov, who still believes he was cheated by a referee who ruled that Bradley had slipped rather than being floored in the first round of that bout.
During a conference call on Tuesday, a still simmering, if not more focused, Bradley vowed to be at his sharpest on Oct. 12, when the Palm Springs, Calif., resident will meet four-division titlewinner Juan Manuel Marquez at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas.
“Man, I’m going to whup his ass, and the judges are going to give me the fight, and that is the bottom line,” said Bradley, who will face Marquez on HBO Pay Per View.
“I’m going to win the fight. I’m not concerned about any judges, not concerned about any [referee,] I’m going to get in there and do my job, and I’m going to beat Marquez, and the world’s going to see it.”
Bradley (30-0, 12 knockouts) still was the WBO’s junior welterweight titleholder back in February of 2009 when Marquez scored a ninth-round knockout over Juan Diaz for the WBA and WBO lightweight belts.
“I wanted this fight three years ago. I’ve always felt that I could beat Marquez. When he faced Juan Diaz, I felt like I could have been in there and I could have done a lot better,” said Bradley of Marquez, whom he called “by far, the best fighter” he will have faced.
“With that being said, I’m glad that the fight is happening now. I want to prove that I’m one of the top fighters, pound-for-pound, in the game. I’m going to beat Marquez. You’re hearing it here first. Once again, I’m going to beat him, and we’ll hear what the people have to say after that.”
According to Bradley’s trainer, Joel Diaz, Bradley is less likely to engage Marquez toe-to-toe as he did Provodnikov.
“The most important thing about this fight is that Tim needs to stay very focused, follow the strategy, and don’t fall into Marquez’s game. Marquez is a very experienced fighter, and, Timothy just needs to stick to his game plan and don’t get carried away by anything else. Just follow instructions and he’ll be fine…I know Marquez myself, because I’ve followed Marquez’s career,” said Diaz.
“I’m a big fan of Marquez, and just watching him fight, I remember every single one of his fights. I really don’t have to look at much video because I truly remember every single one of his fights. How he performs, and what his strengths and weaknesses are. I know how smart he is, as far as counterpunching, and that’s why I really don’t have to look at much video, because I follow him.”
Besides Manny Pacquiao, who won two decisions over Marquez (55-6-1, 40 KOs) before getting knocked out cold by him in December, Freddie Norwood, Chris John and Floyd Mayweather Jr. have also beaten the Mexican star by decision.
Bradley has taken long looks at every one of Marquez’s most significant fights.
“Every fight that’s on Youtube, I done seen it. I know what his weaknesses are. I know what he likes to do, of course that’s our job to know these things. So we definitely did a lot of studying,” said Bradley.
“Man, I’m going to put on a show. I have to follow the game plan from training camp, and from my trainer that we’ve put together. I’m going to go out there and do my job and, if I do my job, everything will come together.”
Diaz took particular interest in how Marquez was befuddled and neutralized by Mayweather, who dropped Marquez in the second round of their fight in September of 2009.
“I’ve watched the Mayweather fight most of all,” said Diaz. “Mayweather showed me a lot going into the ring against a fighter like Juan Manuel Marquez. Even though that fight happened years ago.
“Now, I know that as time goes, fighters tend to slow down a little bit with age. I focused a lot and I caught a lot of good points from Maywether, and we focused on what Marquez’s strengths are, but he’s always very smart.”
BOB ARUM: ‘I HOPE WE’RE NOT GOING TO HAVE ANY KIND OF CONTROVERSY WITH THE JUDGES’
In a poll of 59 media members, 53 scored the bout in favor of Vera, with six draws. In its round-by-round, RingTV.com scored the fight for Vera, 97-93.
With most observers seeing the bout as a one-sided affair, judge C.J. Ross scored it a draw. She has since taken a leave of absence.
Ross had also come under intense scrutiny last year, when she and Duane Ford both scored the Bradley-Pacquiao fight for Bradley, 115-113.
While Arum expressed outrage at the Bradley-Pacquiao decision, he said “boxing got it right” for Chavez over Vera, and the 81-year-old promoter now says he is hopeful of a clear and decisive result for Bradley-Marquez.
“I just hope that we’re not going to have any kind of controversy with the judges,” said Arum. “Let the fighters fight, let the winner win the fight, and that’s all that I can ask for.”
Byrd refereed Bradley’s victory over Pacquiao as well as Marquez’s seventh-round stoppage of Manuel Medina for the IBF’s 126-pound belt in February of 2003.
Hoyle’s card read 114-114 in Marquez’s majority decision loss to Pacquiao in November of 2011.
Is Diaz worried about the judging for Bradley-Marquez?
“You know what? It’s always a concern. I’m not going to say that it’s not. At the end of the day, in boxing, what’s going to happen is what’s going to happen,” said Diaz.
“Tim is a very elusive fighter, and he’s got great speed and great footwork, and Tim is going to do his job. The rest is going to be up to the judges to do their job right.”
Photos by Chris Farina-Top Rank; Click here for a full photo gallery of Bradley’s media workout
Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]