LAS VEGAS — WBO welterweight titleholder Tim Bradley was effusive in his praise for Juan Manuel Marquez during the post-fight press conference following his split-decision over the four-division titlewiner on Saturday at Thomas & Mack Center.
Bradley (31-0, 12 knockouts) called Marquez (55-7-1, 40 KOs), who turned 40 in August, “a clever fighter” and “one of the best in the world.”
“Marquez is a great champion, a great warrior,” said Bradley, who rose from a 12th-round knockdown for a unanimous decision in March over Ruslan Provodnikov in defense of the belt he won via split-decision last June over Manny Pacquiao.
“He’s one of the toughest fights I’ve ever had in my life,” said Bradley of Marquez, who stopped Pacquiao in the sixth-round last December. “Both [Pacquiao and Marquez] are great champions, both are great warriors, and they’re legends in the sport.”
Marquez, however, did not return the favor when he entered the room later and took a seat near the podium as Bradley was still speaking.
“Tim,” said Top Rank CEO Bob Arum. “Let’s hear, for a second, from Juan Manuel Marquez.”
Marquez took the podium without acknowledging Bradley with even a glance, let alone a handshake or embrace. To those who cheered him, Marquez gave a thumbs up with his right hand before speaking through Zanfer Promotions President Fernando Beltran.
“We came prepared to give a great fight. I think that that you all came to see a good performance, but unfortunately, the judges here did it again. We came very prepared to win this fifth title, and honestly, we’re happy with the performance that we gave tonight,” said Marquez.
“Unfortunately, I didn’t get the victory. To be here in Las Vegas, I guess that I need to knock the people out to get a victory. That’s what has been happening. Unfortunately, the judges, I need to be scared of the judges more than my opponents. I’m very happy with what I did.”
With that, Marquez gave a thumbs up with his left hand and stepped away from the podium.
But that was not all.
Marquez’s trainer, Nacho Beristain, poured salt in the wound.
“First of all, I would like to thank you all for the support of my fighter. We know that we fought tonight a world champion who is an excellent fighter,” said Beristain. “Not only is he a good fighter, he’s very lucky. He’s the only undefeated fighter with two losses.”
With a glance over at Bradley, Beristain then took a shot at Bradley’s trainer, Joel Diaz, who had expressed admiration for Beristain throughout the promotion of the fight.
“Nacho is one of the greatest trainers in the business. I’ve always said that he’s the bible of boxing… The thing with Nacho is that he forms champions from ground zero. Freddie Roach has champions already made,” said Diaz, referring to Pacquiao’s trainer.
“Nacho Beristain has been in the business way longer than Freddie has. Nacho starts his fighters from the basics. That’s what separates trainers. I just think that you build a name for yourself, and all of a sudden, they come to you when they’re already made… I categorize Nacho Beristain as one of the best trainers in the world.”
Beristain, however, had this to say to Diaz on Saturday.
“His trainer is my friend. I appreciate him a lot,” said Beristain. “He’s very young. He’s got a bright future. But tonight, we won, and in his heart, he knows that they did not win this fight.”
With that, Marquez and Beristain left the press conference so they were not present for Diaz’s retort.
“Tim Bradley is never going to get any credit,” Diaz said. “Like Nacho said: He is the only undefeated fighter with two losses… Wow. I’m surprised that such a man with such knowledge couldn’t execute a plan in there to go in there and knockout Tim Bradley, and he got frustrated… We did our job. We executed our plan, and he couldn’t do anything. As you can see, Tim Bradley’s face is clean, he never got hit with the right hand that everybody expected.
“You know what? We’re going to keep moving on, and we’re going to keep on winning. We’re going to let people talk, and we’re going to keep winning. You know, 95 percent of the people in the arena were against us and were hoping that Marquez wins. But you know what? The only five percent were our families and our team. Including everybody in this building. You could see it in the faces… Let’s be realistic. Boxing is that you hit, and you don’t get hit. You want to see a fight, go to a bar.”
BRADLEY: ‘MY SPEED, MY FOOTWORK WAS KEY’
Diaz had vowed that Bradley would have all the answers against Marquez, dismissing the notion that his fighter would be more susceptible to being stopped by Marquez in the wake of having absorbed so much punishment against Provodnikov, who was making his 147-pound debut after having mostly fought at 140.
Bradley acknowledged feeling Marquez’s power as early as the first round, even as he appeared to neutralize it throughout the remainder of the fight.
“I felt his power in the first round. He caught me with a left hook. I felt the power. It was a very strong punch. But my legs held me up. I was good. But he did daze me a little bit. Marquez is a great champion, a great warrior. He’s a very smart fighter. He’s one of the toughest fights I’ve ever had in my life, honestly. He brought it, man. He brought it today… The Ruslan fight, I fought a little dumb. This fight, I had to fight smart. I know that the fans are probably a little upset, because I boxed a little bit,” said Bradley.
“At times, I had to exchange. But I had to box this way in order to get this win. I didn’t expect a lot more from him. He’s very technical, and he’s a very strong fighter. I knew that he was going to be tough…This guy is a clever fighter, man. He’s one of the best in the world. Age? He was still able to fight his best in there. I don’t think that age was a factor in there. He still competed, and he still came back and he still tried to win. I just thought that, you know, honestly, that my speed, my footwork was key.”
‘IF I GET THE RESPECT, GREAT’
Judges Robert Hoyle and Patricia Morse Jarman scored the fight for Bradley, 115-113 and 116-112, respectively, and Glenn Feldman scored for Marquez.
“I just said, Oh s___. That was it,” said Bradley of his reaction when Feldman’s score was read fist ring announcer Michael Buffer. “If I get the respect, great. If I don’t, keep betting against me. I’m just going to keep winning.”
Bradley’s manager, Cameron Dunkin, scored the fight similar to Jarman, granting Marquez four of the eight rounds.
“I had him winning four rounds. I would give him a round after he would land a shot, something strong in there that was a good body shot or he landed an overhand right or hit Tim with a good right hand in one of the rounds,” said Dunkin. “He did something that I think gave him the round. But he didn’t win consistently. It was one round that he won really big where Tim didn’t go offensive at all and he really pressed him.”
In addition to Pacquiao and Marquez, Bradley’s resume includes three opponents — IBF junior welterweight titleholder Lamont Peterson, IBF welterweight beltholder Devon Alexander, and Argentina’s Luis Carlos Abregu — who were unbeaten before falling by decision to Bradley.
Bradley also dethroned Kendall Holt by unanimous decision for the WBO’s 140-pound belt in April of 2009, rising from two knockdowns to do so, and he owns a unanimous decision in July of 2007 over current IBF lightweight titleholder Miguel Vazquez, whose other losses were by split- and unanimous decision to former RING junior middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez.
After facing Abregu as a welterweight in July of 2010, and then vanquishing Alexander as a junior welterweight in 2011, Bradley scored knockdowns in the fifth, sixth and final rounds of an eighth-round knockout of former Olympic gold medalist and ex-beltholder Joel Casamayor.
Bradley also owns a split-decision over former world titleholder Junior Witter, whom he dethroned for the WBC junior welterweight belt — his first title — in May of 2008.
“I just talked to one of the writers and they’re going to look at Tim’s record and compare it to [Floyd] Mayweather’s record at age 30 and see who has fought the better competition,” said Dunkin.
“You’ve got to remember Devon Alexander, Lamont Peterson, going overseas to beat Junior Witter. Manny Pacquiao, Juan Manuel Marquez. Look who Tim Bradley’s fought. My goodness, he’s fought good opponents. If you go back… he’s got Miguel Vazquez, who is a world champion.”
Asked if Bradley would ever truly gain respect for his boxing abilities, Dunkin said, “I hope so.”
WHO IS BETTER, MARQUEZ OR PACQUIAO?
Bradley was asked if Marquez is better than Pacquiao, against whom Marquez is 1-2-1.
“Well, they’re both big punchers. Marquez dazed me a couple of times during the fight. One is coming from the left position, and one is coming from the right position. I can’t really judge who is better or not,” said Bradley.
“Because in the Pacquiao fight with me, my feet were hurting. I couldn’t really gauge, and I couldn’t really move like I wanted to move in that fight. So with that being said, both are great champions, both are great warriors, and they’re legends in the sport.”
ARUM: ORLANDO SALIDO-VASYL LOMACHENKO ON JAN. 25 AT MADISON SQUARE GARDEN
A winner of his second Olympic gold medal at the 2012 Games in London, Lomachenko scored knockdowns with body shots in the first and fourth round of Saturday night’s fourth-round stoppage against hard-hitting Mexican rival Jose Luis Ramirez (25-4, 15 KOs) in a scheduled 10-rounder.
In victory, Lomachenko (1-0, 1 KO) hopes to dethrone Salido, who won the vacant belt by seventh-round knockout of Puerto Rican featherweight contender Orlando Cruz on Saturday.
Video by Daniel Morales
Photo by Chris Farina, Top Rank
Photo by Naoki Fukuda
Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]