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RingTV.com Elite Eight Boxing Classic: Mock 140-pound tournament

03
Aug

We’ll probably never see a Super Six-like tournament in the deep junior welterweight division even though it would be mesmerizing. The top 140-pounders have lucrative options without a formal competition and logistics are complicated, as those involved in the Super Six World Boxing Classic would tell you.

RingTV.com refuses to accept reality, though. We want the damn tournament and we’re going to have it.

So we happily present the first “RingTV.com Elite Eight Boxing Classic,” a mock single-elimination junior welterweight tournament that will be contested on the Web site over the next three days.

Here’s how it breaks down:

PARAMETERS

ÔÇó The single-elimination tournament has three rounds: quarterfinals, semifinals and championship match. We’ll post one round each day beginning with the quarterfinals today.
ÔÇó We’ve selected the eight 140-pounders we believe are the best in the world.
ÔÇó We encourage you to post comments at the end of this blog item because your input will be used to determine the semifinal winners and the champion.

PARTICIPANTS
In order of seeding (based on THE RING Ratings)

1. Timothy Bradley (26-0, 11 KOs) of Palm Springs, Calif.
2. Devon Alexander (20-0, 13 KOs) of St. Louis, Mo.
3. Amir Khan (23-1, 17 KOs) of Bolton, England
4. Marcos Maidana (28-1, 27 KOs) of Buenos Aires, Argentina
5. Victor Ortiz (27-2-1, 21 KOs) of Oxnard, Calif.
6. Zab Judah (39-6, 27 KOs) of Brooklyn, N.Y.
7. Andreas Kotelnik (31-3-1, 13 KOs) of Lviv, Ukraine
8. Lamont Peterson (28-1, 14 KOs) of Memphis, Tenn.

SELECTION PROCESS

Choosing the eight participants was more difficult than expected. Bradley, Alexander, Khan, Maidana and Ortiz were no-brainers. They are the class of the division. The final three took some thought. We liked Judah because of his performance against Jose Armando Santa Cruz on July 16 and vast experience. Kotelnik, a former titleholder, has a victory over Maidana (as well as a loss to Khan) and experience. And Peterson is a very good boxer who gave Bradley somewhat more trouble than the one-sided scores in their actual fight in December indicate. Mike Alvarado was considered but has yet to face a big-name opponent. Ricky Hatton has been inactive. We’re assuming that Juan Manuel Marquez remains at 135. And we didn’t include Manny Pacquiao because he campaigns at 147.

QUARTERFINAL MATCHUPS

No. 1 Bradley vs. No. 8 Peterson
No. 4 Maidana vs. No. 5 Ortiz
No. 3 Khan vs. No. 6 Judah
No. 2 Alexander vs. No. 7 Kotelnik

QUARTERFINAL FIGHTS

Bradley vs. Peterson
Result: Tough draw for Peterson, who faces the daunting challenge of reversing a one-sided loss against the tournament favorite and longtime friend from their amateur days. In their first meeting, the Washington, D.C., native was thrown off his game when he was hurt by a right in the first round and knocked down in the third. He fought recklessly, charging after Bradley and into punches instead of working his way in. This time, Peterson is smarter and more patient, jabbing effectively to keep Bradley honest and connecting with enough rights to make things interesting. However, Bradley, the more experienced of the two, proves again that he’s the better and more-dynamic fighter. The Southern Californian counters Peterson’s punches beautifully and slowly breaks down his opponent with hard body shots, one of which forces Peterson to a knee in the ninth round. Peterson survives but leaves the ring as frustrated as he did the first time. Bradley consoles his pal and then joins his jubilant cornermen for an impromptu celebration.
Result: Bradley by unanimous decision (116-112).
Quote from winner: “I hate to keep beating up Lamont but business is business. This is only the first step. I'm going to prove in this tournament that I am the best 140-pounder in the world. Bring on Victor.”

Alexander vs. Kotelnik
The action: Alexander could face his most-difficult challenge when he actually fights Kotelnik on Saturday in St. Louis. His seventh-round TKO of Junior Witter was an important victory but Witter injured his hand. And Juan Urango is physically imposing but a limited boxer. So here’s a sneak peek of what might happen on Saturday. Alexander has some difficulty with Kotelnik from the start because of the Ukrainian’s solid boxing skills and toughness, which allowed him to overcome Maidana. However, Alexander quickness and athleticism begin to give Kotelnik similar problems to those he experienced against Khan. The American keeps his counterpart at bay with a flicking jab and follows with heavy rights, which begin to wear Kotelnik down by the middle rounds. Kotelnik continues to fight back – and never leaves his feet — but begins to take too much punishment and slips into survival mode late in the fight as Alexander wins round after round. The Ukrainian’s face is red and beaten by fight’s end but he’s more frustrated than anything. Alexander thrusts his arms in the air at the final bell and smiles broadly.
Result: Alexander by unanimous decision (118-110).
Quote from winner: “Kotelnik deserves respect. He's a good boxer and he took my best shots. I'm not sure my next opponent (Khan) can. I plan to win this competition.”

Maidana vs. Ortiz
The action: Well, well. We have a rematch of their thrilling five-knockdown battle last year in which Maidana scored a sixth-round knockout and Ortiz was accused of quitting. The Argentine is capable of repeating his performance; no one has more power in the division. It doesn’t happen, though. Ortiz learned a valuable lesson in the first fight: You don’t exchange punches with a puncher. This time, Ortiz uses his superior boxing ability and athletic gifts to score from the outside and avoid Maidana’s power shots with fleet movement. Maidana, a warrior’s warrior, tries to get inside but can’t get past Ortiz’s jab and consistent right hands. He tries to rough up Ortiz in an attempt to goad him into a fight but the former amateur star will have none of it. Instead, he continues to score with crisp, accurate punches while avoiding serious punishment to win the majority of rounds as a stunned crowd – expecting another brawl – looks on. Ortiz is ecstatic after the fight, having avenged his most-devastating loss.
Result: Ortiz by unanimous decision (117-111).
Quote from winner: “Why didn't I fight like this the first time I fought him?”

Khan vs. Judah
The action: The matchup of two very good, athletic boxers – Khan orthodox, Judah a southpaw – is a fascinating one. Judah is fit and looks comfortable at 140, a weight at which he last fought in 2003. Khan, just five fights removed from his shocking KO loss to Breidis Prescott, must be careful because Judah has power. The Briton pumps his wonderful left jab from the beginning, keeping Judah at a safe distance and off balance while setting up hard, punishing rights. Judah proves to be resilient but falls behind on the scorecards because Khan is outlanding him by a 2-1 ratio. And Judah can’t land clean punches, the result of Khan’s underrated defensive ability. Judah, unaccustomed to the weight, begins to tire in the eighth and ninth rounds and Khan picks up the pace. A straight right to the chin sends Judah backpedaling against the ropes and Khan follows with a flurry of unanswered punches, prompting the referee to the stop fight. Khan jumps into the arms of smiling trainer Freddie Roach.
The result: Khan by 10th-round TKO
Quote from winner: “I see why Zab was one of the better fighters in the world a few years ago but this is my time. And I'm only getting better.”

SEMIFINALS
Bradley vs. Ortiz
Alexander vs. Khan
Note: Who do you think wins these fights? Results will be posted tomorrow

Doug Fischer contributed to this project

Michael Rosenthal can be reached at [email protected]

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