Timothy Bradley and his trend of winning close scorecards continued Saturday night as he edged Juan Manuel Marquez, 10 years the elder at 40, by split decision.
Bradley, relying on his boxing skills, faster legs and strong jab, punctuated the performance with a big left hand that staggered Marquez in the final seconds of the 12th round.
Judge Robert Hoyle scored the World Boxing Organization welterweight title fight 115-113 for Bradley, while Patricia Morse Jarman had it 116-112 for Bradley. Glenn Feldman scored it 115-113 for Marquez.
The Mexican bitterly left the ring afterward, upset at the decision on the heels of his stunning sixth-round knockout of Manny Pacquiao. Marquez believes Nevada judges deprived him of a victory over Pacquiao for the same belt in 2011.
Here is the round-by-round recap of the fight (scoring listed is unofficial) by The Times' John Cherwa.
Round 1: Both fighters came out tentative as the crowd shouted “Marquez, Marquez.” Marquez appeared to be slightly more active, landing upper cuts and left hooks, none of which hurt Bradley. Bradley connected late in the round with a body shot. But the first round was pretty tame and each fighter didn’t want to show their best stuff. Times card: Marquez 10, Bradley 9.
Round 2: Bradley came out strong at the start of the round but was warned by Byrd for a beltline shot about a minute into the round. Marquez showed some good counter punching but Bradley connected with a good left hook, the best shot of the fight. The round ended with a flurry of punches in the corner bringing the crowd to its feet. The fight is still razor close. Times card: Bradley 10, Marquez 9. Fight even, 19-19.
Round 3: Both fighters started the round lacking the energy they displayed at the end of Round 2. In fact, no significant punches were thrown in the round with mostly a lot of counter punching, none of which did any damage. Bradley threw more punches and that might have done enough to give him a round that was basically even. Times card: Bradley 10, Marquez 9. Bradley leads, 29-28.
Round 4: Little action to start the round but referee Byrd called timeout about a minute into it to have Marquez’s corner wipe excess vasoline off of their fighter. Marquez was able to land a strong right with about 50 seconds left in the round and a late flurry that might have been enough to give him the round. The fight has less action than the crowd expected. Times card: Marquez 10, Bradley 9. Fight is even, 38-38.
Round 5: Bradley seems to be controlling the pace of the fight, using his right to keep Marquez from going on the offensive. Neither fighter has landed a significant punch although there have been a few combinations that have excited the crowd but done little damage. Marquez is starting to look a shade more tired than Bradley. Times card: Bradley 10, Marquez 9. Bradley leads, 48-47.
Round 6: Still no firepower from either fighter and the round went by with a slight resurgence from Marquez. The fight is open for either fighter to take, although Bradley has been more active and might have an edge on the cards of some judges. Times card: Bradley 10, Marquez 9. Bradley leads, 58-56.
Round 7: The crowd has had little to get excited about so far. Marquez needs to be more active or the fight will start to slip away from him. Marquez lands a shot on the ropes late in the round but it’s clear that Bradley is the more active puncher and could be swaying the judges. It’s a close fight but Marquez, if he wants to win, has to get more active and connect on punches. Times card: Bradley 10, Marquez 9. Bradley leads, 68-65.
Round 8: Bradley continued to control the pace of the fight but neither fighter has hurt the other. The crowd is trying to urge on Marquez but perhaps his 40-year-old body has caught up with him. It might be to the point where Marquez will have to go for the knockout if he hopes to win. But, since he hasn’t landed a significant punch that could be a tough task. Times card: Bradley 10, Marquez 9. Bradley leads, 78-74.
Round 9: The fight is certainly a disappointment for fans who were expecting to see a war. Neither fighter has taken a risk. Late in the round Marquez landed a few shots that brought the crowd alive but did little to hurt Bradley. But it was likely enough to win the round. Times card: Marquez 10, Bradley 9. Bradley leads, 87-84.
Round 10: The best round so far. Bradley landed a right that hurt Marquez, who then countered in the best exchanges of the fight. Some of the rounds have been so lacking in action that the fight might be closer than people think. As the round finished Marquez slipped and his glove hit the canvas but it was clearly a slip. Times card: Bradley 10, Marquez 9. Bradley leads, 97-93.
Round 11: Marquez seems to be fighting as if he knows he needs a knockout but he has been unable to penetrate Bradley’s defense. The crowd continues to back every punch by Marquez, even if they aren’t landing or doing much damage. Bradley is starting to look tired but there is only one round to go. Times card: Marquez 10, Bradley 9. Bradley leads, 106-103.
Round 12: Both fighters appear tired and there seems to be little desperation in this final round. Marquez lands a good right early in the round but it didn’t hurt Bradley. The fight ended with a flurry from each fighter and Bradley rocked Marquez with a left hook that staggered him and he almost went down. Marquez was able to right himself but it might have given Bradley the round that Marquez seemed to be winning. Times card: Bradley 10, Marquez 9. Bradley wins, 116-112 (unofficial).
The judges' scorecards: Bradley wins the fight in a split decision. Glenn Feldman scored it 115-113 for Marquez. Robert Hoyle reversed it 115-113 for Bradley and Patricia Jarman scored it 116-112 for Bradley.