Boxing Notebook: A champ returns home

By Francis Walker, BASN Staff Reporter
Updated: July 26, 2010

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NEW YORK (BASN) — Boxing returns to St. Louis when undefeated unified WBC/IBF junior welterweight champion Devon Alexander (20-0, 13 KOs) defends his 140-pound belts against former WBA titlist Andriy Kotelnik (31-3, 13 KOs) in the main event of an HBO’s “Boxing After Dark” telecast on August 7th beginning at 10 p.m. ET from the Scottrade Center.

Also on the card, 41-year-old Glen Johnson (50-13-2, 34 KOs), looks to become a two-time IBF light-heavyweight champion when he challenges unbeaten 175-pound champion Tavoris Cloud (20-0, 18 KOs) in the co-feature.

Plus, in a non-televised bout, current IBF junior middleweight titlist and former undisputed world welterweight champion Cory Spinks (37-5, 11 KOs) returns home to battle mandatory challenger Cornelius Bundrage (29-4, 17 KOs) trained by Emmanuel Steward.

In 2010, Alexander has emerged from rising prospect to unified world champion. He beat Junior Witter to claim the vacant WBC 140-pound title before impressively knocking out Juna Urango to win the IBF championship. A victory against

Kotelnik is a former WBA titlist who beat Marcos Rene Maidana before losing it to Amir Khan. “Kotelnik is a solid fighter,” Alexander said. “He’s a former world champion, an Olympic silver medalist.”

“He has a stellar boxing background. I think he’s one of the best junior welterweights in the world, but Devon’s going to make him look like a piece of shit.”

Alexander’s promoter Don King believes that: “Andriy Kotelnik is not coming here to here to accommodate. He’s coming to put on a fight and what makes this fight great is threw significant part of Kevin Cunningham (Alexander’s trainer).”

“Cunningham selected Kotelnik because everyway we would go to get a match it would be turned down. We were promised Maidana. We were promised Maidana. We were promised Maidana. We couldn’t get Bradley.”

Alexander, under the watchful eye of longtime trainer/advisor Kevin Cunningham, is putting a lot of emphasis on Kotelnik. “It’s my job to make sure he’s not overlooking anybody,” Cunningham said.

“Devon is an extremely focused individual. I am an extremely focus individual. We wanted to fight a real top-10, 140-pound, world class, world champion type of opponent. Devon knows he’s fighting a former Olympic silver medalist, a former world champion, and guy that have beaten Marcos Maidana.”

Added Cunningham: “We don’t run 5 miles in the mountains, spar 40 pounds per week for six weeks, and train the way we train because we’re overlooking somebody. We’re focused and have a serious opponent in front of us.”

Through an interpreter, Kotelnik said that he’s going to knock Alexander out in two rounds. Everybody on August 7th is going to see who Andre Kotelnik really is. Everybody says the Russians are coming, but the Ukrainians are here.

Johnson eyes Cloud’s world title

Johnson, best recognized for knocking out Roy Jones, Jr. in 2004 and his two bouts with Chad Dawson, is fresh off his sixth-round TKO of Yusaf Mack in February.

This could be Johnson’s last opportunity to become a world champion again, as he’ll be fighting a young, tough, and strong champion in Cloud. Glen believes that he will emerge victorious despite the fact the champion is 13 years younger.

“I’m in shape,” Johnson told the media during a recent conference call. “Certainly we’re working on a few things differently. Tavoris is a different type of fighter. Everyone in my camp believes that I can do it again.”

Cloud is an aggressive fighter looking for the knockout with every blow. He comes to fight as was the case when he beat Clinton Woods nearly one year ago to become the IBF champion.

Cloud, who also has a quality win against Julio Cesar Gonzalez, said that he wasn’t impressed with Johnson’s recent KO win over Mack to earn a title shot.

“I don’t think Glen Johnson is the same fighter that he use to be. I don’t think I’ll have any problems winning the fight on August 7th. Yeah, I’m not impressed. Not impressed.”

It’s all about stepping into the ring and do what I have to do.”

I watched the Johnson-Mack fight. To me it didn’t look like Yusaf Mack was in any kind of shape to be fighting. He basically gave up. I don’t believe Glen Johnson was fighting a fighter who had a strong mind that night.”

Povetkin Out, Peter steps in to face Wladimir

There was a time when the heavyweight champion of the world called for a fight, the challenger to be would accept without hesitation.

Times have truly changed.

When Alexander Povetkin defeated Chris Byrd and Eddie Chambers in an IBF title elimination tournament, he became the No. 1-ranked heavyweight contender to unified IBF/WBO champion Wladimir Klitschko in 2008.

It has been over 2 ½ years and Povetkin still possessed the No. 1 spot in the IBF rankings until this past week.

Povetkin’s failure to attend a press conference last Monday to announce his long-awaited and overdue title shot against Klitschko on September 11, in Germany led to his being dropped from the IBF rankings. Povekin’s excuse was an infection which is questionable.

Questionable because, Povetkin attended the recent Zab Judah-Jose Santa Cruz bout at the Prudential Center in Newark, NJ three days before he was suppose to be in Germany.

Povetkin appeared at ease and was having a nice relaxing time at the fights.

With Povetkin out, former WBC heavyweight champion Samuel Peter, “The Nigerian Nightmare,” is the next available contender at No 2. A bout between Wladimir Klitschko and Peter will be a rematch of their epic September 2005 encounter in Atlantic City.

Highly touted as a “dead man walking,” Klitschko entered the bout as a lingering top-10 heavyweight on his last limbs. Klitschko, dogged after being stopped twice by Corrie Sanders (2003) and Lamon Brewster (2004), survived three knockdowns to cleverly outbox Peter through 12 intense rounds.

Klitschko’s dominant boxing display was highlighted by a booming right hand that nearly knocked Peter out in the final round.

The victory was significant for Wladimir because it would mark the last time anyone had knocked him down in a fight. Also, Wladimir, in his next bout, knocked out Chris Byrd in a rematch to claim the IBF title in April 2004.

In nearly 6 ½ years, Klitschko has made eight successful defenses of the heavyweight championship, unified the WBO/IBO titles, joined his brother Vitali as the only siblings to simultaneously hold a world heavyweight championship, and is currently recognized as the universal No. 1 heavyweight in the world.

Broadway Boxing Returns

Boxing promoter Lou DiBella of DiBella Entertainment presents another installment of Broadway Boxing at BB King Blues Club located the heart of New York City in Times Square on Wednesday night.

USBA, regional super featherweight titlist Argenis Mendez will battle Shamir Reyes (18-6-2, 7 KOs) in a non-title affair. Mendez, in his last bout on May 8, upset the highly touted Martin Honiro.

Mendez, a 24 year-old from the Dominican Republic, now resides in Brooklyn, N.Y. He is currently ranked in the top 10 by the WBA and IBF’s rankings and could be looking at a world title shot in the near future.

Also on the card, undefeated New York prospects including welterweight Gabriel Bracero (10-0, 9 KOs), light-heavyweight Joe Smith (5-0, 5 KOs), middleweight Willie Monroe, Jr. (5-05, 5 KOs) and four-time NYC female Golden Gloves champion, heavyweight Sonya Lamonakis (1-0, 1 KOs) will be featured.

Tickets for Broadway Boxing start at only $55 and can be purchased by calling (212) 947-2577 or visiting www.dbe1.com.

Adamek vs. Grant at Prudential Center

Former two-division world champion Tomasz Adamek (41-1, 27 KOs) is inching closer toward a heavyweight title shot. The former IBF cruiserweight and WBC light-heavyweight champion continues his campaign as a heavyweight when he meets former title challenger Michael Grant (46-3, 34 KOs) in “The Big Challenge” on Saturday, August 21, at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.

“Adamek vs. Grant: The Big Challenge” will be televised live on Pay-Per-View in Integrated Sports at a suggested retail of $29.99.

Adamek has become a nice fixture at the Prudential Center and has drawn sellout crowds. Adamek’s dramatic cruiserweight title-win over Steve Cunningham in December 2008, followed by his two successful defenses occurred at Prudential Center.

As a heavyweight, Adamek has bested former U.S. Olympian Jason Estrada, heavyweight title challengers Andrew Golota and Chris Arreola. Adamek plans to improve to 4-0 when he meets Grant, another former heavyweight title challenger.

At 6-foot-7 and 250 pounds, Grant is just as tall and big as the Klitschkos. It will be interesting to see how the 6-foot-2, 220-pound Polish-star can deal with Grant’s size.

He is a powerful ands strong guy having won his last eight bouts dating back to 2004. However, Grant has been in active in recent years having fought three times in the last two years after missing all of 2009.

Grant’s three losses were all knockout losses including a two-round drumming at the hands of former world heavyweight champion Lennox Lewis in 2000.

Tickets for Adamek-Grant are priced at $53, $78, $103, and $253 (ringside) and can purchased at Prudential Center Box Office, by calling TicketMaster at 800-745-3000 or Prucenter.com. Doors open 7:00pm.