This piece originally ran in the August 10, 2017 edition of the Fightful Boxing Newsletter. For news, results, analysis, rankings, and retrospectives, check out the free Fightful Boxing Newsletter each Thursday morning.
Mexican boxing superstar Juan Manuel Marquez is set announce his retirement after more than 20 years of active competition. On the other side, Timothy Bradley has also announced his retirement, continuing a somewhat unusual trend of great boxers retiring in the past month.
Marquez is probably best known for his four-fight rivalry against Manny Pacquiao, in which two of those fights headlined pay-per-views that had more than a million buys. After failing to defeat Pacquiao in his first three attempts (two losses and a draw), Marquez got his revenge in the fourth and final encounter when he knocked out Pacquiao towards the end of the sixth round.
Marquez has not fought since beating Mike Alvarado in 2014 to win the WBO International welterweight title. Marquez had been trying to secure a fight against Miguel Cotto, another boxer who has won a world title in four different weight classes. Negotiations had been taking place since last year, but the two sides could not agree to a weight.
There was interest from Marquez's side to still have the fight against Cotto in late 2017 after Cotto's upcoming fight against Yoshihiro Kamegai for the vacant WBO junior middleweight title. Marquez was set to compete in a fight soon, but his return was delayed as Marquez needed more time to train.
If this indeed is the end of Marquez's career, the 43-year-old will retire with a 56-7-1 record. Marquez has won world titles at featherweight, super featherweight, lightweight and junior welterweight.
Bradley's health has not been 100 percent at times since his 2013 fight Russian slugger Ruslan Provodnikov, a fight that Bradley won via unanimous decision and retained his WBO welterweight title. That fight, according to Bradley, left residual damage on Bradley for several weeks.
“A few weeks after the fight, I was still affected by the damage that was done,” Bradley said at the time. “My speech was a little bit off. I was slurring a little bit. But after about two months, I cleared up and I have my wits about me now.”
Bradley is also best known for his trilogy fights against Pacquiao, which started with a highly controversial first fight in 2012, in which Bradley won via split decision. Pacquiao would go on to win the next two fights in the series, in 2014 and 2016, respectively. The 2016 fight against Pacquiao was the last fight Bradley has fought in.
Some of the many opponents Bradley has defeated include Pacquiao, Provodnikov, Marquez, Devon Alexander, Brandon Rios, Lamont Peterson, Joel Casamayor and Jessie Vargas, all former world champions. Bradley would retire with a 33-2-1 (1 NC) record, having held the WBO and WBC light welterweight and WBO welterweight titles.
His fight against Provodnikov would end up being one of the most entertaining fights in the last few years, but it also highlights the dangers that boxing could bring. In recent years, Bradley had served as a boxing commentator on ESPN boxing telecasts, being a part of the three-man broadcast team for Pacquiao's loss to Jeff Horn and will definitely continue to be on that role since he and fellow broadcast partner and former trainer, Teddy Atlas, do have good chemistry at times and does know the divisions that he has fought at very well, which is always good to have on a boxing commentary team.
Both Marquez and Bradley fought each other in 2013 and what many would think is one of the better matches of that year and was a moderate success for HBO. The fight drew 375,000 buys on HBO PPV and 13,111 in attendance at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, drawing a live gate of $2,998,950. Bradley unleashed a flurry of offense in the final round which actually won him the fight in the scorecards. Bradley won the fight via split decision (116-112, 115-113, 113-115) to retain his WBO junior welterweight title.
2017 has been an extremely good year for boxing in terms of fights and financial success, but it has seen a number of Hall of Fame boxers retire in an unusually short amount of time. Within the past month or so, guys like Bradley, Marquez, Klitschko, Fury (for good this time it seems), Robert Guerrero, Takashi Miura and Takashi Uchiyama announced their retirement from the sport, but the reasons for each boxer retiring is almost completely different from one another.
Other fighters like Miguel Cotto are also set to retire very soon so 2017 might just be the year with the best retiring class in recent memory.