Finally, a good fight! Timothy Bradley and Devon Alexander
January 25, 2011 7:06 AM
by Michael Katz
Nothing happened, a good sign these days in boxing.
Yet Yahoo.com was asking for my monthly update of my pound-for-pound list and it made me realize that, hey, for the next rating period there would indeed be something to look back at and force me to reevaluate.
Finally, a fight between two members of my Top 10 was coming up – two undefeated 140-pound titlists, Timothy Bradley and Devon Alexander – and for the first time in months, the future seemed worthwhile.
Bradley, the almost 2-1 favorite in HBO’s telecast next Saturday from the Silverdome in Pontiac, Mich., agreed "the state of boxing right now is at a low," but that matchups like this between two prime time athletes would do a lot "to bring it back."
There is no mystery here. They are both action fighters who have been on this collision course for years and the only question might be how many times are they going to collide?
There is a "natural" opponent awaiting the winner in another junior welterweight titlist, Amir Khan of England. Dare we say the winner could also be envisioned facing 135-pound champion Juan Manuel Marquez or the pound-for-pound leaders, Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jr. (though Mayweather is not on my list at all).
"This is the best fight in boxing because we are not going to see Manny and Floyd fight any time soon," said Bradley.
The stylist matchup virtually guarantees a dilly. Their work rates are impressive and Bradley will have to trap the elusive southpaw.
My pound-for-pound list indicates my preference for Alexander. Though Bradley has done a bit more in racking up 26 victories, I have him listed at No. 9, two slots behind Alexander.
I have never been regarded as an optimist when it comes to this business, but my No. 8, Fernando Montiel, is scheduled next month to meet my No. 3, Nonito Donaire. Yes, without a blow being struck, 2011 is already shaping up as a much improved vintage over the late, but not lamented last entry.
There are reports of comebacks by Winky Wright and Chris Martin, balanced by the reluctance of Evander Holyfield and Roy Jones Jr. to leave the ring. Holyfield, in what "Irony" Mike might consider a delicious bit of justice, had last Saturday’s farce with journeyman Sherman Williams abbreviated to a three-round "no contest" because of cuts sustained in a clash of heads, thus jeopardizing his March 5 date with Brian Nielsen.
Speaking of Tyson, Alexander slept in Mike’s old crib while living in promoter Don King’s Las Vegas house training for his biggest bout. The St. Louis southpaw said the bed was so big, he easily fit in one half. There will be no cheap shots here. Sorry.
I believe Alexander is the underdog here because he struggled with rugged former title-holder Andriy Kotelnik last August, winning a unanimous decision by three scores of 116-112. But Kotelnik is no walk in the park, though he was handled much more impressively by Khan and struggling with Alexander proved his toughness, especially to Bradley.
"I’m not going to lie," said Bradley. "I saw some heart. I felt I was looking at myself in the mirror."
Great styles make great fights and, yes, there is a rematch clause, though there is a long list of other lucrative assignments awaiting the winner. Okay, so the fight is in Pontiac, Mich., not exactly a hotbed of pugilism. Big deal.
It’s also on HBO and thus very accessible to those of us who care to see the very best against the very best.
Yes, nothing has happened – yet. But Alexander-Bradley should be just the kind of happening we need.