Late Breaking

Take the good with the bad, I guess


On Saturday night, forty-five minutes before Tim Bradley and Devon Alexander did battle in Pontiac, Michigan, I got this text from one of my few friends who enjoys boxing.

“I forgot this fight was on till a little while ago. Who do you think is going to win?”

Presumably, his second sentence was to aid him in a potential gambling proposition.

I replied, “Bradley by decision, but I think he’ll have to come from behind in the second half to win a close fight.”

I then texted my 28 year-old brother and reminded him the fight was about to start. He responded by saying, “I don’t get Showtime.”

I told him it’s on HBO, to which he said, “In that case I’m going to watch it.”

My friend is much more of a boxing guy than my brother, but brother, who is a lawyer, watches pretty much every HBO fight and is extremely opinionated about certain fighters.

In December he was literally screaming for Marcos Maidana to knock out Amir Khan in the tenth round of their Fight of the Year bout. At some point in the last year and a half, he decided he didn’t like Khan. Nor is he a fan of Floyd Mayweather, Zab Judah, or Chris Arreola, apparantly. He likes Tomasz Adamek, Paulie Malignaggi, and Manny Pacquiao — and Buboy Fernandez, though. But for whatever reason, there is no in-between with him.

There was a point in time where I was almost certain that myself and another writer-friend of mine were going to make the trip from North Jersey, drive the length of the Keystone State, through Ohio, to Pontiac. Plans fell through, and I watched it from my bedroom.

But during the interim, I talked up this fight, I was excited. I thought what most people thought: these were easily two of the best three fighters in one of boxing’s deepest divisions. The fight matters, so it had to be good.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t to be. Bradley outclassed Alexander from beginning to end. Alexander “The Not-so Great” didn’t use his height or reach to his advantage, and all but once unleashed an uppercut (the punch that so viciously knocked out Juan Urango last year). Not sure why he kept it on the shelf. Flustered, perhaps.

Bradley was constantly charging forward, throwing wild at times, but never letting Alexander fight his fight. Bart Barry summed it up well, writing about what he saw from his ringside perch, “Alexander was out of his depth, discomfited throughout. Bradley was too far away, too near, and never where he wanted him. The rounds were close, but you could argue Alexander didn’t win any of them. Then head butts took his mind away.”

So when the fight was stopped and Bradley’s hand deservedly raised, my phone buzzed again with texts.

The first came from my friend. It simply said, “Fight is over…that’s shitty.”

Then came my brother’s. After expressing his opinion that Alexander legitimately couldn’t continue, he proclaimed, “That fight was dumb.”

He concluded with, “Bad for boxing…in my opinion.”

Well, it certainly wasn’t good for boxing. But we must remember this is a fight that everyone wanted to see, and I’m glad HBO made it. I am not so glad about the concessions HBO made in order to make this fight, however.

In his latest column about Pacquiao’s move to Showtime, Thomas Hauser addressed the details of the Bradley-Alexander fight by writing, “Each fighter (in tandem with his respective promoter) has been guaranteed a second fight for a license fee of at least $3,000,000. This means that, unless their first encounter warrants a rematch, three fights involving these two boxers will command almost 25% of HBO’s license fees in 2011.”

Further, according to John Chavez of The Boxing Truth fame, Bradley-Alexander drew 1.345 million live viewers. Sad to say, but I’m almost certain that number will decrease for Alexander’s next bout. To put things in perspective, the Manfredo-Eduard fight on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights, drew 788,000 live viewers, and they paid a hell of a lot less than the $4 million HBO paid for this fight.

While I’m glad HBO made Bradley-Alexander happen, they grossly overpaid and made too many concessions. Then again, I would definitely not be writing any of this if it turned out to be a twelve round thriller.

That wasn’t the case, however, and head-butts and Bradley’s determination and grit earned him the title as world’s best junior welterweight.

But unfortunately for boxing fans like my brother, there’s a good chance that both Tim Bradley and Devon Alexander ended up on their ‘dislike’ list. The next time Alexander is on HBO I’ll try to get my brother to watch, but I don’t think he’ll take the bait. I have a better shot at getting him to watch Bradley fight again.

When he said, “Bad for boxing…in my opinion,” — that’s the way I feel about 25% of HBO’s 2011 license fee’s being linked to these two fighters.

We wanted the fight, we got it. Most likely, we won’t want to see Alexander against a bounce-back opponent. Too bad, we’re getting it.

We’ll just take the good with the bad I guess. That’s boxing.

Kyle Kinder can be reached at Twitter.com/KyleKinder & KyleKinder1@gmail.com