HBO's pay-per-view broadcast for Juan Manuel Marquez vs. Tim Bradley needed the main event to deliver in a big way after three fights on the broadcast that are best described as "lackluster."
Luckily for HBO, Bradley and Marquez delivered in an entertaining fight that saw both men spend the fight trying to make adjustments on a technical level while also constantly engaging enough to keep it from getting the "boring chessmatch" label.
Many of the early rounds between Marquez and Bradley were extremely close with any scoring being based on Bradley's counterpunching, jab and landing a higher volume of punches against Marquez's power punching and aggression.
The HBO broadcasters felt that Bradley was running away with the fight and giving him basically every round, but fight media on Twitter had the fight much closer.
In the late rounds the scoring appeared to get easier. Bradley would win his rounds a bit more obviously, landing good shots and Marquez winning his rounds with aggression and power that kept Bradley quiet.
By the time the final round came to its conclusion, SB Nation had the fight as a very close 115-113 (seven rounds to five) for Tim Bradley.
One of the three official judges agreed with the score, giving Bradley the same 115-113 edge. Another felt Marquez had won 115-113. But the final judge saw it a bit more decisively at 116-112.
With the win, Bradley remained undefeated and will look for another fight where he can make the kind of money that he has against Manny Pacquiao and now Marquez. That fight might not exist outside of those two opponents and Bradley is not an attraction himself and needs a big name A-side to draw.
It's probable that Bradley will end up on an HBO Championship Boxing card, not back on pay-per-view unless a rematch is in order.
Marquez claimed that he had been robbed once again and expressed doubt over if he'll continue fighting. But that's the kind of doubt that tends to fade quickly for fighters, even 40 year old sure-thing hall of famers.