King Eyes Pacquiao, Mayweather if Alexander Beats Bradley
Legendary promoter, Don King, spoke to FanHouse concerning everything from the upcoming, HBO televised, Jan. 29 junior welterweight (140 pounds) clash featuring southpaw WBC king Devon Alexander, whom King promotes, and WBO counter part Tim Bradley, who is promoted by Gary Shaw.
Considered the premiere fighters in the sport's deepest, and, most talented division, the winner between the 23-year-old Alexander (21-0, 13 knockouts) and the 27-year-old Bradley (26-0, 11 KOs) could emerge as a challenger to eight-division titlist, Manny Pacquiao (52-3-2, 38 KOs), holder of the WBO welterweight (147 pounds) and junior middleweight (154 pounds) belts.
Nicknamed, "The Great," if Alexander is victorious over Bradley, King said that he might also push for a shot at six-time titlist Floyd Mayweather (41-0, 25 KOs). King has been wooing Mayweather in an attempt to match him against Pacquiao, who is promoted by Top Rank CEO Bob Arum.
King and Arum (pictured below, at right) have been working together promoting the March 12, Showtime pay per view match up featuring WBA junior middleweight titlist Miguel Cotto (35-2, 28 KOs), who is promoted by Arum, and former two-time champion Ricardo Mayorga (29-7-1, 22 KOs), who is handled by King.
Pacquiao has a May 7, CBS Showtime televised defense of his WBO crown against three-division, five-time champion, Shane Mosley (46-6-1, 39 KOs), who is coming off of a lopsided loss to Mayweather, and, a draw with ex-champ Sergio Mora (22-1-2, six KOs), respectively, in May and September.
FanHouse: How are you doing personally since the passing of your best friend and wife, Henrietta King?
Don King: I thank you for asking and respect the comments and God bless you for asking. You've got to keep working and keep going.
But I do that in the spirit of Henrieta, because she was a true fighter and you've got to keep fighting. So, therefore I've got to continue to carry the blessed King banner.
I've got to fight for what is right and continue to make things happen and to open doors. So, we are going to continue to to that.
Just as we did in giving away 15,000 Thanksgiving Day turkeys in her name over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. So it makes me feel good that her name and her spirit is alive and kicking spiritually.
But it does help to be involved. God bless America and our president, Barack Obama.
What is your reaction to the international poll of experts choosing Tim Bradley to defeat Devon Alexander by a margin of 31-15-1?
I think that's great. That gives us something to work for. This fight will be a tribute to Kevin and Devon. That's what it's going to be. Both of them are unrecognized as to what their talents, skills and abilities are and what their contributions to the sport is.
So, this gives them a chance to catapult themselves into greatness. Now he's aware that he ain't the favorite, and so he's got to be able to snatch victory out of the jaws of defeat.
He's going to have to be able to deal with what is real and to show the world, you know, that odds don't make fights, and picking them don't make it worse.
You, as the fighter, are the determining factor. And I think that you have a combination there with Devon and Kevin of their energies, talents and skills is what's going to supersede all of the rest of the opposition.
How do you think that the pressure of having had the experience of fighting Andriy Kotelnik (pictured below, at left) before a home crowd in St. Louis and having endured the resulting, huge promotional effort that transpired will prepare Devon Alexander (pictured below, at right) for a similar situation in Tim Bradley?
This is good. What that was was a steppingstone. There was pressure, even though he had fought in St. Louis several times because this last time was the first time that he was ever the headliner.
This was a reversal of fortune, with former champion Cory Spinks being on the under card, and Devon Alexander being the main event.
So it was good for him to get his temperature on that. He still has to be honed and sharpened. And you strike while the iron is hot. So I think that that was a good experience for this young man. He's still a young man at 23 years old.
He's out there doing it. Kevin Cunningham is his trainer and he's a man who has never gotten the recognition for his abilities as Cory Spinks' trainer and leading him to the welterweight championship of the world.
Now he brings Devon out there and he's been undefeated with Kevin from his first fight championship and to a unified championship. So, it's really been great. Now, he's ready.
Does Devon Alexander remind you of anyone in your career that you've promoted in the past?
Yes, he reminds me of Larry Holmes. Larry Holmes is one of the greatest fighters that I've ever seen. Larry Holmes had a piston-like, air-hammer jab.
He was the kind of guy who, one day, even when his hand was hurting, he went in there and he won the championship by fighting and defeating Ken Norton.
No one knew it, but it was just that his will to win was so strong. He overcame all of the aches and pains and the disorderly conduct of his body.
Being instilled with that kind of will, he came out the victor in that fight. This kid here, Devon Alexander, has that same desire to stand up and fight.
He has that capability and that piston-like jab. It's not as good as the one that Larry Holmes (pictured below) had right now, but he can still take some time to develop it because he's still only 23 years old.
So he's going to be able to work on that jab and work on his combinations to compliment that jab. This is a guy is underestimated.
That's what is great about him. They both were underestimated and the come in the wake of those who had achieved greatness before them where everybody was seeing them and praising them.
Devon didn't get that opportunity. HBO slept on this one, but HBO is trying to make it up now by bringing to the fore and making it one of the great matches of the year.
So this is going to be a great fight and one of the best of the century.
If Devon Alexander is successful, will you bring up his name to Bob Arum as a potential opponent to Manny Pacquiao, considering that you will be shoulder-to-shoulder with Bob promoting the March 12 fight together featuring Miguel Cotto and Ricardo Mayorga?
Well, we're going to be working on it. I understand exactly where we are and I will make lonesome Bob happy and he won't be lonesome any more.
So I will do that, absolutely. But Devon will speak to that in every way on Jan. 29 -- not only with words, but with both words and blows.
When we get past Tim Bradley, there won't be anywhere else to go because we've talked about Manny Pacquiao for Ricardo Mayorga.
But Devon Alexander is a Jewel of The Nile and he will be there shining brilliantly. When he wins this fight on Jan. 29, then he will be able to stand tall and to say, 'Let's do it.'
So, categorically, we will jump through a hoop to get to Manny Pacquiao. That would be another Thrilla in Manila.
Have you spoken to Floyd Mayweather lately?
I've been talking to Floyd just about every day if not two, three times a week. I spoke to Floyd a couple of days ago just before I went to Puerto Rico.
So, he was going to a workout to see Devon work out in Las Vegas. I haven't called him since them, but he knows. That's another one for him.
You mean Devon Alexander against Floyd Mayweather?
Yes, that's another one for Devon Alexander. So we've got two doors to go into -- we've got Floyd Mayweather and we've got Manny Pacquiao.
All we need to do is to win. When we do that, the world will be ours. That's up to that combination of Kevin and Devon.
So are you saying that you would pursue a fight between Devon Alexander and Floyd Mayweather?
Absolutely. We would entertain a fight with King Kong after beating Tim Bradley if Devon Alexander does as I believe that he will do.
If that happens, then Devon will open the doors for all of those who are the downtrodden, the under privileged and denied. And I will be like a voice crying in the wilderness -- like John The Baptist.
I mean, Don King will be using every influence and whatever I can around the world. Trust me, that message will be delivered. We're going to be ready, willing and available. But our job is to get past Timothy Bradley.