Two Bizarre Endings As Nate Campbell Gets Screwed In TKO Loss Against Timothy Bradley And Junior Witter Quits Against Devon Alexander

It wasn’t necessarily the kind of entertainment we were looking for from a promising junior welterweight doubleheader, but the way both fights ended wasn’t exactly a bore, huh? Nate Campbell got jobbed, frankly, when what should have been a no decision because of a head butt ended as a 3rd round TKO loss against Timothy Bradley. In the undercard bout, Junior Witter strangely quit against Devon Alexander after eight rounds, citing an elbow injury. You might say “youth was served” in the final results, as both youngsters came away with the wins, but both wins were more than a little unsatisfactory.

There should be no ambiguity on this count: Campbell got butted, and it opened a jagged diagonal cut that stretched from one end of his left eyebrow to the other. Between rounds, he complained that he couldn’t see and afterward said he had spots in his eye. The doctor indicated it shouldn’t continue, and suddenly Bradley had the TKO win. The fight should have been ruled a no contest.
My sympathy level for Campbell might have been higher if he hadn’t lobbied so persistently for the fight to be stopped, and it might have been higher if he hadn’t said in a post-fight interview, “I’ve never complained about a decision.” Nate, that’s all you do, buddy. You don’t think you’ve ever lost a fight. And the fight did appear to be going Bradley’s way, even if I was probably the only one who gave Campbell the first two rounds. (I thought Campbell was landing the cleaner shots, while Bradley was flurrying and most of it was being blocked.)
But an injustice is an injustice. That’s what went down. Referee Dave Mendoza said the punch after the butt caused the cut, but let’s get serious. He flubbed the call there. Once more I’d like to register my outrage at the way Bradley uses his head, even if Campbell refused to call it intentional. It’s not a coincidence that everybody Bradley fights ends up routinely head butted from start of fight to finish, and somebody, some day, needs to give him some of that medicine early in a bout. Since no referee is going to stop him, he needs to be convinced to stop doing it some other way.
Fightwise, Campbell didn’t look himself early, but I couldn’t tell if it was because he came in so dry or because he aged overnight and finally showed all of his 37 years. He wasn’t all that busy, especially on the inside where he usually sets up shop, and Bradley, aged 25, was outworking him overall. Campbell also looked a lot slower than Bradley, and while I expected him to be slower, I didn’t expect him to be THAT slower.
But I’d like to find out. Campbell deserves a rematch. I have my doubts he’ll get it. Bradley may move on to bigger purses against someone else, but I hope he and his team make the decision of a fighter instead of a businessman here. If I was Campbell, I’d offer to take the fight for less money, just to undercut any business argument Bradley might try to make that he could be paid better elsewhere.
This was shaping up to be a sharp performance from Alexander even if Witter was uglifying it up the way he uglifies most things he touches. It’s not like Witter wasn’t in the fight in theory. A lot of the rounds were close, even if I scored it six rounds to two through eight for Alexander and the judges were seeing it about the same way. Then Witter quit after the 8th. Later, he explained  he’d hurt his elbow and couldn’t box the way he wanted.
Okay. Look, I’m not sure Witter has “fans,” per se, the way some boxers do. He’s had some impressive knockouts over the years, but he’s awkward and spends a lot of time running at his worst, and he kind of has a grating persona. He did himself zero favors by quitting. Knowing where his career is — unlikely to get a big fight under any circumstances — I’d think the guy’s elbow nearly would have to be dangling disconnected from his forearm to call it quits. He says he’ll continue fighting.  Best of luck on that.
No matter how Witter gave it away, Alexander stepped up huge in class and handled his biz. He was the sharper, more technically sound boxer. His speed was a major advantage, but he staggered and hurt Witter a few times, too. The defensive move he pulled in the 1st to duck a wild Witter shot — which resulted in an acrobatic cartwheel that was Witter’s most pleasing maneuver of the evening — showed both his good technical foundation and his speed. In the 5th his huge left hand nearly had Witter down and/or out. He was the aggressor from start to finish, so he can’t be blamed for the uglification.
Despite Witter’s strange decision, he was a mildly sympathetic figure getting emotional in the dressing room explaining what happened. Bradley’s emotional outpouring from a 22-year-old achieving a career goal was touching. Assuming Campbell doesn’t get a Bradley rematch, Alexander-Bradley is an interesting fight, isn’t it?

About Tim Starks

Tim is the founder of The Queensberry Rules and co-founder of The Transnational Boxing Rankings Board ( He lives in Washington, D.C. He has written for the Guardian, Economist, New Republic, Chicago Tribune and more.