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Bradley Affirms 140 Pound Superiority, For Now


All pics supplied by David Martin Warr
All pics supplied by David Martin Warr



By Derek Bonnett: The sport of boxing wanted Devon Alexander and Timothy Bradley’s 140 pound clash to unify the WBC and WBO titles to be a bout of super fight stature. However, the combatants involved simply could not garner the same attention of previous 140 pound unification bouts such as Zab Judah versus Kostya Tszyu or Meldrick Taylor versus Julio Cesar Chavez. While well crafted, this match-up simply was not of the same mold. The live attendance proved this and, more importantly, the two combatants trading leather established this encounter for what it was: a good, but not super fight.

Regardless of how mild the action inside the ropes acted out in Pontiac, Michigan, USA, the fans at the Silverdome and the boxing fans watching at home via HBO all witnessed Timothy Bradley assert himself over the game Devon Alexander to become WBO/WBC junior welterweight champion. After ten incomplete rounds of action, likely to be best remembered for the accidental fouls which led to a premature ending, Bradley earned a deserving unanimous technical decision by scores of 97-93, 96-95, and 98-92. SecondsOut had the bout in the same realm at 97-94.

Bradley, now 27-0 (11), started the first round by working the body of his nemesis while Alexander could only throw one punch at a time. However, the former WBC champion, 21-1 (13), utilized his considerable advantage in speed to get his punches off, but could not find his mark cleanly. In round two, Alexander still found himself connecting mostly with the gloves of Bradley, but he found success with the left jab and some work downstairs of his own. The first two rounds seemed split.

Bradley began to create some distance on the scorecards in rounds three and four. "Desert Storm", as Bradley is known, landed a big left hook to start the seventh minute of action and a huge combination backed Alexander up along the ropes. Bradley, 27, went back to the body and during an exchange the two fighters’ skulls collided to produce a cut over the right eye of Alexander. Alexander’s trainer Kevin Cunningham protested wildly between rounds, but no true malice was evident from the unfortunate collision. Alexander began the fourth round with less composure. He shifted his body wildly and missed with his punches. The round was punctuated by a Bradley right hand near the end of the round. Bradley appeared to take both frames.

Alexander showed more effective foot work in the fifth round and his jab found its mark more accurately. However, the left hooks by Bradley and his renewed commitment to the body kept the round even on SecondsOut’s scorecard. Bradley continued to punch with more authority than Alexander, who came into the bout with the greater reputation for power. The right hand found its home repeatedly for Bradley and Alexander resorted to reacting more than picking his shots wisely.

The WBC champion dug deeper in round seven and eight though and outworked Bradley for much of the six minutes. Alexander began jabbing to the body and landing his left. Even though Alexander still caught the gloves of his opponent much of the time, he was the busier fighter. With the cut a non-issue through the eighth round, Alexander continued to punch more freely than at any other time in the bout. Right hooks landed for the twenty-three year old and combination punching took the rounds from Bradley, who now was reduced to single shots.



Bradley seized the momentum back from Alexander in the ninth with cleaner jabs and quick combinations to the head. He forced Alexander backward and relied upon greater aggression to take the round. The tenth saw another accidental clash of heads after Bradley took an early lead in the round with wild punches, which landed with infrequency, but stalled any attack from Alexander. As Alexander initiated a clinch, Bradley came in to fire a combination and the two men collided. Alexander complained to the referee and once again turned his back to his opponent, wincing and moaning. The ringside doctor tried to scrutinize the injury of Alexander, but the soon to be former WBC champion could not open his eyes for any substantial inspection. The collision occurred on the left side of Alexander’s face; yet, he complained about the right eye previously cut in round three. The action was halted after it was determined Alexander could no longer continue and the first big fight of 2011 was marred with by an abrupt conclusion.

After receiving the decision, Bradley praised the now once beaten Alexander’s ability and prognosticated the St. Louis, Missouri native’s return to the championship level in the near future. In a post-fight interview with HBO’s Larry Merchant, Bradley attested Amir Khan and Marcos Rene Maidana were on his immediate radar, but that his ultimate goal was to meet Manny Pacquiao in something more resembling a super fight.


 


Alexander also agreed that Khan and Maidana could fit into his plans, but focused more on a rematch clause mandating a return bout with Bradley.


 


Going into this unification bout, Bradley already held wide recognition as the best 140 pounder in the world. Defeating Alexander comfortably allowed him to retain his number one status and to draw more power at the negotiating table in the future with two of the four major governing bodies’ belts, for however long he will be allowed to keep them. Yet, even in victory, the gap between Bradley and number two Amir Khan seems smaller. Khan-Bradley may be the real super fight at 140 pounds if one is to be had.

January 29, 2011


For further boxing discussion contact Derek Bonnett on Facebook or at mabfan@comcast.net.






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