PONTIAC -- Timothy Bradley won the 140-pound world title unification bout Saturday night against Devon Alexander, but the fight didn't end the way he or most boxing fans would have preferred.
Alexander suffered the first defeat of his career when he was unable to continue after an accidental butt at 1:59 of the 10th round, allowing Bradley to remain unbeaten with a unanimous technical decision before a crowd of 6,247 fans at the Silverdome and a worldwide HBO World Championship Boxing television audience.
Referee Frank Garza consulted with the ringside physician before the outcome was put in the hands of the three judges, who unanimously sided with Bradley by scores of 97-93, 96-95 and 98-93.
"He literally could not open his eye,'' said Dr. Peter Samet, who examined Alexander and gave him time to respond before he halted the bout. "It was more than a cut. I was worried that it was a nerve and that his eye was paralyzed."
Bradley (27-0) came in as the WBO champion and defended that title as well as claiming the WBC title Alexander (2l-0) had held. Happy with the victory, Bradley was disappointed with the abrupt ending, as were the fans.
"If that's the best in the world, that's weak,'' said the champion from North Palm Springs, Calif. "He jumped in, he didn't want to get hit with the big shot. Both of us were coming in. It was back and forth. But he's a tough warrior, who will be champion again."
The victory put Bradley in line for bigger fights, and the opponent he wants is Amir Khan to fulfill his objective of holding all the major title belts at junior welterweight, largely considered boxing's most talent-chocked division.
"Khan is No. 1 on my list right now, but I want the fans to pick my next fight,'' Bradley said, keeping the door open for challenges against higher-profile champions like Manny Pacquiao, Floyd Mayweather, Andre Berto and Floyd Mayweather.
Alexander, "the Great," from St. Louis, said he wants another shot at Bradley.
"There's a rematch clause in the contract,'' Alexander said. "That's who I want to fight next."