The Legacy “One” / Bradley vs. Marquez
If Bradley decides “to hell with the crowd,” he will have to maintain an exceptionally fast outside pace and maintain it with extreme psychological discipline…
To Hell with the Crowd
“How are we looking in the ‘W’ department?”—Jensen Strauss, Schmidt family friend and Advisor
“Solid, but as you know, anything can happen.”—Schmidt
“There will be two front row ringside tickets for you when you get to Vegas and $50,000.00 for the ‘W’, on Marquez, if the Kid performs. You’re staying at Wynn’s and Mike, make sure you don’t leave the Kid alone. Other than that is there anything you want to tell me about him?”
“Well, the last time the Kid was in a venue surrounded by a bunch of seasoned old veterans trying to do the old psychological intimidating thing. During a break I asked him whether he was feeling any pressure from the atmosphere of these old guys making various comments. His answer: “Honestly Mr. Schmidt, I didn’t give it a second thought. I mean I heard them and I gave them the first thought but in the end result the hell with them. They mean absolutely nothing to me.” More on the Kid later.
Timothy Bradley is bluffing! He is either bluffing to himself, to you, or, generosity of thought, he’s playing psychological games. Timothy Bradley would like everyone to know that he is not really affected by the response received as a result of the Pacquiao decision at this point in time. The problem is that Champion Bradley just can’t stop talking about the result, the lack of respect, the respect that he shall earn. Well Champion Bradley you already earned it long before the Pacquiao affair. In actuality Champion Bradley is one of the most straightforward individuals who you will ever meet. One way or other this bluff business is self-motivation and self-motivation is taken, used, and manipulated in strange ways. Whatever works, if it works, so be it!
HBO Face Off: Two, Not of a Kind, but Working on a Full House
It was there to see, Bradley’s issues, in a microcosm before the main event, as Max Kellerman did a superb pinpoint job as both Champions met face-to-face. It was compelling! It is to be noted neither shook the other’s hand. Not even close!
One Champion, Marquez, speaks of legacy, fighting intelligently, and with technical ability. The other Champion, Bradley, speaks of the need to earn respect. Bradley speaks of images of getting knocked down and always getting up, and of being on the floor, like a rooster, “still pecking.” Bradley speaks of the damage he has taken in his career to date and “dealing with the consequences later.” He makes comments of being prepared to die in the ring. It makes one wonder what Bradley’s children think if in fact they hear such comments the next day at school, etc.
Marquez, the accountant by background, and eyes that shine bright of an analytical mind, watches Bradley intently. I had the pleasure of meeting Champion Marquez, along with Nacho, on the track and field at the University of Las Vegas a few days prior to the third Pacquiao fight. Make no mistake about Marquez fighting intent. What I saw in the Champion’s eyes that day leaves little doubt as to what deathly outer limits, similar to Bradley, that he is prepared to go to. The difference; he clearly is not going to make comments in that regard. Those types of comments are a sign of mental weakness. Marquez does not speak of getting knocked down. Marquez does not speak of the damage that he has suffered in the ring but rather the great quality of Champions he has fought in the past, and the great conditioning, ring intelligence, and focus required for victory.
In Dreams, Bad
It’s hard to imagine why Bradley’s brain trust allowed him to be videotaped, on a stretcher, being rolled down the back venue hallway, into a waiting ambulance, after his fight with Ruslan Provodnikov. What we learned as Max Kellerman moderated is that Mr. Champion Bradley suffered a concussion as a result of the Provodnikov fight, that for several weeks after the fight he was still feeling the effects of the damage done. He was suffering from slurred speech and that after two months he got his speech back and, as he stated, “I got my wits about me.” Champion Bradley went on to advise that he was a real Champion and that he wanted to prove to the people, in the Provodnikov fight, that he could “bring the house down.”
It doesn’t seem that long ago, life years considered, that Champion Bradley was washing dishes at Coco’s and serving tables at Mimi’s Restaurants for a meager $200.00 give and take. This background drives him forward. It is Bradley’s conveyed thought to Champion Marquez that if Marquez does not put him on the canvas, the 10-count way, that Marquez cannot win their fight. Bradley is a pressure fighter without a punch of the one through ten and out type. His KO percentage speaks for itself. He grinds his opponents down. His conditioning is superlative and he keeps his hands moving considerably, but Bradley is of the style, wear and tear, not only to opponent but, long term to self.
Unfortunately for Champion Bradley the Provodnikov fight was the wrong fight to “bring the house down.” Let’s be very honest with respect to Bradley’s performance against Provodnikov. He fought a stupid fight and when under fire, back to the ropes, he often looked very amateurish in his flurry of response.
For an individual who consistently states that he is not swayed by public opinion or media types, clearly Bradley fought a fight to satisfy those very people. He most certainly didn’t follow his Chief Second and Trainer’s ring plan before the fight or during the fight. In fact it was the Provodnikov fight where Bradley should have used his superior boxing skills against a powerful but one-dimensional opponent. It is this fight that Bradley needs to, one style way or another, “bring the house down.”
Bradley has made comment that Marquez will not be able to hit what he can’t see. As sure as those Coachella Valley winds blow in those desert storms, century after century, down Tim Bradley neighborhood way, and that the Champion sometimes uses for painful sandblasting like roadwork, at sometime during this fight, Bradley will revert to “Desert Storm” nature, bent at the waist, slightly down, with his head and eyes looking towards the canvas, ready to pop up and fire wide looping shots. This will be dangerous business against the superb combination punching Marquez.
In Dreams and In Reality
The reality of Bradley’s performance against Marquez will be born in the very thoughts that Tim Bradley cannot seem to keep out of his head. Thoughts of respect abound and there seems to be confusion of that need for respect in terms of what type of ring generalship is going to take place or what ring plan Bradley feels his mind can dictate to or for him. Will he box, or will he use his superior size, and attempt to enforce such size, and business of hands, born of youth, against Marquez?
After the Pacquiao fight Bradley considered himself the most hated fighter on the planet. He received death threats and numerous and sundry unkind comments via the multimedia route. Although he says it doesn’t bother him and suggests that he’s thriving on those comments, they clearly bother him to the extent as exhibited in the Provodnikov fight, Bradley has trouble staying true to his hand in terms of a responsible fight plan.
During “Face Off” he advised that the Provodnikov fight performance was due, in part, to the fact that he was in a “dark place” as a result of the Pacquiao fight. Enough said! Simple answer to any and all is very clear: shoot the messenger and not the fighter.
All Timothy Bradley did, he of the clean living, family man, pleasant going personality, was train and perform to the utmost against Pacquiao, fulfill his dream of a lifetime and do so nonetheless on an injured ankle suffered early on in the fight. Tim Bradley didn’t judge that fight. Shoot the messenger! Complain about the judges but don’t complain about Tim Bradley.
Bradley’s brain trust no doubt hope that Marquez, at age forty, will give truth to that jingle “Time Takes It All In The End” but in the end it might be that all Marquez needs is time to break Bradley down. In the end, the best judge of “time” is past behavior “time.” At some point in “time” Bradley will revert to previous form. At some point in “time” Bradley will, cards on the table, go head-to-head with Marquez.
The Pacquiao fight is going to loom large for Bradley in two contexts. Firstly if Timothy Bradley feels he is going to get the benefit of the doubt of another close decision, after the Pacquiao debacle, well that thought may not be born of reality. Whether you agreed with the decision or not, the simple fact is that it was highly controversial. Bradley is going to be hard-pressed to perform using that same style and earn the respect apparently he feels is still deserved. Alternatively Marquez, who is as good a ring general out of the ring along with Nacho, as he is in the ring, has clearly stated that he is prepared and quite comfortable with an envisioned Duran vs. Leonard Number One type of fight. Marquez is playing cards in advance, letting all see the hand, and the fact that he is, unlike Bradley, prepared and willing to engage. In short he’s giving a mindset that it is he will force the fight rather than Bradley and that it is he who should be rewarded in that context.
Champion Bradley is going to have to go out, if he can, and earn this victory the hard way. In his last two fights many have questioned whether Bradley should have been the judged victor. In this fight Bradley will have to press the “action button.” Well many feel Marquez received the “bad beat” in at least two of his Pacquiao fights the same cannot be said of Bradley with respect to his fight with Pacquiao and Provodnikov.
To Hell with the Crowd
Between rounds of the third Leonard vs. Duran fight, Leonard, mimicking the comments of his trainer in response to the crowd reaction, stated “to hell with the crowd.” Leonard was content with non-engagement and constant movement and it served him well in earning a decision but little in terms of generating fan appreciation. It takes an extreme set of good legs and an exceptional amount of psychological commitment to maintain that type of Leonard fight that was performed and more so for Bradley who more often than the not, when the fireworks start, is willing to engage. It is this type of entertaining style that earns “respect” from the majority of those that want entertainment.
Let me tell you about a 17-year-old Kid who is a poker prodigy. He understands “the hell with the crowd.” He understands performing on his own terms. Well Champion Bradley, the Kid has it right! The hell with everybody else. You can take it as belief from this young Kid that at the end of the day you better be looking out for number one. One only needs to turn the Boxing.com page to Clarence George’s quick but excellent summary of the legendary Sandy Saddler’s last days to understand the message. It is a message sadly redundant in this boxing world. Fight your own way Champion Tim Bradley and fight for yourself. The only person you need to please at this stage of your career is in fact yourself by way of the “W”. Look out for number one! It may be that Bradley is unable to beat the supreme technician in Marquez, one way, “my way” or any other way, but it is hard to imagine victory coming to Bradley the toe-to-toe way.
As for the Kid; my hometown of Waterloo has produced more poker prodigies than possibly anywhere in the world the past six years. In a span of four times in two years we have had big time winners in the international poker world. A few years back Mike (Timex) McDonald from Waterloo, walked away with 1.4 million dollars as the youngest European tour German Open Champion in history. We have had another young gentleman from Waterloo who walked away with a 1.7 million dollar payday at the World Poker Finals in Connecticut. He started playing poker while playing basketball on the University team. That is the University of Waterloo, which is a world-class Math and Engineering school. Microsoft is sprinkled with graduates from this school. These Kids, of a Math and Engineering background, play online poker and play in poker clubs at the University. Poker recruiting we shall call it. The Kid does not pretend to want to play in any term other than his own terms of play and “to hell with the crowd.” His “style” fits the occasion.
Caught in a Trap
In summary we shall see if Mr. Champion Bradley stays outside, throwing high volume punches and boxing and performing “to hell with the crowd” poker boxing. We shall see if his style fits the occasion. If he does he most assuredly will not earn that respect that he feels he needs. If Bradley decides “to hell with the crowd,” he will have to maintain an exceptionally fast outside pace and maintain it with extreme psychological discipline over 12 rounds. That is a hard “ask” against Marquez. Either way, Bradley working outside or Bradley being the bigger and stronger fighter and trying to work his way on the inside, you can be assured the Champion Marquez, as intelligent and technical as any fighter in recent memory, is ready to adjust and adapt.
To the winner of this fight goes the most certain option of multi-million dollar spring paydays. To the loser, if their surrounding advisors are fair, it is time to take a serious look at retirement. If Bradley wins he puts himself in a position for a huge payday for a Pacquiao rematch or, if he does not sign back with Top Rank, a massive payday against Floyd Mayweather. For Marquez, similarly, it will be the enticement for a massive unprecedented rival rematch with Pacquiao or alternatively retirement with the legacy of a name that will live for boxing forever.
Legacy “One”! Born of Bradley, a professional for nine years and almost two months, or if you prefer, give or take a leap, 3,327 days, or if you prefer, 79,848 hours of a focused boxing career. Similarly, of Marquez, twenty years, four and a half months, or if you prefer, similarly, 7,432 days, or 178,360 hours. Story telling for a lifetime to be packed into opening bell to ending bell, all that time gone in 48 minutes, more or less. Forty-eight minutes to glory and Bradley possibly left with a legacy “One” of the stigma of Pacquiao, and not his to blame, and Marquez with the legacy “One” possibly done or possibly another “One” with Pacquiao.
“Well Counsel (Schmidt), apparently young Bradley is a tough man as he has done personal Pyrrhic victory times two, being Pacquiao and Provodnikov. Do you know Counsel (Schmidt) what the Greek legend Pyrrhus had said to his friends when they congratulated him for his victory over the Romans, which was at the cost of a huge slaughter of his own side?” (Counsel Schmidt does not know what the Greek legend said but I’m sure Mr. Jensen Strauss is going to tell me!)
“Yes, but if we have such another victory, we are undone!”—Pyrrhus