Juan Manuel Marquez, a future hall of famer, will face Timothy Bradley on September 14th in a bid to claim the WBO welterweight title and become the first Mexican boxer in history to claim 5 world titles in 5 different weight classes.
It seems fitting that Marquez will be aiming to write his name into Mexican history on the anniversary of a truly historic date in his country’s calendar- 14th September is Mexican Independence Day. The venue for his date with destiny – the Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas – will add yet more glamour to an occasion that’s already hotly anticipated in his boxing-obsessed homeland. The fiercely patriotic Marquez is acutely conscious of his standing in Mexican ring history and the chance to achieve something that has eluded a lengthy list of his illustrious compatriots has made him more motivated than ever before.
He stated “I want everyone to remember me for having faced the best fighters out there, and I believe Timothy Bradley is one of them. And why not look forward to finding that fifth title in a fifth weight class, which is something no one here in Mexico has achieved?
“So to me this is an important challenge, a difficult challenge, a tough challenge. But I always have the mindset that anything can be achieved.”
Bradley, the man who stands between Marquez and immortality, is himself a formidable opponent. He proved his credentials beyond doubt in his recent showdown with Ruslan Providnikov, where he somehow managed to retain his title despite so nearly being knocked out in the 1st, 2nd and final rounds by the dynamite-fisted Russian. In the end though, his superior boxing ability, superhuman stamina, iron chin and miraculous powers of recovery prevailed as he landed a staggering 218 power punches (mostly head shots) on the ‘Siberian Rocky’
Marquez however, with 55 wins from his 62 career fights, is a completely different proposition. There is no possibility whatsoever that Bradley will be able to land a similar volume of crisp, clean, power shots against Marquez as he did against Providnikov. The great Mexican, a professor of the sweet science – and one of the greatest ever technicians to grace the sport – will definitely fancy his chances in a boxing match with Bradley and history tells you that Marquez would be just as well placed to win in a brawl against the ‘Desert Storm’.
That said, Bradley – the undefeated former unified light-welter weight champion with a 30-0 record – will still be one of the toughest challenges of Marquez’s glittering career.
Yet, for the man who ‘loves the greatest challenges’ perhaps, his biggest challenge of all was to finally emerge from the shadows cast by his compatriots, Erik ‘El Terrible’ Morales and Marco Antonio Barrera who – in their prime – attracted all the attention and affection of the fanatical Mexican fight fans at the expense of Marquez.
As a proud Mexican, Marquez must have surely resented being subordinated, in Cinderella-like fashion, by his brothers in battle, who soaked up all the respect and acclaim he so craved from his country’s boxing fraternity.
But Marquez would go to the Ball.
He finally won a place in the hearts and minds of his homelands boxing public, as a result of a stunning comeback in his first bout with Manny Pacquiao, in which he gained a draw despite being knocked down an incredible three times in a brutal 1st round. He went on to defeat PacMan in their most recent, and fourth in total, epic battle with a stunning counter-punch knockout that floored the politician and left his big-fight career in jeopardy.
That legendary night proved to be a coming of age in his career as he proved that he was a true warrior who could fight the ‘Mexican Way’.
He’s been proving it ever since. Expect him to prove it once again when he faces Timothy Bradley.