Youth triumphs over experience

By Francis Walker, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: August 2, 2009

Boxing Ring NEW YORK (BASN) — When unbeaten junior welterweights Timothy Bradley and Devon Alexander signed to fight on SHOWTIME last Saturday, both fighters were stepping up their level of opposition. They lacked a wealth of experience, as they entered the biggest stage of their careers.

The 25 year-old Bradley, appearing in his fourth consecutive world title fight, defended his WBO 140-pound crown against former unified IBF/WBA and WBO lightweight champion Nate Campbell.

To add even more pressure, Bradley was hometown favorite appearing in the main event at the Agua Caliente Casino in Rancho Mirage, CA against a guy that has more knockout wins than Bradley has professional fights.

The 22 year-old Alexander lacked the experience and power entering his first world title fight bout having fought just 18 professional bouts during his five-year career. Many gave Witter, a 35 year-old former WBC 140-pound champion with slick skills, a legitimate chance to beat Alexander.

To the amazement of the boxing community, not only did youth prevail over age, but Bradley (25-0, 12 KOs) scored a disputed third round TKO over Campbell (33-6-1, 25 KOs), still dangerous at age 37.

Alexander (19-0, 12 KOs), meanwhile, claimed the vacant WBC 140-pound title after the 35-year-old Witter (37-3-2, 22 KOs) surprisingly retired on his stool after the eighth round.

Perhaps the fight world saw the present and future of the junior welterweight division on Saturday. No wonder why SHOWTIME agreed to televise Bradley’s fourth consecutive bout.

Bradley’s showing against Campbell was nothing compared to previous bouts when he unseated Witter as the WBC jr. welterweight champion in Witter’s native Nottingham, England and a lopsided decision win over Edner Cherry in 2008.

Bradley didn’t appear as vulnerable in his WBC/WBO unification victory over Kendall Holt in which he had to survive a pair of knockdowns to eek out a close decision in April.

Instead, although his record doesn’t indicate it, Bradley proved that he can apply relentless pressure using speed and apply enough power to stop an opponent.

Unfortunately, Bradley derailed one of boxing best feel-good, rags-to-riches stories in Campbell. From the opening bell Bradley was in command, but it was clear Campbell wanted to slow the much younger champion with a grueling body attack.

Campbell didn’t have the work rate or the continuity to handle Bradley inside-outside movement. In round two, Bradley took full command using pressure combinations from different angles.

Bradley noticeably wobbled Campbell’s legs and was about to take the former 135-pound champion out in the eyes of many at ringside in round three. However, there was one instance when Campbell suffered a cut above his right eye, as a result of a clash of heads.

Campbell complained to the referee and Bradley unleashed a series of combinations that had the older man reeling in the corner.

At the end of the round, Campbell said he couldn’t see. The ringside doctor believed that Campbell couldn’t continue. However, Campbell was under the assumption that the referee knew the cut above his eye was caused by an accidental headbutt and that the bout would be ruled a no-contest since four rounds weren’t completed.

The referee, however, did not indicate that the cut was caused by a head collision and since Campbell couldn’t continue the official ruling was a TKO victory for Bradley.

“I don’t know, I was just in there fighting,” Bradley said afterward. “I felt our heads collide and I see him get a cut. But I attacked and the ref was doing his job. I don’t know what’s going on. I’m here doing my job taking care of my business in the ring.”

Campbell protest the stoppage to all that listened even to his promoter Don King and Bradley’s promoter Gary Shaw. If Campbell files an official protest with the California State Athletic Commission, the TKO defeat on his record could be changed to a no-contest.

Campbell, who was ranked No. 1 by the WBO, could petition for an immediate rematch. Should there be a rematch? Will SHOWTIME squeeze room in their budget for Bradley-Campbell 2? Bradley was winning hands down and had an opportunity to stop Campbell.

In the co-feature: Alexander’s southpaw style, aggression, and work rate was too much for Witter. Alexander’s reflexes were too sharp for Witter, who may be on the downside of his career.

Witter didn’t have an answer for Alexander’s sharp right hand, which staggered Witter on several occasions. What appeared to be a distance fight, surprisingly ended after Witter, perhaps fighting in his last world title fight, decided to call it a day on his stool.

Thoughts on Haye vs. Valuev

David Haye pissed a lot of people off when he not once, but twice pulled out of previously scheduled fights with both Klitschkos. He called out the Klitschkos by promising to end their reign as the only siblings to simultaneously be called heavyweight champion.

He would create images of himself holding the decapitated heads of both Wladimir and Vitali Klitschko. But on two occasions, Haye has pulled out of a fight with either Klitschko in recent weeks.

Haye (22-1, 21 KOs), the former unified WBC/WBA and WBO cruiserweight champion, has signed to face 7-foot-3, 325-pound, WBA heavyweight champion Nikolai Valuev (50-1, 34 KOs).

Valuev vs. Haye will commence on Saturday, November 7, in Germany.

Haye will be giving up more than one-foot in height and over 100 pounds in weight. Haye was only 215 when he easily dispatched Monte Barrett inside five rounds in November. Haye has hand speed and is very quick.

Valuev maybe big, but he is slow and predictable. Even an old and faded Evander Holyfield outboxed Valuev when the fought in December 2008. However, it was Valuev that was awarded a majority decision; prompting an ongoing protest from Holyfield’s camp.

Haye-Klitschko fallout

Haye was scheduled to challenge unified IBF/WBO and unrecognized IBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko in front of 60,000 fans in Germany on June 20. Haye pulled out two weeks before the fight because of a back injury.

However, there is speculation that Haye wouldn’t have been guaranteed his purse from his English TV backers at Sentanta Sports. Plus, Haye may have needed more time to prepare for someone as big and as strong as a 6′ 7,” 245-pound, Dr. Steel Hammer.

Instead of waiting for Haye to “heal,” Klitschko sought an immediate replacement in Ruslan Chagaev, the WBA heavyweight “champion in recess” whose rematch with Valuev in Finland earlier this summer was called off after tests revealed that Chagev had unstable blood levels stemming from a Hepatitis B infection.

Following Chagaev’s non-title loss to Klitschko, the WBA, interestingly, elevated Valuev to undisputed champion.

Haye vs. Valuev winner inches closer to Klitschkos

Valuev vs. Haye is a very important fight that could lead to a world heavyweight championship event against either Wladimir or Vitali Klitschko, the WBC champion. Valuev and Haye have both been on the Klitschko’s hit list for more than one year. However, once they have both fought, the winner will emerge as the consensus No.1 challenger for either Klitschko.

First, Wladimir has a mandatory IBF/WBO defense against No. 1-ranked challenger, unbeaten Alexander Povetkin in September. Even though HBO didn’t approve of Klitschko-Chagaev, they will approve Povetkin as a legitimate title contender.

Secondly, there is talk of a Vitali Klitschko vs. Chris Arreola fight in the United States this fall. Vitali was just awarded an injunction against having to defend his WBC title against former champion and No. 1-ranked Oleg Masakev.

Arreola is in the waiting and could provide Vitali with an exciting fight that HBO is interested in televising.