Alexander beats Kotelnik to remain unbeaten

American Devon Alexander retained his WBC and IBF junior
welterweight titles with a unanimous 12-round decision over Andriy
Kotelnik of the Ukraine on Saturday.

The 23-year-old Alexander (21-0) won 116-112 on all three cards.
He scored enough points early to withstand a late charge from
31-year-old Kotelnik (31-4-1), a former WBA super lightweight
champion.

Alexander suffered a deep cut over his right eye in the 10th
round but was able to keep away from Kotelnik long enough to record
the decision. He hopes to face fellow title-holder Timothy Bradley
(26-0) in a battle of unbeaten 140-pound (63.5-kilogram) fighters
in January.

”I thought I did enough to win,” Alexander said. ”It was an
OK performance. He was tough as nails, give him credit.”

Alexander, a southpaw, used a stick-and-jab method to rack up
points early in the fight. He was the more active fighter and held
a 1,113-763 advantage in punches thrown during the 12-round
affair.

”I trained for 12 rounds and got the victory,” Alexander said.
”That is what I came here to do.”

Kotelnik, 31, opened a cut above Alexander’s right eye in the
fifth round. The cut opened further in the 10th, forcing Alexander
to hang on down the stretch while cramping up in the final
round.

”It was my first cut, but I fought through it like a world
champion,” Alexander said.

Kotelnik, a silver medalist at the 2000 Olympics, won three of
the last four rounds on one judge’s card and two of the last four
on the other two. But it wasn’t enough to overcome Alexander’s
strong start.

Kotelnik felt the judges were influenced by the pro-Alexander
crowd of 9,117.

”I want the belt, I deserve it,” Kotelnik said through an
interpreter. ”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.”

Earlier, IBF light heavyweight champion Tavoris Cloud of the
United States successfully defended his crown with a hard-earned
unanimous decision over Jamaican veteran Glen Johnson.

Alexander, an amateur Golden Gloves standout, jumped into the
limelight with an eighth-round knockout of Juan Urango in March and
solidified his reputation as an up-and-coming fighter with the
gutsy win on Saturday.

Cloud (21-0), 28, used his strength to wear down the 41-year-old
Johnson (50-14-2). All three judges scored the fight 116-112.

In a preliminary bout, Cornelius Bundrage recorded a technical
knockout of IBF junior middleweight champion Cory Spinks 1:28 into
the fourth round. Bundrage (30-4), the mandatory challenger,
knocked Spinks into the ropes and referee Mark Nelson stopped the
fight before completing the count. Bundrage has 18 knockouts.
Spinks is 37-6.

Floyd Mayweather Jr., Evander Holyfield and St. Louis Rams
running back Steven Jackson were in attendance