Alexander: Bradley is my biggest threat
A title unification fight between two undefeated fighters in their prime is the closest thing to boxing's version of the Super Bowl, and boxing fans will get one of these rare treats when Devon Alexander and Timothy Bradley meet in an early candidate to fight of the year this Saturday at Pontiac, Michigan, for Bradley's WBO and Alexander's WBC junior welterweight titles. We recently caught up with Alexander during a halt in his training camp to talk about his much anticipated unification fight.
-What can you tell me about your training for this fight? How long have you been training for it?
-Training has been good. We've been at camp for about seven weeks, and we're ready to rock 'n' roll. We're a 100 percent ready; this is a big fight.
-How do you feel training in the old facilities used by Mike Tyson? What does this add to your level of confidence or commitment?
-Oh man, it feels great! I am sleeping in his same bed. It's an extra motivation to me, knowing that I am sleeping in his same bed and all. I am happy to be the person who gets this opportunity.
-You're doing a lot of sparring and climbing a mountain (Mount Charleston) every other day. Do you feel the risk of overtraining at any point?
-Definitely. And that's where a good trainer comes in. I think my coach knows just when to slow things down, and he's always telling me 'Don't do this today, don't do that today.' But we're very on schedule, and by Saturday night we're gonna be cooked just right.
-Bradley's level of confidence is probably one of his greatest assets. Do you think this is going to be an advantage for him or will you be able to capitalize on that to catch him off guard?
-Well, him fighting me, period, is an advantage for me because I've known Tim Bradley since the amateurs, and he knows me and he knows this is not going to be an easy fight. This fight is going to be about who can execute a game plan the best, and I think me and my coach [Kevin Cunningham] have the right game plan for that.
-You and Bradley are probably the best athletes in the elite group at 140 pounds. Do you see your athleticism and your preparation as your biggest weapons?
-Definitely. You have to be prepared, you have to do all the road work, you can't skip training, you can't skip sparring, you have to be mentally and physically prepared, and that's what I believe in. Anybody with skills, if they don't train properly, then a guy with less skills who trains properly is going to beat them. For me, having the skills is not enough; you just have to train hard.
-The Maidana-Khan fight showed that both of those fighters have certain endurance problems. Would you say that this is the most obvious advantage you would have against either of them?
-Definitely. I saw both of them slowing down at the end, and you have to be there ready to fight 12 hard rounds because you never know how the other person is going to come in. If you're going to start to fade in the ninth round, you need to be prepared to deal with that.
-Do you see Bradley as your biggest threat in this division?
-Yes, Bradley is definitely the biggest threat for me. He's the biggest threat because he's going to come in and work hard and always try to out-hustle you to win the fight and do whatever is necessary. So you definitely gotta be ready for that.
-Do you feel the pressure of having to put on an impressive performance or do you want to just dominate your opponent any way you can?
-It depends, it just depends. If he's still there after 12 rounds, so be it. But if we see any weak points, we're going in for the kill.
-Would you fight Maidana or Khan after this fight?
-It depends on what my promoter and my coach think. I think fighting Maidana or Khan is going backwards, because I really do think that me and Bradley are the best in the division, and we need to move ahead to fight the pound-for-pound kings. So I think that's the way to go.
-Do you believe that the 140-pound picture can be cleared up by simple elimination, or does everyone have to fight everyone else before anyone can claim superiority?
-It can go either way, but for me, I just want the best. I never ran away from challengers. Whoever my coaches think is next, they just line them up and I'll throw them out.
-Should the winner of this fight be seen as the new linear champion of the division, considering that between the two of you, you have had the most titles in the past few years?
-Definitely. I feel that we should have been fighting for The Ring (magazine) championship in this fight too. But things happen for a reason and I am just happy to fight and happy to prove myself. So whatever happens, happens. I love my belts, and we fight for the WBC and WBO belts, but the truth at the end of the day is that the winner will be the top dog.
-How important is it for you to keep your undefeated status in this fight?
-It's very important. I don't want to see my "0" go, and I'll do whatever it takes for it not to go. "Alexander the Great" -- that's my nickname, and in order to be great you can't have any setbacks, so I take that very seriously.
-Is this the most even matchup you could make in the division as far as style, body frame, etc.?
-Yeah, styles make fights, and we don't know how our styles are going to match up. But we're going to see it in the ring when we go at it on Saturday.
-How do you envision the fight going on Saturday night?
-In my mind, I see myself dominating each and every round, and just breaking him down slowly in each round. It's going to be a masterful performance for me.
Diego Morilla is a contributor to ESPNdeportes.com.
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