Placing the word intelligence in the context of hand to hand combat fighting seems almost like an oxy-moron. But anyone who watched the Timothy Bradley vs Juan Manuel Marquez WBO Welterweight title fight in Las Vegas on Saturday night will appreciate how important a factor ring intellect played in Bradley’s career defining victory against the Mexican legend.
His performance was the polar opposite to his display in his last outing against Russian slugger Ruslan Provodnikov, which ironically endeared him to the boxing public despite it becoming dangerously close to being the death knell for his career. That night Bradley allowed his heart to rule his head and nearly paid the ultimate price as he was close to being knocked out on numerous occasions. There was no such repeat on Saturday night, however, as Bradley went back to basics and relied on his boxing brain in order to out-think Marquez, and put on a boxing master class that frustrated and befuddled the 40 year old Mexican- who is often referred to as one of the most intelligent technicians the sport has ever seen.
The polished and highly accomplished nature of the Desert Storms performance diminished the contest as a spectacle. Yet from the point of view of the purist, the way he was able to drain the drama out proceedings was majestic. Truth be told, the level of composure and confidence he showed made it a pretty comfortable victory for Bradley in the end. He was calmness personified. It really was a case of the young thoroughbred showing the old dog all of his tricks. And the sight of a rather frustrated looking Marquez trudging back to his corner disconsolately at the end each round was a true testament of Bradley’s ring intelligence. The contrast in the body language of both fighters alone was an accurate indicator of the way the fight was going. Without even watching the action, you probably could have scored the bout by way of a cursory glance at each fighter as they approached their corners at the end of the rounds. Marquez just couldn’t find his range and land any telling blows that could change the trajectory of the fight. But this was largely due to the brilliance of Bradley’s game plan, which frustrated and disheartened Marquez tremendously.
Put simply, the pupil took the teacher to school on Saturday night, and as Bradley stated succinctly he gave a fellow professor of the sweet science a “boxing lesson”.
After his latest graduation, Timothy Bradley, such an ardent student of the sweet science, will have to quickly return to his studies to prepare for the prospect of finishing school with the great Floyd Mayweather Jnr in 2014.