Devon Alexander vs Timothy Bradley: Keys to Victory, Four to Explore, & Official Prediction
By Vivek Wallace: For the past six weeks, boxing has sat backseat to all other sports as action in the sweet science has been scarce at best. This weekend it all changes as the very deep 140lb jr. welterweight division presents a showdown that could ultimately decide who truly is best. Short of the U.K.'s Amir Khan, few others in the division factor into this argument, and when the headlines print the morning of Sunday, January 30th, one of the few remaining names will also be eliminated. As we prepare for this showdown, today, we take a look at "Keys to Victory", "Four to Explore", and an "Official Prediction":
TIMOTHY BRADLEY - KEYS TO VICTORY
For most in the sport, keys to victory begin on the offensive end, but for the young Timothy Bradley, things take on a different path. Anyone who has ever watched Bradley knows that his ever-beating heart is easily his most prized possession. The defensive end remains by far his most compromised attribute. Not-so-great footwork and looping punches leave him open for harm that could very well be the deciding factor in a showdown of this magnitude..
For best results, Bradley will have to stay on the attack and press forward, as most of his troubles with looping punches come as a result of him standing in the pocket where he's known to 'swing for the fences'! Aside from keeping a steady form when he mounts his attack, the biggest key for Bradley will be to come into this fight knowing it will be his most difficult assignment to date, and remain disciplined in his execution throughout.
If he can remain disciplined, fight with the heart he has displayed throughout his career, and fine-tune his defensive flaws, this night could be easier for him than many seem to think, and it will undoubtedly result in another victory.
DEVON ALEXANDER - KEYS TO VICTORY
Devon Alexander's biggest claim to fame is his precision punches, and his very deceptive power, which can strike at any moment unannounced. The most impressive victory on Alexander's resume was his stoppage of Colombian Juan Urango. Against Urango, fight fans learned all the things that make Alexander dangerous, and also got a glimpse of how he handles adversity, evidenced by his ability to overcome several ripping powershots to the body, which would have stopped others dead in their tracks.
Alexander must again enter this fight in a 'full metal jacket', willing to stand in the face of adversity, pain and all, and make Bradley realize that he won't wilt under the pressure, and may even strengthen as a result. Kendall Holt's early and sudden knockdown of Timothy Bradley opened the blueprint on how to defeat him, yet Holt and no other man thus far has had the ability to finish that job. Alexander has the goods, and taking advantage of the easy-to-locate defensive flaws of Bradley can make a long night real short!
Alexander will need to remain aggressive, press the action, and let Bradley know early that he's dealing with a level unlike any other he's ever known. Implementation of this strategy will soon tell us exactly how "real" Timothy Bradley truly is, and could subsequently make Alexander the consensus "man to beat" at 140!
FOUR TO EXPLORE - (CRITICAL QUESTIONS TO BE ANSWERED)
"The Jordan Factor"? - On January 29th, 1988, the NBA set a record for attendance (at the time) as the Pontiac Silverdome played host to the Isaiah Thomas led bad boys of Detroit (Pistons), who took on the Larry Bird led Boston Celtics. A very memorable night it was at the time, but the man who would later conquer those two legends wore the number which matches the amount of years that have passed since this historical night (Michael Jordan - 23). History has a funny way of repeating itself. Could that legendary night 23 years ago which was later trumped by a man who wore that number ultimately be trumped by a determined St. Louis born southpaw whose age is also that number (23)?
Love in an Elevator" - Rock group AeroSmith once belted a tune named "love in an elevator" which has very little to do with the subject matter, although one intriguing parallel to jr. welterweight Timothy Bradley can be found in the verse of the song which says "living it up while I'm goin' down"! Many found delight in Bradley's last performance which came one weight class higher against welterweight Luis Carlos Abregu. What most don't know is that Bradley has fought as a welterweight from the inception of his career, and is actually more comfortable at that weight, but limited power and what some would view as an untested chin have kept him at 140. No doubt he's been "living it up while goin' (back) down", but could the weight draining finally catch up with him Saturday night?
"One & Done" - Not only is this the biggest fight of the new year thus far, but it's arguably the biggest fight to be made in the division, (pre-challenge of Amir Khan). With two "O"'s on the line and the world watching closely, the little fishbowl these two men now find themselves in may very well prove to be too big, and for one man, perhaps too much. One is likely to fade under the pressure, while one will rise above it. In the end, who will rise? Who will fall?
"The 5th Since" - When looking at the tale of the tape, most fight fans identify that Alexander holds a one-inch height and 2-inch reach advantage, but the biggest degree of separation between the two men can be found in an area that few seem to talk about leading up to this showdown. It's been 5 years since Timothy Bradley has faced a southpaw, and in his entire career, he has yet to face one this precise with his punches. At the end of the night, could this result in a make-or-break factor?
OFFICIAL PREDICTION - UPSET BAROMETER (RATING 1-5)
It's unfortunate that these two men don't have more notoriety on a global scale, because by the end of the night, I truly believe the excitement they'll generate will have been well worth it for any and everyone that chooses to watch. Both young men come with great courage, great intensity, great will, and great intent. Sadly enough, only one can win. A look in the rearview mirror of the respective careers of these men tell you all that one needs to know when trying to analyze who ultimately wins this fight and how.
Neither man has ever made a habit of touching the canvas, yet by the end of the night, I'd venture to say both may. You can expect a hard fought battle from first bell to the final. The common thread amongst fight fans is that Bradley will find a way to victory based on Alexander's last showdown against Kotelnik. After great review, I'd also have to agree that the Kotelnik fight will ultimately be the deciding factor in the Bradley/Alexander fight, but not for the reasons most would think.
Timothy Bradley had a fairly easy night in his last fight against Abregu, and as a result, training camp was training camp. Alexander had a tough night at the office in his last fight, and as many other fighters in the past have done, one can expect him to elevate his game as a result of increased intensity and preparation because of it. I expect Bradley to show the heart he has always shown, but limited power will prevent him from stopping the forward progress of Devon Alexander which I think will ultimately be more than the very game Bradley can handle in the end.
DEVON ALEXANDER VIA MAJORITY DECISION (Upset Barometer - 4 OF 5 - As Bradley has the will to take over if Alexander doesn't execute)
(Vivek Wallace can be reached at email@example.com, 954-292-7346, Youtube (VIVEK1251), Twitter (VIVEKWALLACE747), Skype (VITO-BOXING), and Facebook).