I was at ringside for the loaded HBO Boxing After Dark Card this Saturday night in Saint Charles, Missouri (a suburb of Saint Louis, Mo)
I was born and raised in Saint Louis, Missouri and if there is one thing I can say about my city is that they are loyal to their sports stars almost to a fault.
Everyone likes Devon Alexander as they should. I grew up around the same neighborhoods that he did and I can tell you the percentages of young men specifically young black men who make it out and make something of themselves are low.
Devon should be seen as a role model to young kids that you can make it out and his trainer Kevin Cunningham was the main reason that Devon didn’t go down the wrong path.
With that being said, if Alexander is going to be a world class boxer he is going to have to make some changes.
To the majority of members of media at ringside as well as myself, he lost a tough fight to Lucas Matthysee. He squeaked out a split decision by one point even after suffering a flash knockdown.
Matthysse threw more punches, landed more punches and connected with more power punches. Combine that with the knockdown it is hard to see how Alexander won.
When Alexander boxed in the middle of the ring he was most effective, but when he got pinned on the ropes or traded heavy blows with Matthysse he frequently was on the losing end of those exchanges.
Cunningham said in the post fight press conference that Alexander was trying to prove a point by slugging it out with Matthysse. In trying to prove that point Alexander almost relegated himself to ESPN 2 Friday Night Fights status.
Alexander showed a ton of heart and sturdy chin, but sometimes being a “Warrior” as Cunningham put it, isn’t the proper way to go.
Because he won, he will still have opportunities for big money fights down the road in a loaded 140 pound decision, but some corrections will have to be made.
Alexander does not have to power to bang consistently with these big punchers. Someone as talented as he is can not only land 21 jabs in a ten round fight against someone who is standing right in front of him the entire time.
It is unclear if Alexander can make the changes necessary, but he will have to because he won’t always be able to rely on the comforts of home.
TAVORIS CLOUD vs. YUSAF MACK
Cloud is relentless. Is isn’t that Mack was fighting badly, in fact he was connecting with a lot of slick and beautiful combinations, but Cloud would never give him any space to breath.
As Mack tired, Cloud stalked and finally connected with a picture perfect left hook that had Mack thinking he was in Chicago not Saint Louis.
A few more punches finished the job.
Cloud is on a collision course with Jean Pascal in a fight where someone is going to get knocked out spectacularly. Might end up on the undercard of the Bernard Hopkins vs. Chad Dawson fight.
BERMANE STIVERNE vs. RAY AUSTIN
Stiverne has a lot of power and little boxing skills. Austin has a lot of boxing skills and a glass chin. I thought this was the most interesting matchup of the night.
Mainly because I knew Stiverne couldn’t win a decision, but could Austin avoid the punch that would make him go to sleep.
Austin to his credit did a decent job even though he took some heavy shots and he was boxing beautifully. I think if he was in better shape he would have been able to hold on, but eventually he left himself open for a big right hand to the temple and went down in the heap.
He did get up and looked reasonably ok, but ref called the fight to Austin’s disgust. Stiverne will get some play because he has power, but like many American heavyweights, needs to refine his skills to make a dent in the division.
Overall great night, much thanks to Don King and Don King Productions.