Timothy Bradley, Devon Alexander Hope To Deliver On “Super Fight” Promise

The promoters must be running out of titles for fights. Last year, the Floyd Mayweather-“Sugar” Shane Mosley fight was dubbed “Who R U Picking.” That’s right. Golden Boy even went ahead and wrote out “are” and “you” as letters. Now comes “The Super Fight,” between Tim Bradley on Devon Alexander on January 29 (HBO, 10 P.M.) at the Silverdome in Pontiac, Detroit — and a “super fight,” this surely isn’t.

Sure, the upcoming bout between two young, undefeated Americans, considered two of the three best fighters in a deep weight class is a most intriguing one. But it’s just that – intriguing. No one will confuse this clash between two mostly unknown fighters to the general public, as a big event. The weigh-in won’t be on SportsCenter. The sports world will not be buzzing. That said, this is the kind of bout boxing needs more of – the best fighting the best.

Bradley (26-0, 11 KOs) has been jockeying for a career-defining fight like this, since upsetting Junior Witter in May of 2008. Since then, he has strung together wins over Edner Cherry, Lamont Peterson and Kendall Holt, before testing the waters at welterweight, earning an unimpressive unanimous decision over Luis Abregu. But not one name on his ledger really stands out, so who knows how good he truly is.

Just a few weeks following Bradley’s win over Abregu on HBO, Alexander (21-0, 13 KOs) fought Andreas Kotelnik on boxing’s flagship station, struggling mightily in a bout he was expect to win easily. All told, many observers, this one amongst them, scored the fight for Kotelnik. And like Bradley, Alexander doesn’t own a signature win; victories over Juan Urango, Witter as well and the aforementioned Kotelnik, highlighting his ledger.

As Bradley and Alexander are coming off lackluster performances, much of the shine on this fight has dulled. But with the pair seeking a signature victory, January 29th could turn into a pretty good fight, even if they can’t punch much harder than Paulie Malignaggi.

“This is the biggest fight for my career and Devon’s career,” the 27-year-old Bradley said in a conference call with reporters Wednesday. “It will show what type of fighters we are. We’re both young, still in our prime. I’m considered number one and he has to prove to the world, to himself, that he’s better than I am. That’s going to be a helluva challenge. I’m ready, I’m fired-up and I’m hungry.”

Alexander seems up to the challenge.

“I’ve been working toward this since I was seven years old, since I came to the gym in North St. Louis,” said Alexander, 23. “This will determine who is the best 140 pounder. I gotta seize the moment.”

Someone actually tossed out the term “lineal WBC champion” on the conference call, whatever that means. But the fight is between the No. 1 (Bradley) and No. 3 (Alexander) junior welterweights, as ranked by “The Ring,” and it may be contested for the magazine’s championship. That hasn’t been yet announced.

Even if it isn’t, the winner will be in line to fight Amir Khan, ranked No. 2 by “The Ring,” in a fight for all the marbles at 140. But if Bradley or Alexander want to ascend towards becoming even half the star Khan is in his native England, one man will have to step-up and have a big performance.

“Stylistically, it’s going to be a helluva fight,” Bradley exclaimed. “We’re two young warriors and we’re both not willing to take no for an answer. I think it’s going to be fight of the year.”

Bradley is yet to engage in anything remotely approaching “Fight of the Year” consideration. Same for Alexander, but he has at least turned in one eye-opening performance, when he knocked out Urango with an uppercut that lifted the Columiban off his feet — shades of Foreman-Frazier.

“There’s no pressure on me,” Alexander said. “This is the big moment I’ve been waiting for and I’m ready to rock and roll.”

Whether or not this contest is viewed as a true super fight won’t be decided until months later, if it is a strong contender for year-end Fight of the Year nominations. It will be up to the fighters to deliver an event that resonates with the public as time passes.

About Tim Starks

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