Bradley, Alexander set for 140-pound Motown revival
By Lyle Fitzsimmons,
Contributing Boxing Editor
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
Two unbeaten American champions get together in the ring Saturday night to determine the consensus No. 1 in the 140-pound weight class.
California native Timothy Bradley faces St. Louis product Devon Alexander at the Pontiac Silverdome in Michigan to give the division its first true standard-bearer since Manny Pacquiao's brief spin there -- in the form of a devastating KO of Ricky Hatton -- in 2009.
The fight, co-promoted by industry heavyweights Don King and Gary Shaw, will be broadcast live on HBO at 10 p.m. ET and is already considered by some observers as a strong candidate for fight of the year.
Not to mention the always loquacious King, who was at his wordy best for the event's final news conference Thursday in Pontiac.
"This is a must-see fight," said King, who promotes the 23-year-old Alexander. "It matches an irresistible force (Alexander) against an immovable object (Bradley). Two undefeated fighters and champions in the ring. It doesn't get better."
Alexander weighed in Friday at an even 140 pounds, while Bradley was a shade lighter at 139 1/2.
Both men have spent their recent careers ruling the weight class -- along with England's Amir Khan, the WBA's recognized world champion. Alexander is the WBC champion and Bradley holds the WBO title.
Alexander, who turned pro in 2004, climbed the ranks in the Midwest and broke through for the first time with a 12-round decision over DeMarcus Corley in a preliminary bout on the Roy Jones Jr./Felix Trinidad card at Madison Square Garden in January 2008.
He won the WBC title 19 months later with a technical decision over veteran Junior Witter in Rancho Mirage, California, and has since defended it with defeats of Juan Urango (KO 8) and Andriy Kotelnik (UD 12).
Timothy Bradley reached the radar when he captured the WBC's youth title.
He's not weighed more than 140 pounds for a fight since 2007, but fought as heavy as 155 in 2006.
"This is what I love, what I've been wanting for all my life," Alexander said. "I'm 120 percent ready for this fight. I'm ready to rock and roll. Come Saturday night, you will see me victorious."
Bradley, who turned 27 in August, made his pro debut three months after Alexander in August 2004 and reached the radar a year later when he captured the WBC's youth title at 147 pounds.
He moved to 140 and added another youth title there in 2006 before graduating to full-fledged champion with a 12-round split verdict over Witter in May 2008.
He forfeited the WBC crown to wear the WBO belt in April 2009 after defeating Kendall Holt in Montreal, then met ex-lightweight champ Nate Campbell in a controversial August no-contest before dominating previously unbeaten prospect Lamont Peterson over 12 rounds in December.
Bradley moved up back to welterweight for his one fight since -- a unanimous decision over journeyman Luis Carlos Abregu in July 2010.
"I'm ready. I am focused and ready to do my job," Bradley said. "I get a vibe that Devon is going to fight and trade with me and I love it. Don't miss it. It's going to be a great fight. Devon's ready to go and so am I. The winner of this fight will be a superstar, a new face in boxing."
Bradley is a solid favorite to win, according to World Sports Exchange odds posted Friday evening.
A $200 wager on Bradley is required to win $100, while a $100 bet on Alexander would yield a $170 payday. The fight is generally expected to go to the late rounds, with a $550 outlay needed to recoup $100 for a wager on it lasting beyond 9 1/2 rounds.
A successful $100 bet that it ends before 9 1/2 would win $375.
"This fight is not (happening) too early. This is the best fighting the best," Bradley said. "When the fans demanded this fight, I had no choice. But I think this fight is too early for Devon. He's 23. He's too young. I'm 27 and seasoned. It's my time. It's destiny. I'm going to be the winner. I want a legacy.
"I'm not calling out anybody after I win. I want to know who the fans want me to fight next."
TV TOPICS (Some fights may not be televised) FRIDAY ESPN2 - Pechanga Resort & Casino, Temecula, California Chris Arreola (29-2) VS. Joey Abell (27-4) -- 10, heavyweights Mike Dallas Jr. (17-0-1) vs. Josesito Lopez (28-3) -- 10, junior welterweights
TeleFutura -- Four Points Sheraton Hotel, San Diego, Calif. Charles Huerta (16-1) vs. Raul Hirales Jr. (11-0-1) -- 8, featherweights Gary Russell Jr. (13-0) vs. Feider Viloria (23-7-1) -- 8, junior lightweights
SATURDAY FOX -- Estadio Banorte, Culiacan, Mexico Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (41-0-1) vs. Billy Lyell (22-8) -- 12, middleweights
HBO -- Silverdome, Pontiac, Michigan Devon Alexander (21-0) vs. Timothy Bradley (26-0) -- 12, WBC/WBO junior welterweight titles
Lyle Fitzsimmons is a veteran sports columnist who's written professionally since 1988 and covered boxing since 1995. His work is published in print and posted online for clients in North America and Europe. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him at www.twitter.com/fitzbitz.