Las Vegas, NV, United States (4E Sports) – Timothy Bradley scored a 12-round split decision win over four-division world champion Juan Manuel Marquez to defend the World Boxing Organization (WBO) welterweight belt Saturday at Thomas and Mack Center.
Two judges favored Bradley via scores of 116-112 and 115-113 to keep the title that he snatched from Manny Pacquiao last year. Marquez got the nod of one judge, 115-113.
With the victory, the 30-year-old Bradley improved to 31-0 with 12 knockouts while the 40-year-old Marquez dropped to 55-7-1 with 40 knockouts.
The younger Bradley was the quicker between the two while Marquez also did well in exchanges but his punches were few and far between. Marquez had his best round in round nine, rattling Bradley with a flurry of punches.
However, Bradley survived the challenge and almost floored Marquez in the dying seconds of the fight.
The Bradley-Marquez sight was overshadowed by the featherweight fight between Orlando Salido and Orlando Cruz, boxing’s first openly gay boxer.
Salido defeated Cruz via a seventh-round technical knockout to win the vacant WBO featherweight belt. He improved to 40-12-2 (28 knockouts).
Despite the loss, Cruz was hailed as a hero by many for coming out as a gay fighter in such a physical sport.
Cruz, who wore a rainbow colored trunks, signifying the colors of the LGBT community, dropped to 20-3-1 (10 knockouts).
“Cruz is strong and fast, and I had to fight with intelligence and put a lot of pressure on him,” said Salido, who was ahead on all three scorecards at the time of the knockout.
Meanwhile, two-time Ukrainian Olympic gold medalist Vasyl Lomachenko (1-0, 1 KOs) looked sensational in his professional debut as he stopped veteran Jose Luis Ramirez (24-3-2, 15 KOs) in the fourth round of their scheduled 10-round featherweight bout.
Other winners were light heavyweight “Irish” Seanie Monaghan, featherweight Jun Doliguez of the Philippines, welterweight prospect Mikael Zewski, heavyweight prospect Trevor McCumby (13-0, 10 KOs) and welterweight Brad Solomon.