Bad Left Hook will have live, round-by-round coverage and scoring for this junior welterweight title double shot. I'm going to try to figure out a way to automate the picks standings sometime, but for now I'm not really able to keep up with them. Still, it's fun to make picks and talk about the fights.
Timothy Bradley v. Nate Campbell (12 Rounds - Bradley's WBO junior welterweight title on the line)
Bradley, 25, and Campbell, 37, will meet in the main event in California, giving Bradley something of a home field advantage. But that shouldn't much bother Campbell, who figures to serve as the toughest test of Bradley's career. Bradley (24-0, 11 KO) is on quite a roll after upsetting Junior Witter last year for the WBC title, which he gave up after unifying it with the WBO strap against Kendall Holt in April. Between those fights, he beat Edner Cherry.
Campbell won in February against lightweight Ali Funeka, forfeiting his titles on the scales when he couldn't make the 135-pound limit. He gutted out a victory over an awkward, dangerous, younger fighter, and promised a move to 140 afterward. This is his first official fight at 140 pounds.
Campbell probably isn't quite as old as he is on paper. He didn't turn pro until he was 28 in 2000, so his body hasn't taken the 15-20 years of punishment that can be standard for a 37-year old pro fighter. Since a 2006 loss to Isaac Hlatswayo, Campbell (33-5-1, 25 KO) has been near dominant, destroying both Matt Zegan and Ricky Quiles in back-to-back IBF lightweight title eliminators. He didn't get his shot until Julio Diaz lost the strap to Juan Diaz, which set up a fight in Mexico between fellow Don King fighters Juan Diaz and Campbell. Campbell upset the then-unbeaten Diaz, but a fight with Joan Guzman was scrapped when Guzman pulled out, which led Campbell to declare bankruptcy. It was nearly a year between the career-making win over Diaz and his first fight back, the win over Funeka.
Bradley has shown a lot of talent and a really well-rounded game since emerging from prospect to titleholder and top line fighter with the win over Witter. He's also got more power than his KO rate suggests, but if Campbell's power translates five pounds up, I don't think there's any question that Nate is the better puncher. Bradley is also the smaller man; Campbell officially has an inch of height (5'7" to 5'6") and three important inches of reach (72" to 69") on the titlist.
This is one of those 50-50 fights, and promises to be a pretty good action bout. It probably won't be a war, though Campbell may try to gut-check Bradley and make it one, the same as he did against Diaz, who at the time was higher-regarded than Bradley is now as a young star. Campbell has taken promising young fighters to depths they'd never seen before. But Bradley has beaten good veterans before, too. I'm going with my gut on this one more than anything else, because a great case can be made for either man. Campbell SD-12
Junior Witter v. Devon Alexander (12 Rounds - vacant WBC junior welterweight title on the line)
This is a crossroads fight. If 35-year old Witter loses, he's reduced entirely to "regional fighter" status. The loss to Bradley in '08 was closer than a lot of people remember it being. He wasn't outclassed, he just didn't seem on top of his game. Alexander, 22, is about where Bradley was. He's highly-regarded, but the questions are still there. How will he handle a tricky pro like Witter? He does have a win over former titlist Chop-Chop Corley, who is faded, and since then has been beating trial horses like Miguel Callist and Jesus Rodriguez.
Speed will be no problem for Alexander. Past perhaps Pacquiao, he might have the quickest hands in the division. He's not particularly heavy handed, but he can put shots together really well. Alexander (18-0, 11 KO) will have truly arrived if he can pull off a win over Witter (37-2-2, 22 KO) whose only losses ever have come to Bradley and Zab Judah.
Witter has spent a lot of the build-up talking about what he wants to do next, particularly a fight with fellow Brit Amir Khan. Witter says he isn't getting ahead of himself, but I've got the feeling he is. I see Alexander outhustling and out-"wow"ing Witter to a decision win. Alexander UD-12