Bradley by technical decision over Alexander
Ringside by Bob Ryder and Lindy Lindell
Photos by John Booz
In a fight that fell far short of expectations in, both, action and suspense, Timothy Bradley took Devon Alexander's WBC super lightweight title while successfully defending his own WBO crown in garnering a technical decision after Alexander, who could not continue from the effects of an unintentional head butt in the tenth round. Many in the crowd at the Pontiac Silverdome booed as the scores of judges Duane Ford (97-93), Omar Minton (98-93), and Tom Miller (96-95) were read in favor of Bradley - not out of disagreement but of disappointment.
Endings of this sort tend to leave everyone feeling somewhat cheated, but Bradley did what he needed to do to remain undefeated (27-0, 11 KOs) while tacking the first loss on Alexander's record (21-1, 13 KOs).
The fighters entered the ring with hardly a buzz from the crowd. It was not until announcer Michael Buffer let loose with his customary call to action that brought a cheer from the gathering.
The round began with Bradley circling and probing with rangefinder jabs as he looked to develop his plan of attack. Alexander also was jabbing to gauge distance and Bradley's reactions. Tim was able to land a good body shot and also initiated the fights' first real action with a flurry along the ropes. Devon was able to avoid most of the punches but in an otherwise tame round the burst was enough to give the round to Bradley.
In the second, the pattern for the fight began to emerge in the round with Bradley pressing forward and forcing the action. Both warriors exhibited considerable defensive skills that had them sometimes missing badly and losing balance. Very few punches landed in a close round that could have gone either way.
Tim landed the first hard shots of the fight in the third, but Devon took them well, demonstrating a solid chin. Alexander was also able to score with his best punch to this point, a nice counter during an exchange, and it looked like the bout might be getting ready to provide the fireworks promised in the pre fight build up. However, unfortunately it was at this juncture that the first of the head butts that would eventually decide the contest's outcome occurred. As the two boxers came forward they fell into a clinch hard. Alexander emerged from the clinch squinting and blinking his right eye, clearly in pain. Referee Frank Garza determined the butt to be accidental, taking no action, but as he parted the fighters at the round's end was loudly berated by Alexander's trainer Kevin Cunningham. It was another difficult round to score but was Alexander's by a shade.
Bradley continued to press forward, forcing the action while looking for openings. Timothy began to work to Devon's body. Alexander was grunting loudly as he fired his punches but seemed to be largely ineffective. Bradley landed a clean right hand near the end of the fourth that also signaled a portent of things to come as the right hand would be a strong weapon for the Palm Springs, CA battler the rest of the fight. Bradley's round.
Devon showed the first sign of blood on his trunks as his right eye, damaged from the head butt in the third, began to bleed in the fifth. The St. Louis native Alexander however, was far from finished and seemed to pick up his pace, firing more punches. Still it was Bradley forcing the action, ducking low to avoid Devon's shots. Bradley landed a stiff jab to Alexander's cut eye and won the round overall.
The established pattern continued with Bradley still moving forward in the sixth. He landed a nice two punch combo at the beginning of the round while Alexander tried to counter. The defensive skills of both were making it difficult for either to land cleanly as clear openings were few, yet still it was Bradley who was forcing the fight. One could sense Bradley was taking control and Alexander was going to have to come up with something to turn the tide. Devon connected with a nice left as Bradley motored forward but Bradley shortly after retaliated with a flush shot to Devon's chin which Alexander again absorbed well. Two strong jabs landed by Bradley near the end of the round won him the sixth.
Alexander came out with purpose as he circled and jabbed to Bradley in the seventh. Devon's supporters began to express hope as several in the crowd shouted "Let's go D!" Bradley seemed to take part of the round off, holding his hands high to his head, covering and letting Alexander fire away. The punches were not causing any damage or landing cleanly, but it gave Alexander a chance to go on the offense and take this round despite a couple more right hands landed by Bradley.
Bradley reasserted himself at the start of the eighth, throwing jabs and scoring with a good right. Alexander fired back but was missing. The fighters bumped heads again without any noticeable damage although Bradley appeared to be developing a mouse under his eye. Bradley landed another good right at the end of the round which won this stanza for him.
Bradley again was forcing the action in round nine, looking to maneuver Alexander to the ropes where he could unload power shots. Bradley continued to land effective right hands and scored with a big one when he did manage to force Devon to the ropes. Again though, Alexander showed a good chin and took the punch well. It was clear now however, that Devon had no answer for Bradley's right hands and he needed something dramatic to avoid tasting defeat for the first time. Another round for Bradley.
Bradley's corner worked on the swelling under his eye between rounds but at the start of the tenth he went right back to pressing forward. The tenth round was going along in the same manner as the previous rounds when the fighters came together hard with their heads again at the 1:59 mark. Alexander came away from the clash in obvious distress and pain. Referee Garza led Devon to his own corner so that ringside physician Dr. Peter Samet could look him over. Dr Samet took a careful examination and when Alexander was unable to open his right eye, Samet fearing possible nerve damage, recommended to referee Garza to stop the contest which he quickly did. Alexander would later require four stitches over his right eye as well as two stitches over his left.
Post-fight, the Alexander camp was naturally discouraged, trainer Cunningham citing that Bradley's last six opponents suffered head butts in their fights as well.
"I couldn't see after the head butt," said Alexander. "He's (Bradley) got a big head, he came at me full force."
Still the fighter, he stated, "I want a rematch with Timothy Bradley."
One has to feel for Bradley in much the same way as for Andre Dirrell, who took part in the most recent big fight in Detroit prior to Bradley-Alexander. Bradley, like Dirrell appeared to be well on his way to a clean win, only to have a premature ending tarnish their performance. Still though, it was a solid outing for Bradley. He forced and controlled the action and landed the more effective punches.
"Give Alexander time, and he will box you to pieces," said Bradley. "I didn't give him that time."
Despite Devon's call for an immediate rematch, it is difficult to envision a strong demand for it from the boxing public. The styles of Bradley and Alexander just did not seem to mesh and at least for now it would seem that both fighters would be better served to seek out other opponents.- Bob Ryder
In a heavyweight fight for the vacant WBC International, WBC/USNBC, and WBA Fedelatin Championships, Bermaine Stiverne of Miami by way of Haiti and Kerston Manswell of Trinidad and Tobago entered the ring for a scheduled ten round bout. The first round was a contest of jabs and feints as both probed for openings. Stiverne landed a good hook which was enough to give him the first. The second round started off much like the first until Stiverne lashed out with a big overhand right which landed flush on Manswell's jaw sending him crashing to the canvas. Manswell managed to beat referee Gerard White's count and looked unsteady but reacted well enough for White to allow him to continue. Stiverne wasted no time jumping all over Manswell, pursuing him to the ropes near the corner where he pounded away with power punches. Just as referee White was moving in to rescue a defenseless Manswell, Stiverne scored with a final blasting left hook which crumpled Manswell again.
Time of the TKO was 1:52. Stiverne, overcome with emotion, sobbed at the fight's conclusion. His record improves to (20-1-1, 19 KO's). Previously undefeated Manswell now (20-1, 15 KO's).
Former Junior Welterweight Champ Kendall Holt, now fighting as a welterweight, took a round and a half to size up opponent Lenin Arroyo of Miami, before whipping over a picture perfect left hook. Arroyo fell as if shot and referee Ron Cunningham called an immediate halt at 1:50. Holt, serving notice that he can still punch goes to (26-4, 14 KO's). Arroyo declines to (20-15-1, 4 KO's).
In the big upset of the night James De La Rosa saw his undefeated mark shattered as he lost a ten round unanimous decision to Allen Conyers by scores of 95-92 x 3 in a welterweight match up. Bronx, New York's Conyers made a statement early with a good flurry in the first that backed up the San Benito, Texas native De La Rosa. As Conyers continued to move forward in the second round he landed a right uppercut which sent De La Rosa to the canvas. De La Rosa seemed fit upon arising and actually came back with a good combination of his own at the end of the round. James seemed to settle in in the third round as he began to land his jab and an occasional overhand right as Conyers continued to press.
In the fourth and fifth rounds it looked like De La Rosa was taking control and Conyers appeared to be tiring. In the fifth, De La Rosa landed two solid overhand rights and Conyers began breathing through an open mouth. Conyers turned the fight back in his favor with another knockdown of De La Rosa in the sixth and stunned him again with a follow up left hand after referee Gerard White allowed James to go on. De La Rosa attempted to regain his composure in the seventh utilizing his jab to fend off the charging in Conyers. Conyers slipped down and complained of being butted, shook it off and continued on. The eighth round saw both exchange good blows to the body with De La Rosa following up to the head. Just as the ten second warning sounded, Conyers landed a right hand that knocked down De La Rosa for the third time in the bout. James got up to last the round. The ninth and tenth rounds saw De La Rosa trying to keep Conyers at bay but his punches lacked the steam to do any real damage. A rally by De La Rosa in the final round was not enough as his record falls to (20-1, 12 KO's).
With the surprise win Conyers goes up to (12-4, 9 KO's).- Bob Ryder
In the shortest fight of the night, junior middleweight Julian Williams of Philadelphia needed only :28 of the opening round to deck Alan Moore of Indianapolis twice bringing a wave off from referee Ron Cunningham. Williams now (5-0, 4 KO's) while Moore declines to (2-10, 2 KO's).- Bob Ryder
The evening's opening bout saw welterweight Julio Diaz of Coachella, CA cross gloves with Paval Miranda of Tijuana, Mexico. The first two stanzas were slow paced although Diaz did land some good body punches. In the third Miranda caught Diaz along the ropes and landed his first good punch of the fight. The fourth round saw Diaz land a solid right hand and he later trapped Miranda along the ropes where he did some good work.
The fifth was fought at a slow pace but things heated up in the sixth. A good exchange was interrupted by a clash of heads (a warning of things to come in the main event!) and Miranda took a knee as he was stunned. Diaz was cut on the forehead. Miranda was checked out by the ringside doctor and allowed to continue. The seventh was a recovery round for both as there was little action. In the eighth round Diaz scored a knockdown over Miranda during a flurry. Miranda got up only to be decked again by a right hand. Rising once more Miranda tried to fight back but was trapped in a corner where he was overwhelmed by Diaz bringing in referee White to stop it at 2:17.
Diaz improves to (38-6, 27 KO's) while Miranda goes down to (16-7-1, 8 KO's). - Bob Ryder
Not much was expected for the Vernon Paris-Emanuel Augustus matchup given that the shopworn Augustus, a loser 33 times, had taken the fight only a few days before and who announced that win, lose or draw, this would be his last fight. But Augustus, who who fought Floyd Mayweather, Jr., in Detroit a decade before and who had given Floyd his then toughest fight to that point, had a surprise for the undefeated Detroiter Paris. In what is now established as an undeniable pattern, Paris started quickly, throwing tight combos and displaying blazing speed, and then the gas tank went to sputtering. Paris' promoter Carlos Llinas told me before the fight that he was hoping to keep the fight at ten rounds when the 18-1-1 Tim Coleman dropped out due to shoulder injury, but when there was a quick knockout in the semi-main, the Paris-Augustus walkout was inserted into the void before HBO went to air-time and the 8/10 had to be an eight due to time constraints.
Good thing for Paris. By round five, the uncustomarily staid Augustus, perhaps the most entertaining lower-weight fighter in the first decade of the 21st century with all his wobbly-legged shennegans, feints, verbal taunts, went into his routine between rounds four and five, revving up the crowd with a windup-of-the-arms "exercise," a prelude to a crowd-pleasing final four that was the liveliest, and most crowd-pleasing action of the evening. With the gas in Paris' tank almost gone, Augustus pressed the action for the last four, but due to two points taken for hitting on the break (it was unclear what referee Gerard White was taking points for; at one point he told Augustus to stop talking, which is not against the rules in pro ranks) and some dubious scoring by Michigan judges, Paris was the overwhelming points winner (77-73, 77-72, and 77-72). Fightnews had Paris prevailing by 76-75. The partisan crowd cheered for Paris in the opening rounds, but when Augustus went into his flamboyant routine in the last four, he won the crowd over and the decision was roundly booed. In the last four, Paris, now 24-0, was in desperate straits, constantly backing into the ropes and obliged to fight in spurts as his energy would allow; Augustus simply would not allow Paris to rest as he fired away with combinations that never really had Paris in danger of going down (he isn't a big puncher), and Paris would sometimes back Augustus with harder blows, but only in brief bursts.- Lindy Lindell
Supermiddleweight Darryl Cunningham, 22-2, was mostly impressive, throwing accurate lefts from his southpaw stance in besting the 14-17-1 Alberto Mercedes over six rounds Cunningham was as accurate as he's been in recent memory, with jabs and stunning lefts. Curiously, he often backed off to admire his work after landing those hurtful lefts; he stormed out in the final heat, dropping Mercedes, but when the final kick for the finish came, Cunningham walked into a right (Mercedes' only hard punch that landed effectively), and Cunningham had to back off in the fight's waning seconds. - Lindy Lindell
The area's third participant, the once dangerous Demetrius Jenkins, functioned in the role of an opponent for the undefeated (21-0-1) Marcus Oliveira. Surprisingly, Jenkins, now 21-18, and loser of 11 straight, five by stoppage, never was in serious danger of going out. He also showed more energy for someone who has won a fight since 1992, but his accuracy was woeful and he was shut out on all three cards, 60-54.- Lindy Lindell