Devon Alexander escaped his hometown of St. Louis last Saturday (August 7) with controversial unanimous decision over Andriy Kotelnik. While fans debate whether Alexander was the recipient of a hometown robbery, division rivals Amir Khan and Timothy Bradley believe his performance reveals he is no threat to their titles.
Khan, who holds the WBA junior welterweight title, made the first statement yesterday about Alexander’s struggles against Kotelnik, who Khan beat by a wide decision last year.
“He [Alexander] had a tough night. It was a war,” Khan told AOL Fanhouse. “Kotelnik caught him and had him hurt. He won the fight by four rounds. After what people saw, he [Alexander] is vulnerable. I can beat him and I’m sure everyone else knows I can beat him.”
WBO titlist Timothy Bradley echoed those words. According to him, Alexander is a fighter that’s wide open for counter shots and is poor when it comes to ring generalship.
“He’s vulnerable, man. He’s like what I call a reaction fighter. Anything you do, then he wants to come right back with something,” Bradley detailed. “You’ll be able to set him up for a lot of counters. All that you have to do is to punch at him, and you know something is coming back from him. So then, it’s automatic. You slip and weave and ‘Wop! Wop!’ counter him. From there, I don’t want to give out too much information. But I just saw a lot of mistakes.”
Before the fight, Devon Alexander was adamant that both Khan and Bradley were not in his league. In a recent interview here with Beats, Boxing and Mayhem, Alexander went as far as to claim both men were nothing more than just solid fighters. Bradley pointed to comments like those as to why fighters can receive a huge backlash for over hyping their abilities.
“That’s why you don’t talk. You don’t talk, because it can come back and bite you in the ass like it did last night,” he told Fanhouse. “He bragged that he’s the best in the division, and when you say something like that, everybody starts believing you. That’s how the train goes. And he feels that he’s the best.”
Bradley also confirmed that his team will move forward with a unification bout in January with Alexander for the WBO, WBC and IBF titles. And even after Alexander’s struggles, he expects to see a better fighter in the ring with him.
“That won’t be the same Devon that you saw last night, put it that way,” he said. “When people get ready for Tim Bradley, for myself, I should say, they go to another level because they know that they have to. So, the night when you see Devon Alexander fight me, you’re going to see the best Devon Alexander that you’re ever going to see.”
In the meantime, Amir Khan’s team has focused on taking on Juan Manuel Marquez, who defeated Juan Diaz at lightweight on July 31. The move has its critics, as Khan would be fighting a much smaller man moving up to his natural junior welterweight division. In Marquez’s only appearance above 140 last September against Floyd Mayweather, the Mexican fighter looked sluggish.
But Khan argues that even a soon to be 37-year-old Maruqez is a much more dangerous fighter than Devon Alexander.
“Marquez is a better fighter than Alexander even now,” Khan stated. “He’s a better fighter than Bradley as well. Every guy that Bradley’s fought, I’d knock out. Every guy that Alexander’s fought, I’ve beat or would knock out.”
If signed, Khan-Marquez would take place in December. Bradley-Alexander is being targeted for January 2011.
I personally scored the Alexander-Kotelnik fight for Kotelnik eight rounds to four, the exact opposite of the judge’s unanimous decision. HBO commentator judge went on and on about Alexander’s high punch output, but that means little to me when you’re hitting air and catching hard counters shots every round. Not to mention getting walked down.
Tough, close fights will be a part of any fighter’s early career. A lot of good can come out of this. As people have read here in my interview with Alexander, he was perhaps getting too cocky about his natural physical gifts. Kotelnik, who was slower but a lot smarter, should serve as Alexander’s wake up call that he is not yet as good as he thinks he is.
Before Saturday, I favored Alexander over Bradley and had him 50-50 with Khan. Now I have Bradley the slight favorite. Alexander seemed lost on the inside and that is where The Desert Storm does his best work. Plus, Bradley has the foot speed to put constant pressure on Alexander. It’s a very intriguing fight, and I ‘m happy to see we’ll likely get it in January.
Khan luckily gets an easy one against Marquez in December, and faces the Bradley-Alexander winner later in 2011. Khan is correct, Juan Manuel Marquez is a greater fighter than Devon Alexander overall. But Marquez is not great above 135, and Khan will show that just as Mayweather did last year. In fact, I see Khan stopping him.
Junior welterweight is brimming with talent. And by this time next year we’ll know who the true king of the division is.