Boxing/MMA

Alexander Moves Up, Nick Charles, Bundrage & Other Boxing Musings

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By Nick Tylwalk

I had a whole 1,000-word post pretty much done concerning this Saturday's HBO card and then lost it to some browser-based BS. The lesson? Always, always save your work as you go. You'd think I would have learned that by now.

No matter. It simply means there's enough time to regroup and turn this into another edition of....

SHOE SHINING

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This judge looked an inmate square in the eyes and did something that left the entire courtroom in tears:

* ESPN's Dan Rafael tweeted just a few minutes ago that Devon Alexander is done at 140 and is doing what all the cool kids are doing, heading to 147. That's all well and good, but what he really needs is an attention-grabbing victory at any weight. Saturday wasn't it, though I'll agree with Rafael and others who say the decision was no robbery, because it was a close fight. But the truth is that Alexander has followed his two most impressive performances with three basically adequate ones. His lack of top end power hurts him in two ways, as it limits his ability to threaten elite opponents and limits his fan appeal - which clearly needs help as he doesn't even get huge crowds to watch him in his native St. Louis. And isn't moving to welterweight just going to highlight his lack of KO pop? To reverse a famous quote from Denny Green, maybe Alexander just isn't who we thought he was...

* Co-feature winner Tavoris Cloud provided the contrast, struggling for a while to keep up with Yusaf Mack but closing the show with a painful looking eighth-round stoppage. Though he was a force of nature against the lesser foes he faced while on his way up the ladder, Cloud is a bit of a grinder against tougher competition. He has quick but not super fast hands, he's assertive but not a super ring general, and he definitely leaves himself open for counters. But man, he's got thunder in both hands if he corners you. The HBO crew mentioned the possibility of Cloud fighting Jean Pascal on the Bernard Hopkins-Chad Dawson undercard, and I would pay to see that. Two guys who won't throw 100 punches a round but also won't get cheated when they do swing...

* What is it with fighters from Argentina and narrow, divisive decisions? Maybe next time Lucas Matthysse spars with Sergio Martinez, Maravilla can pass along the secret of how to use a gut-wrenching defeat to propel yourself to bigger and better things. Or perhaps another countryman, Marcos Maidana, could teach Matthysse how to find those couple of extra points that can swing a split decision the other way...

* Not that it was unexpected, but it was great to see the moment of silence before the HBO main event to honor the late Nick Charles. The former CNN and Showtime sports reporter was clearly passionate about boxing, as evidenced by the fact that he helped call a fight just a few weeks ago (which, by the way, was also a good look by HBO) while in the midst of his losing battle with cancer. By all accounts, he was also a genuinely good guy, and he will certainly be missed...

* The late career title run of Cornelius "K9" Bundrage has to count as one of the most surprising (if mostly under the radar) developments in boxing over the last year or two. I remember seeing him on The Contender back in 2006 and feeling like he was distinctly average. But apparently the combination of toughness, persistence and Manny Steward can take you pretty far. I don't think he's going to scare guys like Miguel Cotto, Saul Alvarez or Alfredo Angulo, but K9 deserves a lot of credit for even getting in the same neighborhood...

* I need to keep assuring myself that we really are less than a week away from seeing Wladimir Klitschko and David Haye square off. Please use any lucky charms you believe in to help ensure no last minute snafus, because this is the first heavyweight title fight in a while that actually seems to be worth anticipating.

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