icon Updated at 07:10 AM EST, Tue Jan 18, 2011

Merchant Hopes Bradley-Alexander Creates a New Star

By Chris Robinson

During his tenure with HBO, Larry Merchant has left an undeniable mark because of his straightforward nature and peculiar insight. The veteran analyst isn’t one to shy away from stating his true feelings on any aspect in the sport but when taking a look at the January 29th Timothy Bradley-Devon Alexander clash, Merchant can’t help but to have his curiosities perked.

The 27-year old Bradley, by way of Palm Springs, California, is the slight favorite going into the contest against Alexander, a well-rounded southpaw from St. Louis. The fight serves as HBO’s first key attraction to the New Year and will also play a huge role into the future of several other stars in the 140-pound division.

Already there has been a serious amount of trash talk coming from both parties and things will reach a climax in less than two weeks’ time. Continue reading below for a few sound bytes from Merchant as he analyzes the importance of a Bradley-Alexander clash, the impression each man has left on him, and whether or not the war of words taking place has gotten too personal...

Ready to happen…
“It’s a fight that has been longing for a couple of years and ripening. Now it’s ready to happen. My hope is that two fighters resumes that they’re more pure boxer than brawler and somehow the magnitude of the event and the importance of it to them ignites a crowd-pleasing fight. And boxing in general hopes that it can happen because it could mean so much to a division with a lot of young talent.”

Alexander’s star potential…
“Honestly I didn’t see that much of him but I had heard of him and people [were] seeing him as a serious prospect rather than a suspect. So I have watched him of course the last couple of years and I like what I see. The question is, what direction is he going to go in as a possible, serious prime-time fighter?”

Alexander’s promoter Don King…
“King hasn’t had a serious heavyweight for a long time. I guess the mere fact that he still has a few fighters that might achieve something important is in itself a surprise. Although you never counted him out, King hasn’t been a heavyweight in the promoting business for quite sometime, much less promoting heavyweights. I remember he had Cory Spinks, from St. Louis, and rode him for a while. Quite frankly I’m hoping that Alexander doesn’t turn out to be that kind of a fighter. First, second, and third priority is to not get hit.”

Bradley still hungry…
“I like Timothy Bradley because he has an aggressive attitude if not an aggressive style. I don’t know if he is as skilled as Alexander but he has a real good sense of what he needs to do in the ring. He always comes in supreme condition and he remains a hungry fighter. And now we’ll see how he deals with this challenge.”

Trash talk gotten under either man’s skin?
“I really can’t tell. Some guys shrug it off. They think it is part of how they have to market themselves and promote a particular fight. Maybe that suggests that each of them is confident in their abilities, at least on the surface. But I’m sure each of them also has questions about himself and knows that they are going to provide answers not just for us but for themselves in this fight.”

Chris Robinson is based out of Las Vegas, Nevada. An archive of his work can be found here , and he can be reached at [email protected]