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News Elite Eight Boxing Classic: semifinals

Fighters Network

The results are in for the semifinal round of the first “ Elite Eight Boxing Classic,” thanks in part to the insight you provided in comments and e-mails.

The final-four fights were extremely close, unlike four one-sided quarterfinal bouts, and the results are sure to raise the ire of those who expected them to go the other way. The bottom line is this, though: All four semifinalists have the talent to beat the other three on a given night.

First a look back:


ÔÇó The single-elimination tournament has three rounds: quarterfinals, semifinals and championship match. We will have posted one round each day beginning with the quarters on Wednesday, the semis today and the final on Friday.
ÔÇó We 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 champion.

Including seeding

No. 1 Timothy Bradley unanimous decision over No. 8 Lamont Peterson
No. 2 Devon Alexander unanimous decision over No. 7 Andreas Kotelnik
No. 3 Amir Khan 10th-round TKO over No. 6 Zab Judah
No. 5 Victor Ortiz unanimous decision over No. 4 Marcos Maidana


No. 1 Bradley vs. No. 5 Ortiz
No. 2 Alexander vs. No. 3 Khan


No. 1 Bradley vs. No. 5 Ortiz
The action: Some look at Bradley’s success and Ortiz’s devastating knockout loss to Marcos Maidana and predict a mismatch. They couldn’t be more wrong. This matchup of two superb, athletic boxers turns into part chess match and part dog fight as a riveted crowd roars its approval. Bradley, shorter by three inches (7.6 cm) but stronger, is the aggressor. He is able to slip his southpaw opponent’s formidable right jab often enough to get inside and do damage with hard shots to the head and body. Ortiz is boxing beautifully, though. He scores consistently with his jab and follows with many wicked power shots that stop a sometimes-reckless Bradley in his tracks, although the Palm Springs native proves to be durable. Ortiz also surprises Bradley with his quick feet, which enable him to scoot out of harm’s way and frustrate Bradley on many occasions. This is how it goes for most of the fight, leading one ringside reporter to say: “I’m glad I’m not scoring this fight.” Everyone is eager to watch the championship rounds, well aware of Bradley’s fanatical conditioning and wondering about Ortiz’s toughness. Bradley, seeking to take charge, bullies Ortiz into a corner midway through the 10th round and unloads a reckless volley of punches. The younger man bobs and weaves to avoid all of them ÔǪ except one. A right finds Ortiz’s jaw and sends him to his pants, glassy eyed and hurt. He gets up, though, an angry look on his face as the action resumes. Bradley, thinking his foe is ripe for a knockout, attacks and runs smack into a straight left. Down goes Bradley, who quickly gets up, and the crowd goes nuts. The two exchange punches toe-to-toe as the final seconds of the round tick away. The final two rounds go much like the first nine, Bradley attacking and Ortiz boxing and moving – two wonderful boxers who both believe they’ve won when the final bell rings. Those at ringside give Ortiz a slight edge – as do the CompuBox statistics – but everyone anxiously awaits the scoring.
The result: Bradley by split decision (Bradley by one point on two cards, Ortiz by one on the third)
Quote from winner: “If Victor wants a rematch, he’ll get it. He deserves it. I’ve never been in a fight like that before. First things first, though. I have a date with Amir Khan in the tournament finals.”

No. 2 Alexander vs. No. 3 Khan
The action: The fighters are similar in many ways: extensive amateur backgrounds, gifted boxers, quick hands and feet, good power and solid defensive skills. The principal differences: Khan is taller by three inches (7.6cm), fights from an orthodox stance and is presumed to have a weaker chin. Alexander is a southpaw. The St. Louisan uses a stick-and-move attack from the beginning, landing his flicking jabs with some consistency and periodic power shots that get the attention of Khan and a buzzing crowd. However, Alexander is having difficulty getting inside Khan’s laser-like jabs, which are quicker and heavier than Alexander had anticipated. And the Briton uses his exceptional lateral movement to avoid most of Alexander’s rushes. Meanwhile, Khan is scoring points with his jab and pounces whenever he sees openings ÔǪ BOOM! BOOM! Sizzling-fast combinations consistently find their target and then he’s gone, out of Alexander’s range. The pattern allows Khan to win most of the early and middle rounds. Alexander is crafty, though. He knows his time will come if he continues to pursue his foe, whose questionable ability to take a punch is in the back of his mind. Suddenly, late in the ninth round, Khan misses with a jab and is caught leaning forward ÔǪ THUD! A right uppercut – the same uppercut that wounded Juan Urango — lands square on Khan’s chin and he falls flat on his back as the crowd gasps. Could this be it? Not this time. Kahn, dazed but calm, gets up almost immediately and is able to dance away from trouble the remainder of the round. A game but tiring Alexander would get no more such chances. Khan, fully recovered, controls the final three rounds with his jab and movement to pull away on the scorecards. He has proved two things: that he can beat one of the best 140-pounders in the world and can take a punch after all.
The result: Khan by unanimous decision (116-112).
Quote from winner: “I feel as if that was my best performance. Everything Freddie (Roach) and I worked on came together. Now I have to do it again. I’m ready for Tim Bradley.”

No. 1 Bradley vs. No. 3 Khan
Note: Who do you think wins the championship match? The result will be posted tomorrow

Doug Fischer contributed to this project

Michael Rosenthal can be reached at [email protected]