Weekend Review: Alexander, Cloud get by
Cory Spinks' career might be over after he was beaten up and knocked out by Cornelius Bundrage on the Devon Alexander-Andreas Kotelnik undercard on Saturday in St. Louis. Photo / Naoki Fukuda
Devon Alexander: We shouldn’t be too hard on Alexander for several reasons. One, he beat Andreas Kotelnik on Saturday night in St. Louis in spite of a bad cut and the pressure of performing before a hometown crowd. Two, it seems every rising star faces such a test against a crafty, better-than-expected veteran; he barely passed. And, three, Kotelnik is a very good boxer. Thus, Alexander’s “OK performance,” as he put it, could be an important step in the 23-year-old’s development. He is taking a hit on message boards and elsewhere for struggling against a significant underdog, which he deserves, but he’ll probably be a better fighter for it.
Andreas Kotelnik: The Ukrainian is a loser only in the sense that he might’ve done enough to win on Saturday but left St. Louis disgusted and without a belt. Other than that, he had a good night. The former titleholder fought on roughly even terms with one of the hottest young stars-in-the-making on a big stage, enhancing his reputation even in defeat. He definitely didn’t take a step backward, as he did in a one-sided loss to Amir Khan in July of last year. Kotelnik should remain a player in the 140-division as a result of his performance. At least that’s what he deserves.
BIGGEST WINNER II
Amir Khan: HBO analyst Max Kellerman was right when he said midway through the Alexander-Kotelnik fight that “Amir Khan is looking very good right now.” We shouldn’t draw concrete conclusions because styles usually determine how a fight goes. The fact is that Khan handled Kotelnik a heck of a lot easier than Alexander did, though. Some people are quick to dismiss the Briton because he was stopped by Breidis Prescott and his resume is thinner than some of his rivals. Big mistake. Khan is as skillful and quick as any of the top 140-pounders — probably more so — and is also taller than the rest at 5-foot-10 (178cm), which makes him particularly hard to beat. Kotelnik could do nothing against him.
BIGGEST WINNER III
Tavoris Cloud: Cloud had a difficult time with 41-year-old Glen Johnson on the Alexander-Kotelnik undercard but held onto his light heavyweight belt and had an excellent learning experience, much as Alexander did. The slugger from Tallahassee, Fla., remained true to his aggressive style but also demonstrated impressive boxing skills at times against a very crafty opponent, although he might be wise to pace himself a bit more to preserve energy. Cloud seemed to be somewhat befuddled afterward that an old man gave him a tough fight but this was no ordinary old man. Cloud had a productive night.
MOST FRUSTRATED ÔÇª AGAIN
Glen Johnson: The affable Jamaican-born veteran has been here before, on the wrong side of a close decision in a big fight. It doesn’t seem to get any easier for him, though. The former RING champ obviously was extremely frustrated after the fight, claiming that he outlanded his younger opponent — which was accurate — and deserved to win his second major alphabet title. And who can blame him? Every big fight at this stage of his career might be his last. The good news is that his solid and entertaining performance might keep him in the title picture at least a while longer. He certainly deserves every opportunity he can get.
Cory Spinks: Spinks could to be at the end of the line. Cornelius Bundrage took his junior middleweight belt by a brutal fifth-round knock out before his hometown fans on the Alexander-Kotelnik undercard, Spinks' third loss in four fights. Spinks has been inactive and apparently has lost a step at 32, which can be disastrous for a fighter who always relied on his quickness and athleticism. He certainly has nothing to be ashamed if he's finished. He is a five-time titleholder in two weight classes. And he might be the greatest-ever son of a former titleholder — dad Leon Spinks. Not a bad legacy.
Breidis Prescott: The hard-punching Colombian apparently has had his 15 minutes ÔÇª. er, moment of fame. Prescott was the talk of boxing after he knocked out Khan in the first round in September 2008. Since then? Not much. He’s 3-2, including a unanimous decision over Harrison Cuello on Friday, and has provided little excitement. Prescott (23-2, 19 KOs) is a good fighter who might yet win some kind of title but he seems destined to be remembered as “that guy who knocked out Amir Khan.” There are worse things to be remembered for.
Return of James Kirkland: The junior middleweight from Austin, Texas, reportedly will be released from prison on Sept. 17 and will get back into the ring as early as October. Kirkland, a convicted felon, was arrested in April of last year and sent to prison after he bought a gun. Kirkland (25-0, 22 KOs) is a wild and reckless brawler who has no interest in boxing, which appeals to fans. He’s the type of fighter who will probably get knocked out by a better all-around boxer one day but he could win a title or two and he’ll always be fun to watch. Kirkland, 26, last fought in March of last year.
Mayweather with King? Floyd Mayweather Jr. attended the Don King-promoted Alexander-Kotelnik card, fueling ongoing speculation that Mayweather and King might unite. I have nothing against King at this stage of the game, only that his never-changing shtick has become painfully old. That combined with Mayweather's never-changing drivel would be too much to take. Like finger nails on a chalk board … times two. Then again, if that somehow enables Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao to reach an agreement, it might be worth it.
Andreas Kotelnik: “If the fight happened anywhere but here, I would be the champion. I have no words to describe what happened. That guy has something that belongs to me.”