Devon Alexander displays both belts
By Derek Bonnett: The junior welterweight class is rapidly becoming a fan favorite topic for online boxing message boards. Talks range from the legitimacy of Amir Khan as a world titlist to the validity of Marcos Rene Maidana’s recent injuries to who deserves to be considered number one between Devon Alexander and Timothy Bradley. It’s an interesting three-tiered conversation to follow and debate, but the fans seem most ardent about one of these matters above the other two.
When are we going to see Alexander-Bradley for a WBC, IBF, and WBO unification bout between the two top unbeatens in the division?
Rumors have surfaced on the internet about a possible match-up for January 2011. While nothing is set or officially confirmed, Alexander attests it has been mentioned as a possibility, but cannot commit to anything beyond his August 7 title defense against former world champion Andriy Kotelnik, 31-3-1 (13), in the champion’s native Saint Louis, Missouri, USA.
Alexander, 20-0 (13), is coming upon a full year of being world champion on August 1. Still only twenty-three, he will be making his second defense as world champion against Kotelnik. Being introduced as champion is something Alexander the Great enjoys on his plight toward 140 pound domination.
"It feels good [to defend two titles] because I think about when I first turned pro and I was fighting when nobody was in the arena. I’m excited," Alexander stated.
Alexander will be headlining a stacked HBO televised card at the Scottrade Center in his home town. His titles will be on the line that night along with Cory Spinks’ and Tavoris Cloud’s respective titles at junior middleweight and light heavyweight.
Devon Alexander will return to HBO after a very impressive showing on the premium cable giant’s airwaves this past March. Last time out, Alexander unified the WBC and IBF junior welterweight titles in Connecticut, USA with a thrilling stoppage of two-time world champion Juan Urango, a feat Ricky Hatton and Andre Berto failed to complete in their own victories over the Colombian.
"We knew Urango was going to keep coming and we knew we were going to have to be in shape," Alexander reflected about his recent preparations and his current opponent. "Kotelnik has a lot of experience and we know he is not a push over, so we are going to be [just as] ready. With me, I don’t try to outdo anybody. I just train hard and when I get in there I do my game plan and execute it real well."
Fellow champion Amir Khan pitched a near shut-out of Kotelnik to win the WBA title at 140 pounds. That was just over a year ago and Kotelnik, born in Ukraine now fighting out of Hamburg, Germany, has not fought since. It will be interesting to see if Alexander can "outdo" Khan without even trying the way he did Hatton and Berto. Incidentally, Alexander has also topped Bradley by stopping Junior Witter while Bradley was forced to go the full 12.
As far as Bradley is concerned, Alexander doesn’t think the WBO champion’s recent bouts with Kendall Holt, Nate Campbell, Lamont Peterson, and Carlos Abregu should excuse him for not meeting him in the ring. Alexander feels ducked.
"Those guys don’t have the same skill level as me. I don’t think so," Alexander commented. [Bradley] says he wants money, but he will make his biggest payday fighting me. [Against Abregu] I wasn’t impressed at all. His skills are limited and he punches with his head down. He’s got a lot of flaws."
If and when Alexander will have the opportunity to expose these flaws he sees in Timothy Bradley remains to be seen. Like other appealing match-ups in the sport of boxing these days, the world will have to wait.
Regardless of how Alexander felt Bradley performed against Abregu, his welterweight experiment was a successful venture and he is now ready for the next step of his career. The better Alexander the Great can perform against Kotelnik, and live up to his moniker, the more likely we will be to see the cable giants make Alexander-Bradley a reality for boxing fans.
Until then, we will just have to continue our online debates in full force in search of an answer to the pressing question: who is the world’s best junior welterweight.
August 1, 2010