During a March 27 conference call touting his April 12 rematch with Manny Pacquiao, WBO welterweight titleholder Tim Bradley praised four-division Juan Manuel Marquez as not only the best fighter he has ever faced but, also, his most rewarding victory.
"Marquez is one of the best boxers in the game and I out-thought this guy. Marquez has been in there with all of the best fighters in the world, [Floyd] Mayweather included," said Bradley of a split decision win over Marquez in October that was scored 118-110 for Bradley by RingTV.com.
"Manny hasn't been in there with Mayweather but Marquez has. That was a sensational boxing lesson that I gave Marquez that night, and one of the best moments I have had in my career because I had fun, man. I enjoyed how it was working and what I did in that fight in the ring."
A day earlier during a press conference promoting his 143-pound bout with Mike Alvarado on May 17, Marquez validated Bradley's abilities.
Touting Bradley's intelligence, Marquez appeared to give the edge to the unbeaten 30-year-old in the latter's return bout with Pacquiao, whom Bradley dethroned as titleholder following a split decision in June 2012.
"If Bradley fights with the same kind of intelligence that he used against me," said Marquez via Top Rank Promotions publicist Lee Samuels, "then he'll be fine against Manny Pacquiao."
The WBO has mandated that the winner between Bradley and Pacquiao face that between Marquez and Alvarado, the latter of whom will meet at the Forum in Inglewood, Calif., site of their official press conference announcing their bout.
In his pasts three fights, Bradley (31-0, 12 KOs) has vanquished Pacquiao, risen from a 12th-round knockdown to unanimously decision Ruslan Provodnikov in March of 2013 and beat Marquez, the latter after Marquez had stopped Pacquiao in the sixth round in December 2012.
The 35-year-old Pacquiao (55-5-2, 38 KOs) rebounded from the consecutive setbacks to Bradley and Marquez with last November's unanimous decision over rising 140-pounder Brandon Rios.
Marquez's ultimate goal is a showdown with Bradley or Pacquiao, against whom Marquez is 1-2-1. A win over either would make Marquez the first Mexican fighter to earn a fifth belt in as many different weight divisions.
Marquez (55-7-1, 40 knockouts), who who turns 41 in August, went 12-0 with nine knockouts at the Great Western Forum. The run started with a first-round stoppage of Martin Ochoa in January 1995 that upped Marquez to 9-1 with seven knockouts following his American debut.
Though losing his professional debut by disqualification, Marquez was 29-1 with 22 knockouts after his final bout at the Great Western Forum — a second-round knockout of Wilfredo Vargas.
Marquez lost his 31st fight by unanimous decision to Freddy Norwood at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, representing a failed bid to win the WBA 126-pound belt in September 1999.
A 33-year-old from Denver, Colorado, Alvarado (34-2, 23 KOs) is 1-2 over the course of his past three fights, all of which were contested at junior welterweight.
Alvarado was stopped in the seventh round by Rios in October 2012, won their rematch for the WBO's vacant 140-pound belt by unanimous decision last March and then lost the title by 10th-round stoppage to Provodnikov last October.
Juan Manuel Marquez at the Great Western Forum
Martin Ochoa TKO 1 January 30, 1995
Julio Sanchez Leon UD 10 April 24, 1995
Julio Cesar Portillo KO 6, July 10, 1995
Miguel Rodriguez TKO 1, September 25, 1995
Julian Wheeler TKO 10, November 6, 1995
Hector Ulises Chong KO 4, March 4, 1996
Freddy Cruz UD 10, July 8, 1996
Rodrigo Valenzuela RTD 8, December 9, 1996
Agapito Sanchez UD 12, April 21, 1997
Catalino Becerra TKO 7, July 14, 1997
Luis Samudio TKO 9, March 16, 1998
Wilfredo Vargas KO 2, May 10, 1999
Total: 12-0, nine knockouts