Edner Cherry was graced with a stellar opportunity. Arguably a top ten talent, Cherry was given a shot at Timothy Bradley at the Beau Rivage Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi. Bradley’s  WBC super lightweight title was on the line, and the fight was the feature on Showtime on Saturday, after an overweight  Joan Guzman pulled a No Mas, and chose not to fight Nate Campbell.

But Cherry could not capitalize, and make fans forget the Guzman fiasco. Much or most of that had to do with Bradley, who is an athletic specimen who doesn’t punch all that hard, but makes himself awfully hard to hit. Bradley scored a knockdown in the eighth round of the bout, and in the end the judges spoke: they called it 117-110, 118-109, 119-109 for Bradley, in the first defense of the crown he yanked off Junior Witter’s head in May.

The Mississippi commission and the WBC had sparred about the judges, but they all decided to get along in the end, FYI.  The fight wasn’t difficult to score, so whoever was watching (no, no Glen Hamada jokes!) likely could have done the right thing.

The Californian Bradley (22-0, with just 11 KOs coming in), age 25, weighed 139 ¾ at the weigh in, while the 26-year-old Floridian Cherry (24-5-2 coming in, with just 12 KOs) weighed 139 ¼.

In the first, the two righties both showed fast hands. Both also showed a somewhat similar build, and skin tone, and shaved heads, so it was good that Cherry’s trunks, sky blue, stood out. A left hook stunned Cherry in the first, but it was a tight round.

In the second, Bradley’s jab did wonders. Cherry several times loaded up, and Bradley adeptly ducked the shots. In the third, Cherry got butted, but there was no cut formed. A knot did however, form. There were some trades, but both guys respected the hand speed of their foe. In the fourth round, Cherry looked to land the left hook. The action started to heat up, as the blood and competitive juices started coursing full speed. In the fifth round, Cherry backtracked some. Bradley’s confidence ramped up, and where was Cherry’s jab, as he loaded up. In the sixth round, Bradley got off first, and Cherry’s hands slowed down. Cherry took a little breather, as he maintained Bradley went low. The ref told Cherry to get back into action.

In the seventh, Bradley piled up some combos. The champ slipped and ducked smartly. In round eight, a right hand counter sent Cherry down at the one minute mark. He was up, and his eyes looked clear. Bradley had some time to finish the job, but Cherry held on, and then got on his bike. In the ninth, Cherry was cautious, as he chose to run and hold more than sling. In round ten, Bradley wanted to hit home with the right again, but his foe’s reticence foiled Bradley. In round 11, Bradley’s energy hadn’t dimmed. He potshotted, and danced, taking care not to get caught with a Hail Mary. In the 12th, Cherry’s legs weren’t that solid, and instead of throwing caution to the wind, he had to hold on to the last bit of energy he had left.