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Bradley avoids slugging match with Juan Manuel Marquez; keeps welterweight title

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Las Vegas Sun

Undefeated WBO welterweight champion Timothy Bradley Jr., left, punches on Juan Manuel Marquez of Mexico during their title fight at the Thomas & Mack Center Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013.

Bradley Defeats Marquez

Undefeated WBO welterweight champion Timothy Bradley Jr., left, takes a punch from Juan Manuel Marquez of Mexico during their title fight at the Thomas & Mack Center Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013. Launch slideshow »

Timothy Bradley almost seemed apologetic.

Following a split-decision victory against Juan Manuel Marquez Saturday to retain his WBO welterweight title, Bradley explained how his strategy was to box Marquez and not get into an all-out punching match in the middle of the ring.

While he won the fight at the Thomas & Mack Center, Bradley (31-0) didn’t win over many fans. They wanted to get their money’s worth, but he was disciplined in patiently attacking Marquez with his jab — over and over again.

“I know the fans are probably a little upset with me because I boxed a little bit and didn’t exchange with him,” Bradley said. “At times, I tried to make it as entertaining as possible. I had to box this way in order to get this win.”

Judge Robert Hoyle scored the 12-round fight 115-113 in favor of Bradley and Patricia Morse-Jarman saw it 116-112 for the champion. Glenn Feldman had it 115-113 for Marquez.

Marquez, however, won all of the style points in the court of public opinion.

“Ninety-five percent of the people in the arena were against us,” said Joel Diaz, Bradley’s trainer. “The only 5 percent with us were our families. If you want to go see a fight, you should go to a bar.”

There were no knockouts, but Bradley twice nearly sent Marquez to the canvas, including in the final seconds of the fight with a left hook. He also had a flurry of punches in the 10th that appeared to daze Marquez and get him off balance.

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Undefeated WBO welterweight champion Timothy Bradley Jr. celebrates his victory over Juan Manuel Marquez of Mexico at the Thomas & Mack Center Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013.

Bradley had no noticeable scratches or bumps on his face after the fight. Both of Marquez’s eyes were swollen and his forehead was scratched and swollen from taking the repeated jabs.

“I controlled the action all night with my jab and movement,” Bradley said. “Even when Marquez attacked at times, he was missing a lot of shots. I was making him miss and I was able to make him pay at times.”

Marquez didn’t see the fight that way. Almost immediately after the decision was announced, he was complaining about a poor decision -- and when Marquez complains about a bad decision, he is usually justified. He has a history of being slighted when the fight goes to the scorecards, coming up short three times to Manny Pacquiao in fights he arguably should have won.

Saturday added to that frustration — even though the Marquez camp seemed to be the lone one complaining.

“I need to knock people out to get a victory in Las Vegas,” Marquez said. “I need to be more scared of the judges than the opponent.”

Bradley, of course, won one of the most controversial boxing decision in the sport’s history in 2012 against Pacquiao. Despite most observers giving all rounds to Pacquiao, Bradley still won a split decision — a moment that led politicians in Washington to ask for an investigation into scoring.

“(Bradley) is very lucky,” said Ignacio “Nacho” Beristain, Marquez’s trainer and one of the sport’s most respected trainers. “He is the only undefeated fighter with two losses.”

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Juan Manuel Marquez of Mexico stands in the rings after going 12 rounds with WBO welterweight champion Timothy Bradley Jr. at the Thomas & Mack Center Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013. Bradley won by split decision.

Bradley responded by holding up his title belt — a championship he won because of being a good boxer, not fighter.

“It was hard. I’m not going to lie, it was hard,” Bradley said. “I like to fight. Believe it or not, I like to step in there and fight. But I had to listen to my corner to get this win because Marquez is a big, big puncher. He can punch and hurt me at anytime.”

There was little discussion on what’s next for both fighters. Bradley could be in line to fight the winner of the Pacquiao-Brandon Rios fight later this year in Macau because all three fighters are promoted by Top Rank. Time will tell if this was the last we’ll see of Marquez, who at age 40 had dodged questions all week about retirement.

“I just want to fight the best. That is it,” Bradley said.

Ray Brewer can be reached at 990-2662 or [email protected]. Follow Ray on Twitter at twitter.com/raybrewer21

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