Sunday, April 5, 2009

Determined Bradley Tops Holt

Michael Nelson recaps the action from last night's Showtime card.

Photo © Justin McKie

Timothy Bradley brought his lunch pail and hard hat to the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada Saturday night in his WBO and WBC unification bout, surviving two knockdowns to outwork the explosive Kendall Holt. The decision was unanimous, with the tenacious Bradley winning by scores of 115-111 twice, and 114-112.

On the undercard, Librado Andrade dominated Vitali Tsypko en route to his own unanimous decision, 120-108, and 117-109 twice.

In the opening round, Bradley came out aggressive, putting his focus on the body of his lanky adversary. But a beautiful Holt left hook immediately took Bradley off his feet and let him know that he was in with a man who possessed more power and speed he has ever encountered.

Bradley, a 25 year old who began his professional boxing career in 2004, showed the composure of a veteran, bouncing back up but taking a knee to ensure a cleared head. Kendall landed a few more punishing left hooks during the remainder of the round.

Bradley was undeterred. He continued to work steadfastly to the body as Holt looked to potshot him. In the fourth, their heads collided, and Holt got the worst of it as a cut developed over his right eye.

While Holt remained dangerous throughout the fight, it became clear in the 7th and 8th round that Bradley's body work was starting to pay dividends. With Holt becoming visibly bothered as his determined opponent slammed left hooks and right hands into his rib cage, Tim was gradually taking a hold of the fight.

But Kendall would not relinquish his belt easily. Rounds 9 through 11 were close, as Bradley continued to work over Holt's body while Holt occasionally timed Bradley's head movement to land flush, damaging counter punches. Nevertheless, it appeared that Bradley had the edge over his explosive foe with his more steady punch output.

That is, until Holt placed an uppercut on Bradley's chin in the final round that caused Bradley to touch the canvas with his glove. The knock down made it a 10-8 round for Holt and put the verdict of the fight in doubt. But in the end, the judges favored Bradley's consistent work over Holt's sporadic bursts of power.

With the win, Bradley picked up a WBO strap and improved his record to 24-0 with 11 knockouts while Kendall Holt fell to 25-3 with 13 knockouts.

Librado Andrade had a much easier time with Vitali Tsypko on the undercard.

Dominating the action with his controlled aggression, Librado decked Tsypko with a straight right hand in the 2nd. Tsypko bravely fought back in the 3rd, but Andrade used his superior strength to punish him in the 4th stanza.

While Tsypko proved elusive at times, Librado slowed him down by whipping left hooks to his body, leaving him susceptible to a powerful blow that put him down again in the 7th round.

Nevertheless, Tsypko proved to be durable. Severely staggered by another right hand in the final round, he found the heart and resolve to fight back for a late round rally. He dropped a lopsided decision but he has nothing to be ashamed of.

Meanwhile, Andrade continues to show that he's among the division's elite, and we can expect a rematch with Bute later this year. Andrade improved to 28-2 with 21 knockouts with his victory while Vitali Tsypko fell to 22-3 with 12 knockouts.

e-mail Michael Nelson