Devon Alexander: Tim Bradley's 'A Roadblock' to Mega Stardom
Already nicknamed, "The Great," southpaw WBC junior welterweight (140 pounds) king, Devon Alexander, of St. Louis, Mo., once told FanHouse that WBO belt-holder, Tim Bradley, was "a road block to my becoming a mega star."
The youngest of the three titlists in boxing's deepest and most talented weight class, one which also includes 24-year-old WBA titlist Amir Khan (24-1, 17 knockouts) of England, the 23-year-old Alexander (21-0, 13 KOs) will face Bradley, of Palm Springs, Calif., in an HBO televised, Jan. 29 event from the Pontiac Silverdome, in Pontiac, Mich.
In victory, Alexander's promoter, Don King, told FanHouse that he might pursue bouts opposite six-time champion Floyd Mayweather (41-0, 25 KOs) and Top Rank Promotions' eight-division titlist Manny Pacquiao, holder of the WBO welterweight (147 pounds) and WBC junior middleweight (154 pounds) belts.
Alexander already has vanquished four world champions over the past three years, including England's Junior Witter in August of 2009 by eighth-round stoppage for the WBC crown, Colombian-born southpaw Juan Urango in his next fight in March for the IBF belt by eighth-round knockout.
Alexander also owns a unanimous decision over former world champion DeMarcus Corley. Corley, Witter, and, Urango were defeated by Alexander in as many consecutive fights, with Witter and Urango being stopped for the first time in their respective careers.
Alexander had been the lone fighter in the division to have unified crowns prior to being stripped of his IBF belt for facing Bradley instead of that organization's designated No. 1 contender, Kaizer Mabuza (23-6-3, 14 KOs), of South Africa, who will pursue the IBF's vacant title against former titlist Zab Judah (40-6, 27 KOs) in March.
FanHouse spoke in this Q&A to Alexander, who is coming off of August's disputed, 12-round unanimous decision over Ukrainian-born former WBA champ Andriy Kotelnik.
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FanHouse: How has the promotions and the interviews gone for you in this major event?
Devon Alexander: Well I'm going to the gym right after I'm done with you, but I've done about seven interviews.
Did all of the promotion and pressure of fighting before your hometown fans in St. Louis during your previous fight with Andriy Kotelnik prepare you for your present experiences?
I definitely believe that. You know, God has always seemed to look out for me over the course of my career. I've never been placed into a situation that I haven't learned from.
That fight against Kotelnik was a blessing in disguise because everybody looked at me as being invincible after knockout out Juan Urango.
Everybody was expecting me to just blow out all of my opponents being that I was blowing out all of my opponents before the Kotelnik fight.
That fight with Kotelnik definitely taught me that no matter how much the pressure, and no matter how many people are depending on you to do a certain thing, that you have to follow the game plan.
You have to realize that this is just a normal fight with both of you guys in the ring. You just have to go in there and do what you know how to do and do your job. From now on, it's going to be all trouble for everybody.
Can you address the toughest moment in that fight with Andriy Kotelnik where your relationship with your career-long trainer, Kevin Cunningham, was validated?
Definitely. I think that it was like the sixth or seventh round. I wasn't even following the game plan at all, you know? The first round, I followed the game plan.
But from then on, I was hearing the crowd. I was getting into the crowd. I was just going in there and just winging away. I wasn't setting any of my shots up.
Kevin got in my face and told me to pipe down. He was like, 'Man, you're not doing what we worked on,' and 'You're not doing what we said we were going to do,' and, 'You're getting hit more than you should get hit.'
And after that, you saw the result of that. I definitely feel like that fight taught me that I definitely have to listen to my other syes out there, which is Kevin.
Kevin knows me really well and he knows what I'm capable of doing. I just have to listen to him.
With Andriy Kotelnik having beaten former WBA interim titlist Marcos Rene Maidana and having fought Junior Witter and Amir Khan, do you believe that he was under rated?
I think that he was very under rated. Kotelnik is not a pushover. He had skills. He's beaten Maidana, who is a tough cookie. Kotelnik is a former Olympic silver medalist.
You can't overlook him. He's beaten some sturdy guys. But the thing is that I'm the one that made the fight a tougher fight than what it was supposed to be.
I made him look better than what he should have looked in the fight. Taking nothing from him, though, he came in ready to fight, he knew that he had to come in ready to fight, and he did.
What is it like for you training in Don King's Las Vegas facility where you are sleeping in the same quarters where Mike Tyson once slept?
This is amazing. I'm actually sleeping in the same bed where Mike Tyson slept. I'm not sure what went down in the bed, but I'm definitely sleeping in it.
But I'm definitely sleeping in it. It's big. I only take up one half of the bed. The other half I don't even touch because it's so big. But, it feels good to be sleeping in the same bed that one of the greats has slept in.
He was an international star, and this just provides me with extra motivation to make this great performance a part of my resume.
Do you believe as Tim Bradley said last week that he was fighting off a flu?
You know, that's the kind of thing that I think he wants to put out there. If he's sick, I'll just let it pass and let it run the course and continue to train.
I didn't think that he had to make that public notice. But it's all mental. I think that mentally, he has to make up something to come up with an excuse for this butt-whipping he's about to get.
But you just never know. I don't know if he was sick or not. Maybe he was sick. But I can't worry about that. Just as long as he gets into the ring and I get the victory .That's all that I'm worried about.
I just put that in the past because he's getting in there now -- if he gets in there, because he says that he's sick. Hopefully he will step up to the plate.
We've been in camp for several weeks now and we've spent that time getting ready for Tim Bradley. We're ready to rock and roll. Whatever he has said in the past doesn't mean anything.
We just want him to be in that ring and to be ready on Jan. 29.
Why is Tim Bradley the best opponent at this point in your career and what will he bring out of you?
Tim Bradley is the best right now because they're claiming that he's the No. 1 guy in the division. So, I figure if he feels that he's the No. 1 guy, and I feel that I'm the No. 1 guy, then why not fight.
We've been going back and forth about it, but I think that this is going to be the best match up that they can make at 140 pounds. Tim Bradley brings heart.
He's going to have that never say die attitude, and he's going to work until he can't work no more. And that's the same attitude that I've got.
This is going to be a good fight, but the key is going to be that I'm going to execute the game plan, and I'm going to execute the game plan really well. I think that I've got the best game plan.
What did you mean when you once said that Tim Bradley is 'a roadblock to my becoming a mega star?'
That means that the world will know on Jan. 29 why I'm Alexander the Great. I want the whole world to know that I'm the best of the 140-pounders, and that they've got another Floyd Mayweather on their hands.
I don't have a favorite fighter. I just look at all of the greats that ever did boxing. I look at a certain thing that they do in their career and in the craft and I incorporate it into my craft.
I cherish that. Sugar Ray Leonard, Pernell Whitaker -- I definitely like Sweet Pea's defense and his slickness. Cory Spinks with his slickness. Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. with his heart.Marvin Hagler with his power.
There are numerous guys out there. But they're always bringing up Timothy Bradley's name, so, I figured and I knew that I had to fight Timothy Bradley.
I want to beat Tim Bradley to become that name that is mentioned along with the best fighters in the sport today. I want to beat him and become that.
I've always been a person who likes to fight the best, and that's what I'm going to do. To all of my fans out there, that time is here now. You all are going to see that it's my time to show you that I'm the best of the 140-pounders.
You have a lot of haters out there and a lot of bloggers out there that are talking a lot of stuff. But on Jan. 29, I don't want to hear nothing but congratulations.