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Boxing Preview: Devon Alexander vs. Andriy Kotelnik

Don King puts on a big show tonight in St. Louis, MO with local world champions Devon Alexander and Corey Spinks defending their belts along with IBF light heavy kingpin Tarvoris Cloud.

Just 23, light welter southpaw Devon Alexander, 20-0 (13), rocketed into the big time a year ago when traveled to London, England and annexed the vacant WBC crown by denying former champion Junior Witter's bid to regain his old title.

This past March Alexander relieved Juan Urango of the IBF trophy, becoming the first boxer to stop the Colombian hard man as "Iron Twin" was halted in the eighth frame.

However, once past those two most recent bouts on Alexander's resume the quality opponents are few and far between with just DeMarcus Corley showing up.

Hoping to exploit that perceived lack of experience in depth will be ex-140 pound titlist Andriy Kotelnik, 31-3-1 (13).

A 32 year old Ukrainian now residing in Germany, Kotelnik lost two big fights in controversial fashion during the past decade; dropping a split decision to Souleyman M'baye in a 2004 WBA title eliminator and a disputed UD to Witter for the European belt in 2005.

Unlucky Kotelnik was stung once again by M'Baye, but this time the stakes were higher as the Eastern European was handed a losing split decision verdict for the WBA strap in 2007.

Kotelnik finally struck paydirt in 2008, stopping Gavin Rees in the 12th for the WBA bauble but after one successful defense against Japanese champ Norio Kimura, the Hamburg resident was very lucky to retain by disputed split decision against Marcos Rene Maidana in February of last year.

The end of Kotelnik's WBA reign came in July of last year when Amir Khan came up from lightweight to win title via a wide points decision in England.

While Kotelnik does have the edge in big fight experience, it's likely that Alexander will be the best opponent the Ukrainian has faced. Couple that with Kotelnik not having been in the ring for a year and the bout taking place in Alexander's backyard and it becomes difficult to see Kotelnik leaving St. Louis with the two title belts.

Also on the bill, IBF light middle ruler Cory Spinks, 37-5 (11), defends against Cornelius Bundrage, 29-4 (17). While Spinks is loads more experienced and skilled than Bundrage, the southpaw is at least three years past his best but should still have enough left in the tank to win this one.

IBF light heavyweight kingpin Tarvoris Cloud, 20-0 (18), puts his world honors at risk against former titlist Glen Johnson, 50-13-2 (34).

At 28, Cloud is 13 years younger than Johnson but will be making his first title defense after winning the vacant strap against Johnson's archrival Clinton Woods.

Johnson has fought so many big names between 160 and 175 and with seven world title bouts under his belt, he's way more seasoned than Cloud but the deciding factor here could be the age difference and all the things that come into play with 41 year old fighters such as reflexes, stamina and speed.

If Cloud is truly world class he'll beat Johnson and if he isn't, "Glengoffe" will once again wear the IBF hardware around his waist.

About Richard Eberline

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