Larry Merchant reveals what the big question is about this weekend’s Tim Bradley vs. Juan Manuel Marquez clash

Longtime analyst Larry Merchant in Los Angeles on Monday afternoon (Photo: Chris Robinson –

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By Chris Robinson

This weekend’s welterweight title match between WBO champion Timothy Bradley and Mexico City’s Juan Manuel Marquez appears to be a fascinating stylistic matchup on paper.

In Bradley, we have a determined and athletic champion who is coming off of harrowing give-and-take battle with Ruslan Provodnikov this past March.

At 40 years old, Marquez is ten years Bradley’s senior but he is still enjoying the twilight of his career while coming off of the biggest win of his professional run with a chilling 6th round knockout over Manny Pacquiao last December.

There are several different ways to look at this matchup, whether one would lean towards Bradley’s work rate and persistence or Marquez’s accuracy and superb technique.

During a recent conversation with Larry Merchant about the Bradley-Marquez encounter, the longtime HBO analyst shared the one thought that has been floating around his head about this particular duel.

“I think the number one question is ‘Is Bradley damaged goods after that brutal fight he fought the last time,’” Merchant stated recently, referencing the Provodnikov war. “If he’s whole, if he’s come out of it good, then I think this fight is a toss-up and he has a serious chance to win the fight.”

Merchant was then asked what each man needs to do in order to have success come Saturday night.

“Bradley is an excellent boxer,” Merchant noted. “We can expect him to return to his boxing. But he’s an energetic, tough-minded, younger fighter. And maybe, when Marquez fights a younger fighter, he might be a little quicker and the equation could turn to the younger guy.

And when it comes to Marquez, Merchant simply wants to know if he still has some of the same magic left in his bottle that led to such a profound victory over Pacquiao.

“But the question, coming off the punch heard round the world, [is] to see whether Marquez can do something like that again,” Merchant stated.

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