Devon Alexander Nurses Post-Tim Bradley Wounds, Ponders Future
PONTIAC, Mich. -- Sitting before a mass of reporters in the bowels of the Pontiac Silverdome on Saturday night, southpaw Devon Alexander wore the wounds of a beaten man.
Covering Alexander's badly-ripped open right eyelid was a bandage that concealed four stitches, and there was a smaller one over the lower, left corner of his left eye which required two more stitches.
But perhaps more damaging was the inner pain felt by the 23-year-old Alexander, who, nearly an hour earlier, had been dethroned as WBC champion by 27-year-old WBO titlist Tim Bradley (27-0, 11 knockouts) in the first loss of his career following an HBO televised, junior welterweight (140 pounds) bout before a sparse crowd of 6,247.
Bradley was awarded a 10-round, technical decision in their brutal scheduled 12-rounder. An accidental clash of heads that caused searing pain in the left eye of Alexander was something he simply could not overcome.
"Bradley's head went into my eye a little bit. I was pretty dazed when he head-butted me that last time. The head-butts were tremendous. Go back and look at the fight. I don't bleed often, so, I'm not used to being cut. It was kind of on my mind," said Alexander, who slipped to 21-1, with 13 knockouts.
"The head-butts cut up both of my eyes, but my left eye was stinging real bad after that last one. I couldn't open my left eye," said Alexander. "I'm like, 'Man, blood was getting into my eye.' I didn't even know that this cut [on the left eye] was that bad, but the doctor said that it was down to the bone."
On the advice of ringside doctor, Peter Samet, referee Frank Garza ruled that Alexander could not continue. The bout's result would be determined by the ringside judges, whose scorecards read 96-95, 97-93, and, 98-93 for Tim Miller of Ohio, Duane Ford of Nevada and Omar MIntun of Mexico, respectively -- all for the victorious Bradley.
"People are going to say what they want to say," said Alexander. "But, let them get head-butted and try to be in a fight through constant head-butts."
Alexander believed that he was coming on and that he had begun to change the fight's momentum in his favor.
"Honestly, I thought that I was starting to box him real good. He would hit me, but he wasn't hitting me as clean. I was starting to box him real well," said Alexander.
"I was definitely boxing him better around the eighth or ninth round, and then, that's when that second gear kicked in. I was definitely picking it up," said Alexander. "I was starting to box his head off. He was no longer able to hit me clean. And then, in the 10th round -- Boom! -- that's when it happened."
While acknowledging Bradley's head-butts were a tremendous factor, Alexander's trainer, Kevin Cunningham, did not completely absolve his fighter of the blame for his defeat.
Alexander, said Cunningham, should have been more active with his right hook and his straight left hand, among other things.
"There were some shots where Devon just didn't pull the trigger. Devon could have hit Tim with the straight left hand and the hook just about every time that he threw it," said Cunningham.
"Every time he threw either one of those punches, they would be right on the money," said Cunningham. "But Devon just said himself, that he didn't throw them often enough. Devon just didn't pull the trigger often enough."
The first cut surfaced over the left eye after a third-round head-butt.
"I know that I could have let my hands go a lot more, but I was trying to just be patient and watch the head-butts because I know that he's going to leap in every time I punch," said Alexander.
"So I had to be careful and use my jab," said Alexander. "The uppercut was part of the game plan, but like I said, the head-butt was kind of getting to me. I tried to fight it out completely, head butts and all."
Cunningham agreed that the head-butts were a factor, even as he had warned Garza during their pre-fight consultations that they would be.
"With Bradley, you're not looking for just a punch, you're looking for the head too. Devon's face shows what Tim Bradley's head did. We worked on the shots that we wanted to catch Tim Bradley with and Devon was starting to warm up a little bit," said Cunningham.
"Bradley did everything that we expected him to do. He got the victory, and congratulations. But it didn't have anything to do with the strength or anything like that," said Cunningham. "I just wish that it would have been a fight with no head-butts. If the fight would have been foul-free, I think that it would have been more of an action-packed, closer fight."
HBO has guaranteed another fight for Alexander, whose past two televised bouts were victories over Colombian-born southpaw and then-IBF champ Juan Urango and Ukrainian-born former WBA champ Andriy Kotelnik.
Urango was stopped for the first time in his career by Alexander, who has vanquished four world champions over the past three years, including England's Junior Witter in August 2009 by eighth-round stoppage for the WBC crown and DeMarcus Corley in January 2008.
Options for Alexander could include Golden Boy Promotions' sponsored WBA king Amir Khan (24-1, 17 KOs) of England, who is coming off of a Dec. 11, HBO televised unanimous decision over Marcos Rene Maidana (29-2, 27 KOs) that was named Fight of the Year by the Boxing Writers Association of America.
Promoted by Golden Boy Promotions, Khan dropped Maidana with a first-round right-left to the body, only to have to survive a more than 40-punch barrage during a 10th round when Khan was virtually out on his feet.
Alexander might also face Maidana.
"If I had my choice, a rematch would be what I want next. I definitely, definitely, definitely would want a rematch with Bradley. I would definitely like to fight him again. I mean, you can't train for head-butts and to get your eye all messed up. But I would definitely like to fight him again and I would watch for his head," said Alexander.
"You can only train for what game plan that your coach has set down for you, but you never know what can happen in this game," said Alexander. "People are going to think that Tim Bradley is something that he's not as a result of this fight, but, you know, I'll be back. I'm 23 years old, I'm still learning. It was definitely a lesson learned, and I'm going to come back even stronger."