Boxing Betting Preview: Timothy Bradley vs. Devon Alexander (Junior Welterweight Unification Bout)
It’s the first major fight of 2011 and it should be a great one. This fight pits two undefeated 140-Pound champions in a clash to see who is the top fighter at 140 Pounds. This is the biggest fight for what has now become a very interesting and talented weight class, and whoever emerges from this fight will have a strong claim to being the best in class.
When: Saturday January 29, 2011
Where: The Pontiac Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan
TV: Live on HBO at 10:00 PM Eastern Standard Time
The Fight: Unification of the WBO/WBC Light Welterweight Championships (12 Rounds)
Current Available Betting Lines
Timothy Bradley (-185) / Devon Alexander (+155)
Total Rounds = 11½ – Over 11½ Rounds (-310) / Under 11½ Rounds (+250)
These two fighters might not be household names yet, but they are both extremely entertaining boxers. Both are undefeated and instead of ducking significant competition, they have decided to put those undefeated marks on the line and both of their championships on the line for this fight. This is the first time in 24 years that two undefeated American boxers have faced off in a title unification fight.
[adinserter block=”2″]This fight has been building for over a year, as fans have been clamoring for these two to square off. Bradley didn’t take this fight last summer, but now he has stepped up to the challenge to take on Alexander. The next on the platter for the winner is hopefully another unification bout against divisional rival Amir Khan; the current WBA Junior Welterweight Champion.
The two have one opponent in common and that is Junior Witter. In 2008 Bradley fought Witter in Nottingham, England and defeated him via Split Decision. In 2009 Alexander fought Witter in Rancho Mirage, California and defeated the English fighter by stoppage in the 8th round. Witter quit on his stool after the seventh round, at the time of the stoppage all three judges had the fight scored in favor of Alexander.
Fighter Analysis: Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley
Timothy Bradley is an American fighting out of Palm Springs, California. He is a former WBC Light Welterweight Champion and heads into this fight as the current WBO World Light Welterweight Champion. He is currently ranked by Ring Magazine as the number nine pound-for-pound boxer in the world. After his last fight, a Unanimous Decision victory over Luis Abregu, Bradley called out boxing megastar Manny Pacquiao, but instead got Devon Alexander.
Bradley stands at 5’6″ and is an Orthodox fighter. The 27 year old California native has a career professional record of 26 wins, 0 losses and 1 No Contest. He has 11 wins by Knockout. He is a two-time American National Amateur champion, who turned pro after missing a shot at the 2004 Olympics. Bradley has an impressive and muscular physique, but doesn’t generate a lot of power in his punches. Instead he often chooses to overwhelm his opponents with speed and high punch rate.
According to Compubox Bradley throws an average of 62 total punches per round, connecting on about 32% of them. Bradley throws an even mix of Jabs and Power Punches, averaging just over 30 per round in each category. The key stat for Bradley however is that he connects on roughly 45% of his Power Punches. Bradley has shown a decent chin throughout his career, despite being knocked down several times, he has never appeared in any real danger of being out cold.
Fighter Analysis: Devon “Alexander the Great” Alexander
Devon Alexander is also an American who grew up in the Hyde Park neighborhood in St. Louis, Missouri. The area is a rough, gang-infested area with a lot of violence and drugs, and many people have called Alexander lucky to have made it through to the professional boxing level from such a tough upbringing. When Alexander entered boxing he joined a gym with thirty other kids, with the hopes to keep them out of trouble, of those thirty at least eight are dead and twelve have been arrested or are serving time in prison.
Alexander enjoyed an amazing amateur career, compiling a record of 300-10. Between ages 10-14 he won the Silver Gloves championship four times, he was a three time Police Athletic League national champion, a Junior Olympics national champion and in 2003 was the United States national champion in the 19-and under division. Like Bradley, Alexander also missed out on the 2004 Olympic trials.
Alexander made his professional debut at the age of 17. Now at 23 he owns a record of 21 wins with no losses, and 13 wins by KO. In his last fight he struggled against Andriy Kotelnik, but won a somewhat controversial Unanimous Decision, despite many observers believing that he lost the fight. Alexander stands 5’7″ and with a reach of 71 inches, will enjoy a slight reach advantage in the fight. Devon is a Southpaw boxer, and will likely be the harder puncher when swinging from the outside against Bradley.
Alexander also relies on a heavy work-rate, even more so than Bradley. In his last fight, despite struggling and being somewhat out boxed by Kotelnik, Devon used the work rate to win rounds on the judge’s scorecards. According to Compubox, Alexander throws an average of almost 75 punches per round, with about 40 jabs and 35 Power Punches. Alexander tends to paw his jab a lot however and connects with it only 16% of the time, but connects with 35% of his Power Punches. Devon Alexander is very well rounded, and can swing with a lot of power. However, he can struggle at times in fights and can find himself out-boxed against more technical boxers.
Punching Power: Devon Alexander
Hand Speed: EVEN
Defense: Timothy Bradley
Heart and Chin: Timothy Bradley
Fight IQ: Timothy Bradley
The current line has Bradley as nearly a 2 to 1 favorite, and although I see this fight being fairly close, I think that’s probably the right line. Bradley has fought better fighters and has a few bigger wins in his career. As well Devon Alexander is coming off of a rough performance against Kotelnik which he seems to know was an off night for him.
For Bradley to win, he’s going to need to fight his usual game plan. He fights in a fairly composed manner, and has solid technical boxing skills backed up by a high work-rate. He’s going to want to pressure Alexander early and often. He will likely be at a slight reach disadvantage, so he’s going to need to close the distance and get inside before putting that high pressure offense on Devon Alexander. In the ring Bradley fights like someone trying to hurt you, he’s all offense and continues to come forward, he shouldn’t break from that style against someone who can be intimidated or backed down like Alexander.
[adinserter block=”1″]For Devon Alexander to win, he’s going to need to be more active than he was against Kotelinik. At times he was out-boxed and outsmarted by Kotelnik and it made his usually high work-rate drop off and caused him to look sloppy. Alexander will have a reach and height advantage in the fight and he’s going to need to establish it early. Alexander likes to throw his jab, but it often misses, he’s going to need to keep that jab working effectively to keep Bradley away from him. Alexander will likely hit harder on Saturday night, so if he can keep Bradley away from him and throw big power punches from the outside I think he can steal some rounds from Bradley.
What this fight comes down to for me, is brains. Timothy Bradley is the older fighter, and although he didn’t have the 300+ Fight Amateur career that Alexander did, he’s faced bigger and better fighters, in bigger and more high-profile fights. Alexander is probably the more physically gifted of the two fighters and punches harder, but he’s struggled against the fighters that can out-box him and that is Timothy Bradley.
My Pick: Timothy “Desert Storm” Bradley via Unanimous Decision (12 Rounds) and Over 11½ Rounds
**Gambler’s note: You have to lay heavy money on the Over for this fight and it’s a high total, basically with both fighters having to answer the Twelfth bell to have action. But I think there is probably still money to be made up to about -400 or so. At -400 that indicates an 80% chance of going to the twelfth round, and I think that’s right on the money.
Lee McGregor is a fan of all combat sports including both Boxing and Mixed Martial Arts. When not catching fights or watching hockey, he can be found as an Author and Editor at his own website, MyManCave.ca