Devon Alexander vs. Andreas Kotelnik Preview & Picks

Devon Alexander faces Andreas Kotelnik in a light welterweight bout this Saturday from Alexander’s hometown of St. Louis, Missouri. On the undercard, Tavoris Cloud will battle Glen Johnson in a light heavyweight showdown. HBO will televise both fights starting at 10 pm ET.

Devon Alexander vs. Andreas Kotelnik
Money Line: Alexander -1000; Kotelnik +600
WBC/IBF Light Welterweight Title

Devon Alexander (20-0, 13 KOs) is making a quick ascension to the top of the 140-pound ranks. Some feel that only Timothy Bradley is in the way of the 23-year-old from St. Louis making a claim for the top spot. Alexander won the WBC title from Junior Witter in 2009 and then captured the IBF belt by knocking Juan Urango out earlier this year. It was the first knockout loss for Urango, who has previously been in the ring with the likes of Ricky Hatton and Andre Berto. Alexander has put his power on display and it is making him one of the most feared champions in the light welterweight division. In lieu of fights with more prominent names in the division, Alexander will welcome Kotelnik to the United States this Saturday with hopes of keeping his unblemished record intact.

Andreas Kotelnik (31-3-1, 13 KOs) will be making his U.S. debut this Saturday and is a former light welterweight world champion. Kotelnik lost the WBA title in his last fight, a unanimous decision loss to Amir Khan in 2009. Kotelnik does, however, hold a victory over interim champion Marcos Maidana. He also won a Silver Medal at the 2000 Summer Olympics. The 32-year-old Ukrainian is a durable guy that will be in for a long night of chasing Alexander around the ring. He’s never been knocked out before, but the same was said for Juan Urango prior to his KO loss to Devon Alexander. Kotelnik will be looking to trap Alexander and wear him out with body shots in an effort to slow the younger champion down.

Staff Predictions

Paul: I don’t think that Kotelnik has much of a chance against Alexander. He’s too stiff, too orthodox, too slow to hang with a guy like Alexander. He’s no club fighter– He’s a solid, well-schooled fighter with some really good names on his resume and a fairly recent win over Marcos Maidana. But Devon Alexander is in another class. The real question throughout this bout will be whether Alexander can do better against him than Amir Khan. Kotelnik lost a shutout unanimous decision to Khan. The only way for Alexander to do better is via knock out…and Kotelnik has never been KO’d.

Corey: Kotelnik appears to be in over his head coming into St. Louis against arguably the most complete junior welterweight in the world. Kotelnik knows how to avoid getting hit clean often, as he proved against the quick-handed Amir Khan last summer. However, Alexander is adept at finding and creating openings, which he will begin to do consistently by the middle rounds. Kotelnik has never been stopped, but Alexander spent his last two fights knocking out guys who had never been stopped either. The hometown kid wears Kotelnik down and gets him out of there in round 11.

Trent: This fight would have had “unanimous decision” written all over it if it were not for Alexander’s last performance against Juan Urango. While Alexander is heavily favored to win, the means is now the only question. Kotelnik is a skilled boxer but Alexander will be too fast for him. I look for Alexander to be shaky early but hit a groove after the third round and start piling up rounds. I say Devon Alexander keeps his momentum moving and stops Kotelnik in the 10th round.

On the undercard…

Tavoris Cloud vs. Glen Johnson
Money Line: Cloud -260; Johnson +200
IBF Light Heavyweight Title

Tavoris Cloud (20-0, 18 KOs) proved he could win without putting people to sleep in his last fight, a unanimous decision over Clinton Woods to claim the title. Problem is, Cloud hasn’t fought in nearly a year. Can he still take fights into the championship rounds and win without relying on power? He will face his toughest and most durable opponents to date this Saturday.

Glen Johnson (50-13-2, 34 KOs) has seen it all. He has a massive experience advantage over Cloud. Whereas Cloud has boxed 67 rounds in his career, Johnson has been in 65 fights, totaling 432 total rounds. The wear doesn’t seem to show on the 41-year-old Jamaican who has only two losses in the last four years. Both came to Chad Dawson and in both, Johnson gave Dawson all that he could handle.

Staff Predictions

Paul: The fight of the night and the real scene stealer will be Cloud vs. Johnson. Tavoris is a young gun banger. Johnson is an old school pressure fighter. Cloud will try to bomb Johnson away while Johnson tries to grind Cloud down. There’s no way this one won’t be exciting. This will either make Cloud a star or set Johnson up for one more shot at the crown.

Corey: Always gunning for a fight with Chad Dawson, Cloud has gone so far as to criticize the light heavyweight champion for fighting older opponents. But, as Cloud is finding out after having to go through Clinton Woods and now Glen Johnson, the old guys haven’t been convinced it’s time to give it up yet. It will be up to Cloud to break the news to the sturdy Johnson this weekend. Johnson is a workhorse but may have finally run up against someone who likes to let the leather fly even more than he does. Expect a tough fight that will head to the scorecards and result in the fresher Cloud’s favor, if just barely, at 116-112 or closer. Cloud will go back to calling out Dawson, and Johnson will claim he was robbed as usual and thus stay around to challenge the next young buck.

Trent: I’m looking forward to this fight. Like with Alexander-Kotelnik, I’m anxious to see if the younger champion can stop the durable veteran. In his 65 fights, Johnson has only been stopped once: a 1997 TKO by the hands of Bernard Hopkins. Johnson proved he is still a force to be reckoned with in his TKO win over Yusaf Mack earlier this year. That said, I see Cloud taking the early rounds with Johnson rallying late. Cloud by split decision. Saturday he becomes a man.

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