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A Look Back At Last Weekend’s Scoring Controversy: Alexander/Kotelnik

I have read a lot of back and forth regarding the scoring of last Saturday’s Alexander vs. Kotelnik junior welterweight title fight, and I have a few thoughts of my own I would like to add.

Before I even get into this, I need to say two things. Firstly, this was not the biggest robbery of all time. People have a tendency to blow these things out of proportion. It was a relatively close fight. I don’t agree with the decision, but we have all seen a lot worse in the past. Secondly, both these guys deserve an enormous amount of credit for what was an excellent twelve round title bout. One thing that was lost amidst all the debate was how good this fight actually was. It was a brilliant job by HBO, the match makers, and everyone involved in putting this fight together.

Now with all that being said, I do believe the judges got this one wrong. Andriy Kotelnik should have left with the belts. It was a tight fight, and I would have expected it to be close on the cards, but Kotelnik deserved the nod. He was the one in control. He outthought and outboxed Alexander for the most part, and Devon was really only surviving on a mix of heart and workrate.

It was a gutsy performance from Alexander, and he should be commended for it, but fights are not judged solely on activity. The only argument being made for Alexander is that he was the busier of the two. While that is certainly true, Kotelnik was clearly the more effective. Devon landed very little of significance all night. He was hitting air, and hitting gloves, while Kotelnik was punishing him with clean precise counters. And although Kotelnik isn’t a known puncher, he was able to hurt Alexender multiple times, and was really beating him up in there.

I had it by a couple of rounds to Kotelnik, and I felt it should have been a pretty straight forward decision. I could have maybe seen arguments for a draw, but even that would have been a serious stretch. The unanimous score of 116-112 Alexander, by the three judges was frankly absurd. HBO ringside scorer Harold Lederman had it even wider than that, and Harold is usually a great judge, but this was a bad night for him.

There’s loads to like about Devon Alexander. He’s a good boxer, he’s exciting, and he’s a great ticket seller. Nearly ten thousand seats were filled for this fight, and that is what boxing – particularly in America – needs. It needs guys who can capture the public’s imagination like that. He’s still a young kid; this was the toughest test of his career so far, and I have no doubt he will learn from the overall experience. However, on this night he was just plain and simple not better than Andriy Kotelnik.

It was a quality performance from the Ukrainian. The real shame in all this is that rather than being rewarded for it, it has probably just guaranteed that he’s frozen out of big fights for the foreseeable future. Nobody is going to be knocking this guys door down now. He proved he’s still an absolute handful, and he now has back to back losses on his record. That unfortunately makes him way more hassle than he’s worth for anyone with name value at 140. Finding opponents is not going to be easy for him. The only person even talking about a rematch is Andriy himself, and that speaks volumes after such a disputed decision.

I have often said in the past that the result isn’t all that matters. I believe that should a fighter deliver in the ring, the fans will see that, and even if he doesn’t get the judges approval, he won’t be hurt by the defeat. This is a case where that logic just cannot be applied. The result in this one makes a huge difference to Kotelnik’s career. A win would have put him back in the mix with the likes of Tim Bradley, Victor Ortiz, Marcos Maidana, and Amir Khan. They’re the big money fights, and those options are now closed to him. Instead he will likely be forced to drop down in levels and reestablish himself. That’s what was riding on this fight for Andriy Kotelnik. And that’s the reason why the judging needs to be called into question even if it wasn’t the all time worst decision.

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3 thoughts on “A Look Back At Last Weekend’s Scoring Controversy: Alexander/Kotelnik

  1. Sadly, I missed this one. I had it on the DVR and was going to check it out the next day, but accidentally deleted it.

    Excellent write-up on it.

  2. Both the fights on the card were good. There’s been some good stuff on the last couple of weeks, and this is traditionally Boxing’s down time. Once September hits the big fights are coming thick and fast.

  3. Also, while I don’t give to much weight to comparing common opponents, this fight reaffirmed my belief that Khan will have an easy nights work with Alexander.

    I’m calling it early – Khan KO 6

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