WBO welterweight champion Timothy Bradley is closing in on a victory tonight that could potentially lead to a second fight with old rival Manny Pacquiao and ultimately a match-up with Floyd Mayweather Jr.
The 30 year-old, who controversially out-pointed Pacquiao in June 2012, has since scored an impressive tear-up win over Ruslan Provodnikov and aims to defeat Juan Manuel Marquez in Nevada to further douse the memories of his most debatable triumph.
Bradley was handed a gift by the three judges at ringside against Pacquiao, one of which was since-retired CJ Ross, and the Californian knows nothing but a clear success at the Thomas and Mack Center will do.
This underlying hurt felt by Bradley since his split decision over Pacquiao went a long way to dictating his tactis against hard-hitting Russian Provodnikov last time out and will be the driving factor that I believe will see the American through against Marquez.
Veteran Marquez, 40, may have accepted one fight too many for my liking and maybe should have hung up his gloves after his stunning knockout win over the ‘Pacman’ last year. His three failed attempts at having his hands raised against the eight-weight champion gave Marquez an Indian summer that Bradley will be looking to end in the fight capital of the world.
Whether the desire on the part of Marquez is still there has to be questioned, even with the carrot of a fifth division world title on offer and I see Bradley being too physically fit and strong and possibly forcing a stoppage against the Mexican.
Marquez has been involved in so many hard fights over the years that it has to catch up on ‘Dinamita’ at some stage, with plenty of evidence in the Pacquiao fight prior to the one-punch KO to suggest that the end of his career is nigh.
Two-weight world title holder Bradley has proved he can mix it in elite class and can box or slug it out with the big names of the boxing world and yet another defining victory is waiting in the wings that can lead to other massive opportunities in 2014.
One of those could be a return and further redemption bout with Pacquiao providing the Congressman comes through Brandon Rios next month, along with the possibility that Floyd Mayweather could see Bradley as a money-spinning foe of the future.
The first six rounds present the best chance Marquez has of avoiding a seventh career loss and Bradley would be best served sticking to his boxing and taking the fight to the later rounds to score a points win or technical knockout.
Whatever happens in Vegas, it will be an interesting viewing none-the-less.