LAS VEGAS -- If there were doubts -- and there were -- Timothy Bradley wanted to clear them up in the final seconds of his gritty 12-round fight with Juan Manuel Marquez on Saturday night.
As his World Boxing Organization welterweight title defense at Thomas and Mack Center came to a close, Bradley threw a hard left that struck Marquez flush on the jaw and left him staggered.
And for the third consecutive fight, Palm Springs' Bradley (31-0) found a way to win the narrow favor of judges, edging Marquez by split decision.
Judge Robert Hoyle scored it 115-113 for Bradley, and Patricia Morse Jarman had it 116-112 while Glenn Feldman scored it 115-113 for Marquez.
"I did everything I wanted to do," Bradley said after edging Manny Pacquiao by a hotly contested split decision in 2012, then surviving a 12th-round knockdown to beat Ruslan Provodnikov by unanimous decision in Carson in March.
"I jabbed. I had control. I gave him a boxing lesson," Bradley said.
Bradley, 30, relied on his faster hands and legs and ability to jab to beat the 40-year-old Marquez (55-7-1) and avoid the Mexican's biggest punches.
Marquez bitterly left the ring afterward, upset on the heels of his knockout win over Pacquiao in December.
There's no love lost by Marquez toward Nevada judges, whom he believed deprived him of a decision win over Pacquiao for the same belt in 2011. A previous draw and split-decision loss to Pacquiao also happened in Las Vegas.
"I came to win; I thought I did win," Marquez said. "The judges took it away from me. You don't have to knock out the other guy to win the fight. I did my job. I thought I won the fight.
"I've been robbed six times in my career."
The judges were unanimous in giving Bradley the second, fifth, sixth and seventh rounds.
Marquez swept only the ninth round on the scorecards and he won the last four rounds on Hoyle's scorecard. Fatigued with some eye swelling while trying to match Bradley's punching with more defining blows, Marquez got the better of an entertaining exchange in the 10th.
It wasn't enough.
The frustrated Marquez, who was seeking a Mexican record fifth world title in a different weight class, said after the fight that he would retire.
Asked whether he would ever again fight in Nevada, he said, "I don't think so."
Earlier, Orlando Cruz's attempt to become boxing's first openly gay world champion was denied as Mexico's Orlando Salido rode his power-punching advantage to a seventh-round knockout.
Salido (40-12-2, 28 knockouts) recaptured the World Boxing Organization belt he lost to Oxnard's Mikey Garcia in January, muting left-handed Cruz's boxing skill with raw, harder shots to the head and body.
In the seventh, Salido, 32, pressed Cruz to a neutral corner and landed a hard right near Cruz's left ear that sent Cruz on his way down.
Salido might next fight Ukrainian two-time Olympic champion Vasyl Lomachenko, who impressively delivered a whipping left hand to the gut of Mexico's Jose Ramirez in the fourth round, knocking out Ramirez in the final second of the round.
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