It felt like redemption, but why? On Saturday night, Timothy Bradley beat a 40-year-old Juan Manuel Marquez in a split-decision victory that frustrated and bored the overwhelmingly Mexican crowd at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. The last time we saw Bradley, he was staggering around Southern California with what can only be described as an "ongoing concussion," the result of several brutal blows to the head from Ruslan Provodnikov. But Bradley won that fight, again by close, debatable decision. Before that, Bradley was on the happy end of one of the worst decisions in recent memory when Duane Ford and the notorious C.J. Ross somehow deemed that he had beaten Manny Pacquiao. On the face, no boxer seems less deserving of redemption than Bradley. He has been in two pay-per-view fights in the past two years that have netted him nearly $10 million in purse money. He wins all his close decisions. So why, when Michael Buffer announced that Timothy Bradley was still the WBO welterweight champion of the world, did so many in boxing feel like Bradley had finally had his moment?
In case you were out living a life of leisure, here's what you missed in sports over the weekend.
The Redskins rallied to beat the Ravens, 31-28, in overtime, and dodged a bullet when Robert Griffin III's knee injury was diagnosed a sprain, and not an ACL tear. They dodged another bullet when they discovered it wasn't a sprained knee at all, just a swollen fat face, and dodged a final bullet when they realized they were actually looking at a large photo of team owner Dan Snyder.
For approximately 49 weeks out of the year, boxing is a niche sport with only a cult following. But when either Manny Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather fights, boxing matters on the grander American sports landscape. (At least it does for a few days.) Well, Pacquiao is fighting this Saturday night. And he's fighting an opponent who a lot of fans think has already beaten him. Twice.
Will Pacquiao's third fight with Juan Manuel Marquez be the latest in a string of one-man shows for Pac-Man, or a down-to-the-wire battle like their first two clashes? Eric Raskin and Bill Dettloff attempt to answer that question, and tell you everything you need to know about the Pacquiao-Marquez saga. Broadcaster Rich Marotta also shares his insights. The Ring Theory co-hosts also give their opinions on whether last Saturday's James Kirkland-Alfredo Angulo war is a Fight of the Year candidate, pay tribute to the great Joe Frazier, and put the careers of Apollo Creed, Ivan Drago, and Spider Rico in historical perspective.
Last Saturday, Alfredo Angulo and James Kirkland gave us a great round of boxing. This Saturday when Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez fight for the third time, we're hoping that they'll give fans an even greater spectacle. It's not that far-fetched. Pacquiao and Marquez's first two bouts — a 2004 draw and a 2008 split-decision victory for Pacquiao — were among the most memorable in both boxers' stellar careers. It's hard to pick one standout round from their first 24, since they were all fought with stunning amounts of speed, precision, ferocity, and resilience, so let's watch their last three minutes of boxing: Round 12 of Pacquiao/Marquez II, in Las Vegas on March 15, 2008.
Marquez gets the better of Pacquiao in this round, but Pacquiao roars back in the final minute, and the round ends with both fighters bloodied and exchanging power punches.
And here's the aforementioned Round 1 of Angulo-Kirkland, which Grantland covered exhaustively earlier this week. (Note: Since this fight was so recent, it's still difficult to find high quality YouTube videos of the first round. Please enjoy this black-and-white version.)
And, since it's just fun to watch three-minute bursts of intense pugilism, here are some of the other great rounds in modern boxing history:
I knew Jalen before he asked me to do this pod with him but I did not know how much he knew. You can talk football, baseball, basketball, Kardashian, and Pacquiao with him and he is an expert on all aspects. Okay, maybe not Kardashian but I guess that is what I am there for.
One sport that I had no idea Jalen was so well versed on is boxing. He was very knowledgeable and interested in the Manny Pacquiao Juan Manuel Marquez fight. I was very knowledgeable and interested in the Lenny Dykstra/Jose Canseco “fight”. Jalen will also casually break out a story every podcast that will make your jaw drop. This week he recounts the time that Shaquille O’Neal mushed Kobe during a five on five game. He wasn’t there but he has “100,000 credible sources” that corroborate the story.
We also touched on Ndamukong Suh's meeting with Goodell, pleaded for Peyton Manning to stay on the sideline, were dragged into talking Tim Tebow and Kim Kardashian (apologize in advance) and covered the cricket scandal, you won’t get in depth cricket coverage on Mike and Mike.
Enjoy the Jalen Rose pod, they honestly get better every week.
The two most marketable boxers in the world are also the two best boxers in the world. If that were the end of the statement, it would mean that we’re living through a rare moment in boxing history. But that’s not the end of the statement. These two boxers, who are a tier above whoever is no. 3 at the box office and whoever is no. 3 on the pound-for-pound list, have one more thing in common: They compete in the same weight class. This is beyond rare. This is, arguably, unprecedented.
But there’s a problem: Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather aren’t fighting each other. Mayweather is taking on Victor Ortiz this Saturday night. In November, Pacquiao is set to face Juan Manuel Marquez for a third time. They’re both decent fights. Unfortunately, if our two protagonists win — and they’re expected to — it won’t make them any more likely to meet in ring.
And if the two best and most bankable boxers alive should somehow never face each other, it would be the greatest failure for the capitalistic boxing business.