In his last fight, Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley, 27-0, 11 KO’s, went up against light welterweight division rival Devon Alexander, 21-1, 13 KO’s. It was the premiere fight for the year – a championship built up because both fighters had undefeated records to uphold as well as the WBC/WBO Light Welterweight belts to defend. All hype – all build up.
As the fight unraveled, both fighters had moments, but not any outstanding moments of boxing brilliance. It was a painful bout to watch and score as both Bradley and Alexander had a case of the headbutts. The fight eventually ended with a 10th round unanimous technical decision in favor of Bradley.
Bradley started the bout with a bit more determination than his opponent. Entering the bout, he had to consider Alexander’s hand speed and height. With these aspects in mind, Bradley is probably one of the strongest fighters in the light welterweight division. Solidly built, he doesn’t get bullied easily, but he still doesn’t fight as relaxed as he can in order to really dominate his opponent.
Bradley had moments of digging in and taking it to Alexander and he solidly connected with a straight right hand throughout the fight that kept him off balance. Bradley committed more to his punches as the fight went on, but once Devon started to turn up his performance, Bradley had to be more determined to create openings and solidly connect. He had to take risks and show some ring savvy against the southpaw.
I’d also like to add that even as Bradley won under the judges’ scorecards, he didn’t win in any overwhelming fashion. Instead, the bout did go back and forth all the way up to the 10th round.
Alexander didn’t make the victory easy, but he certainly didn’t do as much as a champion caliber fighter should be doing. Once he started to fight back and connect, Bradley stepped back as well and had to rethink his offense. Both fighters did not always make necessary adjustments to really dominate over the other. Both fighters seemed a bit bored with each other’s boxing in every other round. Alexander helped make Bradley look better because he didn’t do as much as he could have.
The light welterweight division is one of the most exciting divisions to keep an eye out for. It always seemed to be a springboard for fighters to gain another five pounds and join the welterweight division. I also thought that Mexican champ Juan Manuel Marquez would be a great addition to this division. For the moment, Marquez is firmly entrenched in the lightweight division.
Unfortunately for the division, Marquez fought Mayweather, JR., at 142 and simply didn’t have the power to fight against a much bigger opponent.
Bradley is now ranked #1 in the light welterweight division and will have no shortage opponents. In addition, he did have a rematch clause against Alexander.
Before I go into the two fighters that Bradley mentioned post-fight, here are three opponents that Bradley needs to face to give him a different level of competition. More importantly, the two opponents are southpaws with the third fighter that loves to scrap.
First, there is the new Zab “Super” Judah, 40-6, 27 KO’s. Judah is still working on a return to the ring and I think he’s been overlooked as the sleeper southpaw of the division. Currently ranked #17 by boxrec, Judah is a seasoned boxer with a record that includes losses to some of the best.
Judah has lost in 12 round UD bouts against both Floyd Mayweather, JR., and Carlos Baldomir. In his last outing, he earned a 12 round split decision against Lucas Martin Matthysse. Judah is set to face Kaizer Mabuza, 23-6-3, 14 KO’s, for the now vacant IBF Light Welterweight title in March.
Second, there is also up and comer Victor Ortiz, 28-2-2, 22 KO’s. In his last bout against Lamont Peterson, 28-1-1, 14 KO’s, Ortiz fought to a draw over 10 rounds.
Ortiz’s record is rather impressive with 22 KO’s. He is a power puncher with good hands as well, but Ortiz, like Bradley, still lacks polish and a killer instinct to put a fight away. Bradley would be a good match against Ortiz and yes, another southpaw.
Finally, I really have to mention Argentina’s Marcos Maidana, 29-2, 27 KO’s. I like Maidana’s boxing style. He is always going forward with such reckless abandon. As a fight goes on, he constantly battles and he’s the type of fighter that can exhaust someone like Bradley because his attack is relentless. I loved how Maidana took a body shot in his bout against Khan but went on to finish the fight anyway. Maidana did give Khan a problem in the later rounds.
In the post fight interview, Bradley mentioned two fighters. When asked by Larry Merchant, Bradley called out both Amir Khan, 24-1,17 KO’s and Manny Pacquiao, 52-3-2, 38 KO’s. It’s safe to say that Pacquiao is an impossibility at this moment. Pacquiao has to face Sugar Shane Mosley in March.
But as for Khan, the number 2 ranked light welterweight, this fight matchup has possibilities. Again, I’d like to emphasize that Bradley is a very strong fighter, stands tall in his offense, and is very tactical. Khan, of course, has a glimmer of a jab and excellent hand speed. It’s only right that the number 1 ranked Bradley and number 2 ranked Khan fight one another eventually.
With his most recent win, Bradley has definitely stepped up the competition. And who knows, he just may have a shot against some other great boxer. But not just yet, Bradley must make sure he remains, defends, and continues to fight as a reigning champion. Only then he can really step up his competitive caliber as a true champion of the division.