There was a slight uproar among some fans and boxing media when it was announced that THE RING’s vacant junior welterweight title would not be on the line when Timothy Bradley faced fellow undefeated 140-pound standout Devon Alexander on Saturday in Pontiac, Mich.
However, the so-called “controversy” over THE RING’s decision has disappeared now that the first major fight of 2011 is over.
Bradley (27-0, 11 knockouts) retained his status as the magazine’s No. 1-rated junior welterweight by out-pointing Alexander over 9 1/2 generally uneventful rounds. The Palm Springs, Calif., native won a unanimous technical decision when Alexander (23-1, 13 KOs) could not continue fighting after an accidental clash of heads in the 10th round.
Alexander was THE RING’s No. 3-rated junior welterweight prior to Saturday’s showdown but some fans and boxing writers considered him to be the second best 140-pound fighter, behind Bradley. Those fans and members of the media were not happy when THE RING’s editorial board decided that the title should remain vacant until the winner of Bradley-Alexander faced No. 2 Amir Khan, who had impressive victories over Andreas Kotelnik (who gave Alexander a tough fight last August) and Paul Malignaggi.
Khan’s last bout, against dangerous No. 4-rated contender Marcos Maidana, was the Boxing Writer Association of America Fight of the Year.
THE RING’s championship policy states that title vacancies are filled when a No. 1 contender faces the No. 2 contender in his weight class. However, in some instances a bout between Nos. 1 and 3 can be for the magazine’s belt.
That usually happens when the No. 2 contender is unavailable. Khan, who is scheduled to fight in April, will be available to fight the Bradley-Alexander winner later this year.
Prior to Saturday’s fight, most observers would’ve considered Khan vs. Bradley or Alexander to be an even fight. However, after Saturday’s lackluster affair, many of those same fans and insiders believe the British star would have the edge against either American, especially Alexander, who looked amateurish at times against Bradley and didn’t show elite-level mettle following the fight-ending clash of heads in the 10th round.
The manner in which the 23-year-old St. Louis native bowed out of Saturday’s bout convinced THE RING’s editorial board to demote him while rewarding another top contender who did exhibit elite-level heart in a recent loss.
“We have advanced Marcos Maidana over Alexander because, after comparing his loss to Bradley and Maidana’s loss to Amir Khan, it was clear that Maidana’s showing was far superior to Alexander’s,” said Nigel Collins, Editor-in-Chief of THE RING magazine. “There was disappointment in some quarters when THE RING declined to recognize the Bradley-Alexander match as being for the vacant RING junior welterweight title. But what transpired in that fight only reinforced our stance that a Bradley-Khan match is the best way to fill the vacancy.”