That trio is a skillful group of boxer types who appeared to thwart, befuddle or neutralize Marquez with their awkward or crafty styles. In the case of Mayweather, who dropped Marquez in the second round, the difference was his sheer briilliance as a technician.
Having turned 40 last month, Marquez (55-6-1, 40 knockouts) is coming off last December’s sixth-round knockout victory over Pacquiao which the four-division titlewinner called “divine justice” during the debut episode of HBO’s 24/7: Bradley-Marquez in advance of Marquez’s Oct. 12 bout with WBO 147-pound titleholder Tim Bradley.
Marquez was previously win-less at 0-2-1 against Pacquiao, who will try to rebound from the knockout, as well from the split-decision loss to Bradley that preceded it, in Macau on Nov. 23 (Nov. 24 in the western hemisphere) against rising junior welterweight Brandon Rios.
In Bradley (30-0, 12 KOs), an immensely resourceful athlete, Marquez will be facing a 30-year-old who may be capable of similar tactics to those employed by Norwood and John, if not Mayweather.
For having risen from a 12th-round knockdown to secure a unanimous decision over Ruslan Provodnikov in March, Bradley is less likely to engage Marquez as he did Provodnikov, according to Bradley’s trainer, Joel Diaz.
“He knows that for this fight, we can’t make no mistakes,” said Diaz, during the 24/7 episode. “Juan Manuel Marquez is a very experienced fighter. If he hurts you, he’ll finish you.”
BRADLEY, MARQUEZ WEEK NO. 3 TRAINING BLOGS
HBO has provided its third round of training blogs, taken from interviews with Bradley and Marquez on Sept. 30 in advance of their fight:
BRADLEY: ‘I WILL BE A LEAN, MEAN FIGHTING MACHINE’ AGAINST MARQUEZ
In the blog, Bradley answers the question: You stick to a very strict vegan diet before all of your fights. What’s the story behind this decision? Have you always done this throughout your career?
Bradley: I have used this diet since 2008. I first tried it when I was preparing for my challenge of WBC super lightweight champion Junior Witter — my first world title fight — and after seeing the results it gave me, I have tried to stay as loyal to it as possible.
It helps keep my body clean, and it provides me with a tremendous amount of energy due to my body spending less energy breaking down foods like meats. This is a big key factor in my fitness. I told a reporter recently that I feel totally superior over any athlete who gets into the ring with me.
The energy is always there. I feel so alive. My senses and reflexes are so acute. It’s an incredible feeling. Rest, preparation, rest, hard work. But rest is very important. It gives you the right kind of balance. With a vegan diet, you always have energy, so much that sometimes I have trouble sleeping at night.
You feel light. You don’t feel bulky or heavy. This would benefit any athlete in any sport. In my hometown, the Palm Greens Cafe prepares my meals for the week and delivers them to my house. The owners even named a special smoothie after me — “The Bradley Ultra Greens — which includes kale, spinach, apple, ginger, mint, and banana, with other ingredients.
They’re great folks. The vegan diet means no meat or dairy products whatsoever. It makes me feel so much better going into this big fight against Marquez. When my fight with Marquez is over, the needle on my energy gauge will still read full because of my diet and training regimens.You will see my physique. I will be a lean, mean fighting machine when I get into the ring and beat Marquez on Oct. 12.
MARQUEZ GOES FROM PROFESSIONAL ACCOUNTANT TO BOXING CHAMPION
In the blog, Marquez answers the question: Even though you were a successful accountant in Mexico, you gave it up to focus on boxing full time. What was the motivation behind the career switch? Is accounting something you would like to return to after boxing?
I started in boxing when I was very young and did not think about professional boxing as a career. My father had been a professional boxer and did not do very well, as his career was not managed properly and he had some doubts about not only me, but my brother, Rafael [Marquez], becoming professional boxers. We all love boxing as a sport and as something to keep us off the street.
That is why we took our education very seriously and got good grades in school. I was good with numbers and liked math very much. There is a two-year course in México that will get you certified as a bookkeeper, and another two-year course that will get you certified as an accountant. By the time I made my professional debut, I was an accountant and got a job working in the city accounting department.
I still did not know how far I would go in boxing, so I kept my job while I developed my skills as a professional boxer, not thinking that I could become a world champion someday as everyone seemed to think in the gym, especially my trainer, Ignacio “Nacho” Beristáin, one of the best trainers in Méxican boxing history.
I would run in the mornings, then work my 9-to-5 accounting job, and then go to the legendary Romanza Gym to do my boxing work to prepare for my fights. When I had fights and had to travel, I would get permission from by boss to go for my fights, traveling on the weekends, fight, and be ready for work on Monday. I did that until I got my first championship opportunity against Freddie Norwood.
At that time, I took a few months off from work to get ready for the fight. It’s a fight I felt I won on points. But it was not until I won my first world championship in February of 2003 that I decided to leave my job and concentrate on my boxing career. I was a little nervous about leaving my job and its security, but I felt that as a world champion, I needed to dedicate myself to boxing full time, and that it was the right decision to make.
I never expected to have this long of a career or to be this successful, but being good with numbers and knowing the value of money has helped me. While I doubt that I will return to work as an accountant, it will surely help in the future when I retire and invest in some type of business and understand the difference between a balance sheet and a bout sheet.
OLA AFOLABI RETURNS ON NOV. 2 AGAINST LUKASZ JANIK
Cruiserweight Ola Afolabi (19-3-4, 9 KOs) is scheduled to face Lukasz Janik (26-1, 14 KOs) as part of the international broadcast on the undercard of the Nov. 2 HBO-televised clash between WBA middleweight titleholder Gennady Golovkin and Curtis “Showtime” Stevens from the Theatre in New York’s Madison Square Garden, according to Tom Loeffler of K2 Promotions.
Afolabi was last in the ring for a majority decision loss to WBO beltholder Marco Huck in June. Afolabi has also battled Huck through a disputed draw and a unanimous decision loss in May of last year and in December of 2009, respectively.
Janik has won 11 straight bouts, six of them by knockout, since himself being stopped in the fifth round by Mateusz Masternak in October of 2009.
Photos by Naoki Fukuda
Photo by Chris Farina, Top Rank
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com