A tense match-up at the Thomas and Mack Center ended with Timothy Bradley retaining his WBO welterweight title via a split decision against Mexican legend Juan Manuel Marquez.
Bradley, 30, used his greater speed effectively throughout the contest as Marquez predictably waited to counter in what was an entertaining fight in bursts, but ultimately failed to live up to expectations.
Following his heart ruling his head performance against Ruslan Provodnikov last time out, Bradley decided to return to his boxing against Marquez and those tactics were the decisive factor as the aging Marquez struggled to get close to the American.
The harder shots came from Marquez, although the flashier work was at the hands of the champion who then came close to scoring a knockdown himself when both fighters traded in the final round.
Prior to that, Marquez only seemed to get into the fight when Bradley slowed his own work down, with ‘Desert Storm’ possibly believing he was further ahead on the scorecards than he was – leading to the eventual split on the cards.
After twleve rounds, the judges came back with scores of 116-112, 115-113 to Bradley, with the third generously handing Marquez the fight 115-113, which could now see calls from promoter Bob Arum for a rematch.
With Floyd Mayweather Jr. eyeing up a clash with Amir Khan in May, that leaves Bradley maybe waiting around until the pound for pound king fights again in September, and could make the decision the pit the two together again in the interim easier for the Top Rank promoter.
A second fight seems the logical step for both boxers at the moment, and may only be halted if Marquez decides to hang up his gloves, rather than try once again for a fifth weight world title in another instalment with Bradley.