This fight is one of the biggest fights of the year. Although Devon Alexander and Andriy Kotelnik aren't household names, the outcome has huge ramifications. A win for Alexander could mean a huge bout against Tim Bradley in January. If Alexander loses, it won't vault Kotelnik (31-3, 13 KOs) up the ladder, but it could open the door for an Amir Khan-Bradley matchup.
Alexander (20-0, 13 KOs) has a lot riding on this. He's fighting in front of 10,000 strong in his hometown of St. Louis. His WBC and IBF titles are also on the line.
After three rounds: Neither fighter hurt the other in round 1, but Alexander was far more active and landed his jab. Kotelnik picked his times, but he didn't do enough to win the round. Kotelnik had a few good moments in round 2, but Alexander landed a higher volume of punches, mostly to the body. Kotelnik hung toudh, but Alexander won the round. Alexander is landing his jab with much frequency and follows it up every so often with a straight left. Kotelnik wasn't active enough to win the third round. Alexander leads 30-27 after three rounds (3-0).
After six rounds: Alexander is still landing his jabs with great frequency. He's still landing the straight left every so often. Kotelnik is getting a little closer. But Alexander still won the fourth round. Kotelnik took rounds 5 and 6, though. He really chose his spots and shook Alexander a couple of times with an overhand right. Round 5 was especially good for Kotelnik, who had Alexander against the ropes for a nice exchange with about 1:15 to go. Alexander is still in control. Alexander leads, 58-56 (4-2).
After nine rounds: Kotelnik isn't making it easy for Alexander. Every time it looks like Alexander is going to hurt him, Kotelnik settles down. But Alexander has been landing the straight left a little more often and won round 7 with it. Alexander took control in round 8, landing several combos. Kotelnik prevented the onslaught again, but still was on the defensive too much to win the 8th. Kotelnik still kept Alexander at bay with his disclined style. He's hurt Alexander a couple of times and won round 9. Alexander leads, 87-84 (6-3).
Rounds 10 thru 12: Alexander was in control for the first two minutes, but let Kotelnik come back late in the 10th. It wasn't enough as Alexander's activity won him the round. Alexander has a cut over his right eye from a punch earlier in the fight. Alexander came out hot in the 11th. He got real busy and kept Kotelnik on the defensive. Kotelnik answered most of Alexander's challenges, but he was more reactive than proactive. Alexander's youth (23) really made an impact as he won the 11th. Alexander was again the busiest of the two fighters in the 12th. Kotelnik landed some solid shots, but it was in between a flurry of combos from Alexander. I have Alexander winning the fight 117-111 (9-3).
The judges scored the bout 116-112 all in favor of Alexander.
This wasn't a walk in the park for Alexander (21-0, 13 KOs). And it's a good thing, because if he gets Bradley, he will need to be at his best every minute of every round. Kotelnik is a solid pro and the type of fighter Alexander needs to beat if he is to climb the ladder. Kotelnik held his own, because the fight wasn't as lopsided as the score indicated. Every round was close, but Alexander won nine of them (In this humble writer's opinion). Look for Bradley-Alexander fight hype to start soon.