Long anticipated unification showdown between two unbeaten light welterweight champions, Timothy “The Desert Storm” Bradley (26-0,13KO) and Devon Alexander “The Great” is eight days away. With WBC and WBO titles at stake the twelve round bouts will be transmitted live by HBO Championship Boxing from Silverdome Arena in Pontiac, Michigan.
“This is the biggest fight outside of a Pacquiao vs. Mayweather, stated WBC light welterweight champ, Alexander during a telephone conference last week:” Everybody wants to see this fight. Two undefeated champions going at it toe-to-toe. It’s going to be an amazing fight.
“I like Bradley, “said one of the best in the business, former middleweight champion, Bernard Hopkins:” I like the way he fights and think he is a very good, sharp fighter too. I think it will be a competitive fight but Bradley will win by decision.” Evidently Las Vegas bookmakers like Bradley as well: he was set as two to one favorite in this contest. Twenty seven year old Bradley is four years senior to Alexander and he does seem more mature fighter with more experience. However Alexander (21-0,13KO’S) has advantage in power and he is not deterred by the odds.
“I have been working towards this since I was 7 years old,” said Alexander:” Since I came to the gym in St. Louis. I have been working hard every day. No short cuts. I started this journey, I won two National PAL titles, went to the Olympic trials. Now I’ve got to seize the moment. This is a big fight in my career. This will determine who the best 140-pounder is. Timothy Bradley I know will be ready and I am ready to show the world that I am the best at 140.”
After forcing Junior Witter to quit on his stool in 2009 and then stopping an iron chinned Juan Urango last year Devon Alexander was on a fast track to being “The Great”. However in his last outing, featured on HBO at his home town against a tough former champion, Andriy Kotelnik, Devon fell short of expectations. Manny believed that he got the home town decision in a very competitive fight.
“For Devon’s last fight, I think everyone considers that his toughest fight, basically he was wound up and excited by being at home, having a great promotion like that and having a huge crowd showing up for his first time defending his title at home,” explained Devon’s chief trainer and a father figure Steve Cunningham:” He was jacked up and wanting to impress. Coming off his last few fights and winning by knockout he really wanted to impress and get Kotelnik out of there. My comment to him was to “Calm down and focus on the game plan.” Execute what we worked on for 8 weeks.”
Interestingly enough Bradley’s analysis of his opponent’s last fight was: “Devon has got heart.” That he does. Being beat to the punch,young champion sucked it up in the latter rounds and eked out a decision to retain his undefeated record. There will be no surprises in this fight as both champions are very familiar with each other.
“The fact that I know this kid Timothy Bradley and know him very well” continued trainer Steve Cunningham :” We’ve known Tim from the amateurs – Devon and Tim came up through the USA Amateur boxing program and were always in the top two or three in every national tournament and Bradley has even fought Devon’s brother Vaughn. So I know what he does well. He’s an excellent fighter and trains very well. He’s earned everything he’s got and if we want to be considered the No. 1 guy at 140, this is the guy we’ve got to beat. Not the No. 3, 4 or 5 guy, we’ve got to beat the No. 1 guy if we want to be considered the No. 1 guy in this division. Tim Bradley is that guy right now. Just like Auburn had to beat Oregon to win the national championship, Devon has to beat Tim to become the new American superstar in boxing. On January 29th we will seize the opportunity.”
Now that we have compared this fight to a college football championship game and a Superbowl of boxing between Mayweather and Pacquiao the only thing left to do is tune in on January 29th or if you are a hardcore fan, plenty of tickets are still available. I know it is cold in Michigan this time of the year, but once inside the squared circle both champs will bring on a lot of heat.
Despite having an edge in power, southpaw Alexander has learned his lesson and is not looking for a knock out. ”I am just going to follow the game plan that my coach has set out to do,” concluded Alexander:” My coach and me have a master game plan and nobody will outwork me. I see me taking over and winning each round and if Timothy Bradley is there for 12-rounds then so be it. I am looking to take over every round.”
Contact Igor Frank at [email protected]