Reporting from Pontiac, Mich.
Devon Alexander's failure to see after a 10th-round accidental head butt might have been in dispute.
What wasn't was what everyone else in the Silverdome saw until that point, as Palm Springs' Timothy Bradley overpowered his faster foe from St. Louis en route to a unanimous decision in a world junior-welterweight title unification bout.
In front of 6,247, World Boxing Organization champion Bradley (27-0) was ahead on the scorecards of judges Duane Ford (97-93), Omar Mintun (98-93) and Tom Miller (96-95) when referee Frank Garza stopped the bout at the 1-minute 59-second mark of the 10th round as Alexander failed to open an already wounded right eye after the butt.
"I couldn't see, he's got a big head," Alexander (21-1) said after surrendering his World Boxing Council belt to Bradley. "My eye was burning."
Ringside physician Peter Samet said Alexander "could not open his eye. It was more than a cut. I was worried it was more than a nerve, that his eye was paralyzed. That's why I stopped the fight."
Bradley said Alexander "didn't want to get hit with the big shot, both of us were going in" when the butt happened.
Too often Saturday, Alexander was unable to adequately answer Bradley's power with the sensational speed that made the 23-year-old left-hander a world champion.
Bradley, 27, would force Alexander to the ropes, hold him and land hard blows to the body and head. The two had a third-round close encounter that featured two butts and a Bradley punch that scraped Alexander's right eye.
Alexander tried to let his hands go in the fourth, but he was backed up by two hard Bradley rights, and even if Alexander was going to hinge the outcome on more activity, he was too susceptible to Bradley's charging and big right, as happened in the sixth round.
The plan for a quicker pace again unraveled when Bradley belted Alexander in the face with a right in the eighth, a round-defining punch. Another exchange in the ninth was punctuated by a Bradley right.
"Wicked body shots," Bradley barked as judges sent in their scores. "I didn't think the fight would be stopped this way."
Bradley was asked whether Alexander merely didn't want to continue fighting.
"You'll have to ask him that," Bradley said.
While HBO has the right to call for a rematch, and Alexander said he wanted one, the more likely scenario for Bradley as he proclaims himself the best fighter in the sport's deepest division is likely elsewhere.
Richard Schaefer, Golden Boy Promotions chief executive, said he wanted the winner to fight England's other junior-welterweight world champion, Amir Khan, in the summer, possibly at Staples Center.
"I'm all over it," Bradley's promoter, Gary Shaw, said before the bout.
The fight might have had promotional missteps by staging it near icy Detroit in winter in a building most probably thought had been imploded a few years ago, but there are front-page repercussions to it even if fewer than 10,000 Michiganders attended.
HBO has guaranteed Bradley that his next bout — the final one with his promoters Shaw and the Southland's Ken Thompson — will be on the network, and that his purse will be in excess of the $1.1 million he was paid Saturday.
Clear to see Saturday was that the performance by Bradley was a significant victory.
On the undercard, Coachella's former lightweight world champion Julio Diaz, who trains with Bradley in Indio at the Boys & Girls Club of Coachella Valley, defeated Tijuana's Pavel Miranda (16-7-1) on an eighth-round technical knockout after twice knocking down Miranda in the round. The welterweight victory lifted Diaz's record to 38-6 (27 KOs).
The card also included a solid effort by Haitian heavyweight Bermane Stiverne, who improved to 20-1-1 with 19 KOs with a second-round TKO of Kertson Manswell (19-1) of Trinidad and Tobago. Stiverne knocked down Manswell first with a right, then ended the bout with another quick barrage.