In a highly anticipated battle of unbeaten title holders, junior welterweights Devon Alexander and Timothy Bradley put their respective titles on the line this Saturday night at the Silverdome in Pontiac, Mich.
For the thousands of fans that have purchased tickets and the millions that will be tuning in via HBO, this fight marks the first major fight of the year.
“We believe Alexander vs. Bradley is a spectacular way to launch a new season of boxing on HBO,” says Kery Davis, senior vice president of programming, HBO Sports. “Fight fans have the date circled on their calendars and sports fans everywhere should do the same.”
Alexander (21-0, 13 KOs) opted to relinquish his IBF title to make the Bradley (26-0, 11 KOs) fight happen, much to the pleasure of boxing fans and pundits alike. While the IBF portion of the title will not be a part of the event, Alexander will be putting his WBC strap on the line against Bradley’s WBO title.
Both combatants made the jump from the amateur game to the pro ranks in 2004. Alexander fought the Midwest circuit while Bradley built up his record in Southern California.
Alexander, who hails from St. Louis, used his aggression to pick up the vacant WBC light welterweight title when Junior Witter was forced to retire at the end of eight rounds after suffering a hand injury. As the fight went to the scorecards, he was named the victor by all three judges, with one of them scoring all eight rounds in his favor.
Seven months later, Alexander stepped into the squared circle with the hard-hitting Juan Urango, who at the time held the IBF 140 lbs belt. After eight close, hard-fought rounds, Alexander dropped Urango twice, and despite Urango beating the count, referee Benjy Esteves Jr. deemed him unable to continue.
Alexander the Great’s last fight took place in August against Andriy Kotelnik at the Scottrade Center in his native St. Louis.
At the end of 12 rounds, all three judges scored the bout 116-112 in favor of the unified champion. Many who observed the fight felt it was closer than the scores reflected with Kotelnik giving Alexander his toughest test to date.
Although Alexander currently holds the WBC junior welterweight title, Bradley was actually the first to claim it when he also faced then-champion Junior Witter. A sixth-round knockdown of Witter made the difference in the fight, as it awarded Bradley the split-decision win rather than a draw.
After successfully defending his title against the smaller Edner Cherry, Bradley went up north to unify his title with that of Kendall Holt’s WBO belt.
At the end of 12, Bradley was named the new unified king of the 140 lbs division. It was after this fight that Bradley relinquished the WBC portion of the championship, which ultimately ended up in Alexander’s possession.
Bradley, who is currently the betting favorite, will look to use his extraordinary footwork and tireless combinations to offset the height and reach advantage that the younger Alexander holds.
Between the 47 combined wins that Alexander and Bradley hold, 24 have come inside of the scheduled distance. So even if this one goes the scheduled 12 rounds, it isn’t out of the realm of possibility that someone hits the deck at some point.
While the average Joe might not be familiar with Devon Alexander and Timothy Bradley, there’s a very good chance that the winner will be thrust into big money and high-profile events with some of the sport's other elite fighters. Big money and big exposure await the guy that can unify during the showdown in Motown.
The event is appropriately being billed as “The Superfight.” It’s a battle of two undefeated champions looking to unify their division.
Not a bad way for HBO to kick off a year of boxing in 2011.
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Original story can be found at: SportsBettingWorld.com