By Gary Purfield
In what was billed as a top fight between two young, talented, and undefeated Americans for the top spot in the junior welterweight division saw a tactical fight with a disappointing ending. After several accidental head butts during the fight a final head butt ended the affair early in the tenth round.
As Bradley leaned in firing a punch Alexander returned fire and Bradley’s head collided with the left side of Alexander’s head and eye. Alexander moved away and stated he could not see causing referee Frank Garza to stop the fight sending it to the judges for a technical stoppage (where the very short tenth round was also scored as part of the decision). Bradley was awarded a unanimous decision by scores of 97-93, 96-95, and 98-93 as he improves to 27-0 (11 KO) with Alexander losing his unbeaten record falling to 21-1 (13 KO).
It would appear the judges favored Bradley’s pressure and activity over Alexander’s movement and ring generalship. Bradley had several points where he backed Alexander to the ropes where he would throw flurries of punches. Few of Bradley’s punches landed or had an affect but probably had enough show to allow him to pull out the close rounds.
The fight was not a barn burner or fight of the year candidate but a solid boxing match with each man looking to assert their style and game plan. Each round was close and tough to score with very few rounds being clear for one side. This writer saw it different than the judges awarding several of the close rounds to Alexander for ring generalship with a final score of 95-95.
Regardless of the outcome two fighters who were looking to make a statement as not just the best in the division but to become a marquee name worthy of being awarded box office fights against the top names such as Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao did not reach that level. The chess match that can be appreciated by the hardcore boxing fan likely did little to excite the casual fan. It certainly did not force the Mayweather or Pacquiao’s camps to consider Bradley or Alexander as a drawing power worth fighting.
Bradley mainly looked to pressure Alexander into corners and force him into even exchanges. At times he was successful and landed a few flush right hands that backed his opponent up. Alexander attempted to use his movement, boxing technique, and hand speed to keep Bradley in the center of the ring while landing clean effective punches. Alexander also had his moments of success with the game plan but never succeeded in landing meaningful blows that grabbed anyone’s attention, especially not Bradley who despite being caught cleanly several times was never fazed or deterred from continuing his attack.
The biggest story of the fight was the head butts. Going in this was a concern due to having a southpaw (Alexander) fighting an orthodox fighter (Bradley) who is known for having accidental head butts occur due to his face first style. Alexander was cut from head butts in rounds three and eight. Then in round ten another head butt that did not cause a cut but Alexander stated he could not see in the left eye from the contact put an end to the night.
“I could not see and my eye was burning, he’s got a big head. He didn’t stop me from using my skills, I was winning the fight.”
Bradley stated “he’s coming in I’m coming in with big shot. I have no idea why it was stopped, you got to ask him.”
Bradley went on to say “I tip my hat off to him, Devon Alexander is a great fighter. When asked about fighting Amir Khan “Khan is on my list.” I want the fight fans to pick who they want me to fight and that’s who I will fight next.”
While HBO has the ability to push a rematch more likely will be Bradley and Khan will get together while Alexander looks to rebound. The upside is while this may not have lived up to the billing both are still young and very talented. Each should be able to learn from this experience and use it towards better fights in the future.
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Gary’s score card
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