By Lindy Lindell
Photos: Bob Ryder
In what is believed to be only the third professional boxing card in the history of the Pontiac Superdome, undefeated junior-welterweight champions Devon Alexander (WBC) and Tim Bradley (WBO) will square off in an event billed as The Super Fight on January 29. After a drought of almost a decade, this is the second big-time fight in the Motown area in a year.
The HBO-televised 12-round unification bout between Alexander (21-0, 13 KOs) and Bradley (26-0, 11 KOs) is unusual in modern-day boxing in that both are undefeated. Promoter and primary tub-thumper Gary Shaw, when queried at today’s press conference as to what two non-Michiganians mean for a boxing promotion, cited, “This is an excellent matchup between two young African-American boxers at the top of their game. You’re going to see a helluva fight. There won’t be any reason for the boobirds to sing. These are the top two junior-welterweights in the world–hands-down, and the winner of this fight, I believe, would make the best matchup with Manny Pacquiao.”
“One of the two fighters is going to walk away with a loss–and that fighter is Devon Alexander,” continued Shaw. Guess which fighter Gary Shaw promotes? Alexander’s promoter, and the show’s primary co-promoter, Don King, did not make the presser due to the death of his wife of 50 years, Henrietta. Without the broadside that DK usually provides, the press conference was a rather tame affair. Alexander finished his respectful address of the media with “It’s on, baby,” and bent to shake the hand of the seated Bradley. Bradley, also respectful, was a bit more outspoken. Reminded that he had earlier predicted a knockout in the face of a fairly low percentage of stoppages, Bradley said, “The level of competition will make me rise.”
Gary Shaw also assured the media that the the working conditions for the press and the comfort of the fans will be ideal: “It will be warm and toasty.” No doubt Shaw had heard of an earlier disaster of a show involving Christy Martin in which about a thousand fans froze in the brutal cold and there was scant electricity in the building, making it a nightmare for reporters–who couldn’t plug in their computers. Thanks to new owner, Andreas Apostolopoulous, who bought the Silverdome for $583,000 (it cost $55.7 million to build), the venue is in excellent condition. The football field after several years has been maintained in near-pristine condition and cones were placed to show where the ring will be on fightnight, at which time the fight area will be cordoned off to accomodate as many as 15,000 fans. This boxing promotion is the first of an intended 20 programs in 2011 and Andreas indicates that the boxing promotion is not thought of in terms of being a once-only production.
There was no word of undercard bouts with the show seven weeks away. Alan Hopper, a Don King publicist, strongly indicated that Cornelius K-9 Bundridge, the Detroit IBF Junior-Middleweight titleholder, would not be on the card. Local promoter Carlos Llinas has been entrusted to put on three undercard fights.