After months of hype and buildup we were supposed to see two of America’s top boxers go at it last night (Jan. 29) at the Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan, when undefeated Jr. Welterweight Champions Devon Alexander (21-1, 13KOs) and Tim Bradley (27-0, 11KOs) unified their titles. Instead, we were treated to a disappointing fight with an even more disappointing ending after Alexander seemed to pack it in after he was headbutted in the 10th round.
A stoppage was a bit of a surprise because neither of these guys has much in the way of knockout power, at least not in their fists. But Bradley does have a reputation as a banger with his head as several former opponents have also been cut up while fighting him. The two champs clashed heads on a few occasions, but the worst happened in the early going of the 10th round.
The impact could be heard pretty clearly on television and Alexander complained his eye was stinging and couldn’t see. In a scene reminiscent of Evander Holyfield’s fight against Sherman Williams a week earlier, Alexander, like Holyfield, didn’t seem to be interested in continuing the fight. This could be seen as the easy way out, especially with a rematch clause against Bradley in his contract.
Alexander was taking more of a risk than Holyfield though, as Holyfield knew he was guaranteed a “No Contest” decision. Alexander had no such luxury and the fight went to the scorecards where he lost a pretty wide unanimous decision by scores of 98-93, 97-93, and 96-95. The technical decision means Bradley left the ring with his WBC title as well as Alexander’s WBO belt.
The fight itself was mainly forgettable and uneventful as neither fighter really showed much in the way of offense. Bradley managed to land a couple of solid shots, but that was about it. It’s understandable the HBO announcers had to heap some praise on Bradley, but I didn’t really see anything from him in the way of speed and power. Alexander was even worse.
If there is a rematch in the contract I guess the public will have to put up with another bout between these two. It’s going to be a pretty hard sell after this performance though, especially to television networks, unless HBO also agreed to a rematch. However, who’s to say another meeting between these two won’t turn into a slugfest?
I’m sure there were some viewers who were happy with what they saw and these were other junior welterweights such as Marcos Maidana and Amir Khan. Based on last night’s fight, Bradley and Alexander don’t appear to be at their skill level. Also, talk of Bradley fighting the likes of Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao are way too premature, especially if he’s got to fight them at the heavier welterweight limit.
I don’t see the public buying a Pacqauio vs Bradley fight unless Bradley dominates Alexander in a rematch or beats Khan or possibly Maidana. As for the future of American boxing, it doesn’t look too promising at the moment if Bradley and Alexander are rated as the cream of the crop.