Timothy Bradley and 2 Young Men Who Should Get Credit for Beating Old Champs
When a fan watches a fighter they adore grow and succeed, they don't wish to witness his inevitable fall, but if they must see it, they'd rather it be by the hands of a greater fighter than by Father Time.
From Julio Cesar Chavez to Shane Mosley, age has caught up to some of the best fighters to ever do battle in the famous square circle, and the fighters who suffer from this receive the most backlash.
Promoters, lack of options and the nature of boxing are reasons why an old fighter is fed to a younger one, but fans find it easier to hurl anger at the most visible source affiliated with what they hate.
Fans in forums refer to melodramatic terms that describe a young fighter's victory as more akin to a mugging of a boxing senior citizen than an actual fight.
The perpetrator of the mugging, even if on direct orders from a larger entity (promoter, manager, public, media), is the young fighter, and that is an inescapable truth.
But what if the young fighter is facing the best available competition? What about the old fighter's craftiness and refined technique that the younger fighter has yet to pick up on?
And the greatest question of all, what if the old fighter in question is not decrepit and still has a relatively good-conditioned physique and decent reflexes?
The following three future fights epitomize the idea that fans underestimate old fighters vs. their younger counterparts in the ring.
Devon Alexander (Facing 37-Year-Old Randall Bailey Sept. 8)
Randall Bailey (43-7, 37 KO), a 37-year-old IBF welterweight titlist and knockout artist, sent 29-year-old previously undefeated Mike Jones (26-1, 18 KO) crashing to the canvas twice in Rounds 10 and 11.
Jones took his second fall to the canvas from a beautiful textbook right uppercut that he could not recover from. Despite his age, Bailey is a tough test for anyone looking for a title.
25-year-old Devon Alexander (23-1, 13 KO) is a former junior welterweight world champion looking to earn his first belt at welterweight when he meets Bailey on Sept. 8.
Though Alexander recently handled a knockout artist Marcos Maidana (31-3, 28 KO) in his first trip to the welterweight division, Bailey is a much more proven monstrous puncher.
While Alexander is no stranger to big punchers and is favored thanks to his speed, skills and youth, a very confident Bailey may cut off the ring, jab while coming forward and land a big right hand fight-ender.
Saul "Canelo" Alvarez (May Face Cornelius "K-9" Bundrage on Sept. 15)
Cornelius Bundrage (31-4, 18 KO) is a vicious dog of a fighter despite being 39 years old. He holds the IBF junior middleweight world title he won by fifth-round knockout from Cory Spinks (39-6, 11 KO).
Because Spinks lost in dominating fashion in their last fight, Bundrage is expected to keep his title.
Some may point to the age difference and say this is an easy fight for Canelo, but K-9 has a lot of bite and aggression for an older fighter. He doesn't give fighters much room and he stays on the attack.
Canelo is still a very gunshy fighter whose patience could cost him in the ring against an opponent that will rush him with a flurry like Bundrage. He'll have to learn to open fire quickly to beat the champion.
Timothy Bradley (Manny Pacquiao Is a Possibility Next Year)
Promoter Bob Arum is feeling a fourth match between Manny Pacquiao (54-4-2, 38 KO) and Juan Manuel Marquez (54-6-1, 39 KO) on November 10 of this year over a rematch with Timothy Bradley (29-0, 12 KO).
Bradley won the fight by controversial split decision and a rematch seemed like a guarantee, but a Pacquiao-Marquez fourth fight may be the fight to sell to help people forget this shocking result.
Then next year, with the controversial decision not as fresh on everyone's mind, perhaps a rematch between a post-Marquez battle Pacquiao and a coming-off-an-impressive-win Bradley can be made.
With Pacquiao being a year older by that time, if Bradley somehow pulls off the upset again and by more dominating scorecards, an uproar will be made about Pacquiao being 34 years old and Bradley 29.
Pacquiao, a year older, would be more criticized than he was during last year's weigh-in when reporters felt the Filipino's physique wasn't as remarkable as in the past.
Despite Pacquiao possibly being a year older when he meets Bradley again, or slightly less chiseled than he was years ago, Pacquiao will still pack a powerful punch in fast combinations.
Pacquiao's combinations are still awkward and tricky to defend against. A fighter who can overcome that, regardless of the age difference, should get all the credit for putting in the work that has to be done to win.