Let's grant the wishes of promoters Don King and Gary Shaw and set aside chatter about the marketing and the business of Timothy Bradley-Devon Alexander and talk about the fight. Because there's plenty to talk about -- this is the first big bout of the year, one of the most important bouts in boxing period and we could be discussing afterward how the winner is one of the five best boxers alive.
Saturday on HBO, two of the three men who stand atop the junior welterweight division -- a division which, in and of itself, very nearly stands on top of the sport when it comes to talent and depth -- will meet in Pontiac, Mich. in a bout that we've been talking about for years. For all the deserved criticism about the things Shaw and King don't want us to mention, in a roundabout way this fight is what the business of boxing should be: It's the best fighting the best. As the UFC has shown for mixed martial arts, that in and of itself is a great foundation for a combat sports business model.
Some of the conventional wisdom about the match-up hold that it might not be a very entertaining bout. I think it will be. While both Bradley and Alexander are more technicians than sluggers, they both have some mean in them. Look at the most exciting fights each of them produced: Bradley against Kendall Holt and Lamont Peterson, and Alexander against Juan Urango and Andriy Kotelnik. What did they share? Peterson, Urango and Kotelnik took it to 'em, and Bradley and Alexander proved they were the kind of guys who, when under duress, just fire back that much harder.
I like the chances of Bradley or Alexander driving the other nuts, then vice versa.