Two undefeated world champions will put their crowns on the line in separate bouts at Scottrade Center in St. Louis on Aug. 7 in one of the best boxing showcases of the summer. Hometown hero and unified World Boxing Council and International Boxing Federation 140-pound champion Devon Alexander “The Great” (20-0, 13 KOs) will be challenged by former WBA super lightweight champion Andriy Kotelnik (31-3-1, 13 KOs), from Lviv, Ukraine, and IBF light heavyweight champion Tavoris “Thunder” Cloud (20-0, 18 KOs), from Tallahassee, Fla., will meet former IBF light heavyweight champion Glen Johnson (50-13-2, 34 KOs), born in Jamaica and now fighting out of Miami.
Dubbed “Gateway to Greatness” by promoter Don King, Alexander and Cloud possess rare, identical and perfectly unblemished 20-win records.
Tickets are on sale now at Scottrade Center Box Office, all Ticketmaster Ticket Centers, by phone at 1-800-745-3000, or online at ticketmaster.com. A per ticket facility fee will be added to all tickets purchased at all locations, including at the Scottrade Center Box Office. Additional Ticketmaster service charges and handling fees apply. For disabled seating, call 314-622-5420. The event is being promoted by Don King Productions, and the above-mentioned title fights will be telecast on HBO at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
Alexander, still just 23 and a St. Louis native, scored the most scintillating knockout of his career during his last bout when he vanquished then-IBF junior welterweight champion Juan “Iron Twins” Urango with a devastating right uppercut that led to the fight being stopped in the eighth round. Already the WBC champion at the 140-pound limit, Alexander added the IBF strap to become a unified world champion.
His opponent, Kotelnik, held the World Boxing Association title at 140 pounds from 2007 until July 18, 2009, when he dropped a decision to United Kingdom phenom Amir Khan.
Of special note is the fact that while champion, Kotelnik became the only man to defeat Marcos Maidana, who has long been rumored to be a prospective opponent for Alexander. After winning a split decision over Maidana on Feb. 7, 2009, Maidana was able to rebound from the first and only loss of his career to become interim WBA super lightweight champion by scoring wins over the highly regarded Victor Ortiz (24-1-1) and Victor Cayo (24-0).
Alexander must know that these facts point to Kotelnik, 32, being a very dangerous former world champion to invite to your hometown to challenge your perfect record and vie for your titles.
Alexander won his first title, the vacant WBC super lightweight championship, by stopping a former holder of that crown, Junior “The Hitter” Witter, when they met on Aug. 1, 2009, in Southern California.
Always a hot prospect, he successfully emerged from the shadow of fighting his entire career out of the Cory Spinks camp by displaying elusive defensive skills—no doubt picked up from his mentor.
Alexander has been building his unblemished record since he attended Vashon High School. He served notice that he would be a force to be reckoned with after winning a unanimous decision over former world champion DeMarcus “Chop Chop” Corley at New York’s Madison Square Garden on Jan. 19, 2008.
Equally exciting will be the opportunity to see another undefeated world champion, Tavoris Cloud, meeting former world champion Glen Johnson. Boxing insiders are highly intrigued by Cloud, 28, not simply by the fact he is a world champion with a perfect record. What excites the experts and fans most is his 90-percent knockout ratio that stems from his aggressive, two-handed power that can end a fight on a moment’s notice.
The only fighters not put to sleep by Cloud have been Reggie Strickland, in Cloud’s sixth fight, and former IBF light heavyweight champion Clinton Woods. Cloud met Woods in his last match for the vacant IBF light heavyweight championship, a title Woods previously held from 2004 to 2008, on Aug. 28, 2009, at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Fla.
Always a consummate boxer, Woods held his own against the hard-hitting Cloud, but it wasn’t enough. Cloud proved to have boxing ability to go along with his vaunted power, winning a unanimous decision by the identical scores of 116-112.
His opponent Glen Johnson, 41, is a wily veteran who also held the IBF light heavyweight championship. He fought for his first world title at middleweight in 1997 against Bernard Hopkins. He has proven again and again that he can win at any time, having squared off against the likes of Thomas Ulrich, Clinton Woods (three times), Roy Jones Jr., Antonio Tarver (twice), and Chad Dawson (twice).
The common denominator with Johnson is that he always comes to fight, and fans tend to root for him for that reason and because he’s an affable fellow. The problem for Johnson is Cloud will not be coming to make friends with him on Aug. 7. As always, he will be coming in to knock Johnson out—something that has only been accomplished once in Johnson’s 65 professional appearances, by Bernard Hopkins in round 11 when they met in 1997.