In June 2012, at the conclusion of Timothy Bradley-Manny Pacquiao, I paced swiftly up and down press row asking anyone in view how they had scored the fight. At the time, I could find only one person who had scored the fight for Bradley. As I walked through the doors of the MGM Grand’s media center, and into the post-fight press conference, Top Rank chief Bob Arum was already at the podium. “Where’s the commission?” he screamed in frenzy.
Sixteen months later, Juan Manuel Marquez vs. Bradley on HBO pay-per-view is being sold as, “The two men that beat Manny Pacquiao.” I asked Arum Friday about the wrath he showed minutes after the Bradley-Pacquiao decision, and why he may feel different now.
“Well, the truth is they both have official decisions over Pacquiao, that is true,” he said. “Do I think that the judge’s decision, which is the official decision in the Pacquaio fight, was correct? Obviously not. That woman [C.J. Ross], who called the [Floyd] Mayweather-Canelo [Alvarez fight] a draw, she proved her incompetence.”
The most intriguing facet of Saturday’s main event at the Thomas and Mack Center is most boxing enthusiasts cannot give you a definitive answer on who will come out victorious. Arum provided his opinion about what he’d do if he had to put his own money on Saturday night’s fight.
“I don’t know who’s going to win, but if I had to bet the fight, I would bet Marquez,” Arum said. “He has one advantage over Bradley, and virtually any other fighter that he fights: He can switch styles in the middle of a round. So if he goes out and he tries something with Bradley and it’s not working and he gets hit, he knows how to switch right away.
“With other fighters it takes time, so his ability to switch on the fly, and with his great corner Nacho Beristain, it gives him the advantage,” Arum continued. “Forget the age, forget that Bradley has better hand speed, that to me, and people haven’t talked about it, is the defining difference between them. That carried him through the Pacquaio fights.”
Right now, the Top Rank/HBO and Golden Boy/Showtime feud is somewhat in the backdrop. Both promotional companies have provided high profile, high quality fights in 2013, but that cannot go on infinitely. I asked Arum what he has in mind next for the winner of tomorrow night’s fight.
“You have to look at the road, [Brandon] Rios-[Manny] Pacquaio, who knows who wins that,” Arum said. “You have [Ruslan] Provodnikov-[Mike] Alvarado, a very interesting fight. Marquez-[Miguel] Cotto, how about that? A Mexican and a Puerto Rican fight at 150 pounds. I have a lot of options.”