Following a defiant seventh-round knockout of previously unbeaten Jose Pedraza (22-1, 12...
Alexander pulls one out
From the opening bell, Alexander used his speed to get out of trouble but in the first minute of the fight, Kotelnik nailed Alexander with a right hand that got the St. Louis native attention.
While Alexander won the round with movement and activity, Kotelnik showed an ability to reach Alexander. In the third round Kotelnik tried to trap Alexander on the rope, but a quick one-two and Alexander was back in the middle of the ring.
The first five rounds followed a similar pattern with Alexander throwing more punches and Kotelnik occasionally able to strike with a combination of his own or individual punch.
In the sixth round, Kotelnik pressed the action and for the first time in the fight and one of the few times, he was able to connect on combinations consistently throughout the round.
In the seventh round, a Kotelnik right nailed Alexander in the opening minute but after that Alexander won the rest of the round as he moved, jabbed and connected on combinations but the most explosive round was the eighth round as both fighters exchanged blows.
In the middle of the round, Alexander nailed Kotelnik with combinations that forced the Ukrainian to retreat, but he countered with a solid jab right hand combination of his own and both fighters connected with solid shots but Alexander did just enough to win the round.
In the ninth round, Alexander boxed and moved while avoiding Kotelnik’s punches but he threw more accurate punches that stopped Alexander briefly as he slowed down due to Kotelnik pressure.
With two rounds, Alexander was ahead on points but Kotelnik’s corner felt confident. Alexander found a extra gear as he boxed and connected with combinations.
But Kotelnik won the last two minutes of the final stanza as he once again pushed Alexander to the wall as he consistently found his range just as he did in the sixth and 10th rounds.
It was not enough to win the fight but the former champion gave a good account of himself as he hit Alexander more than Alexander was use to.
HBO announcers were divided on Alexander’s performance.
Max Kellerman seemed to view this fight closer than Harold Lederman or yours truly did as he viewed Kotelnik controlling the pace with his more accurate punches.
Lederman noticed that Kotelnik rarely threw combinations and while he was more accurate, he often threw one or two punches at a time whereas Alexander outworked his opponent.
In the first fight, the “Road Warrior” Glen Johnson fought a tough punishing battle against Tarovis Cloud. This was an action fight with few clinches. In the second round, Johnson hurt Cloud with three rights, set up by his accurate jabs.
Throughout this fight, Johnson threw more jabs whereas Cloud connected on more power shots. In the fifth round, Cloud had his biggest chance to end the fight early as a left hook on the top of the temple nearly derailed Johnson with a minute left in the round.
Cloud attacked with left hooks to the body followed by more rights and hurting Johnson. He barely survived the round as he used every trick of nearly two decades of boxing.
In the sixth round, Johnson turned the table as his jab set up combinations. A right hand in the 10th round by Johnson open a cut but solid hooks to the body and nasty right hand won the round for Cloud.
In the 11th round, Cloud opened up in the last minute with combinations featuring left hooks and right hands that sent Johnson reeling and going into the last round, Johnson corner men told their fighter, “You are not going to win a decision.”
The message was clear, Johnson needed a knockout. While he did not get his knockout, he did win the last two minutes of the round as he threw solid combinations as he picked up his pace for one more shot at Cloud title.
This fight was a close affair, Harold Lederman had this bout a draw and I agreed with Lederman view. The judges had the bout 116-112, giving Cloud eight rounds.
There are two realities, Cloud was the more accurate puncher and his punches were harder plus there were many close rounds so this was not a bad decision. In addition, if the fight was a draw, Cloud still retained his title.
Johnson tested Cloud but he did not do quite enough to win the bout outright and Cloud did just enough to defend his title but Johnson has been one of the best light heavyweights over the past decade and at 41, he is still a dangerous fighter.
As Alexander, he did not look spectacular but he did win against a former champion and showed that he is one of the best junior welterweights.