After back to back impressive victories over Junior Witter in 2009 and Juan Urango in 2010, Devon Alexander appeared to be sitting on top of the boxing world. He won the WBC Super Lightweight Title against Witter by stopping him in eight rounds and then unified it by capturing the IBF Junior Welterweight Title from Juan Urango, scoring a stunning eighth round knockout. Those two performances left many boxing pundits and fans claiming that Alexander was destined for pound for pound greatness. Just as quickly as the praise came it was just as quick to fade away.
Alexander followed up those two impressive performances with two less than stellar outings against Andriy Kotelnyk and Timothy Bradley. He just didn’t seem to have that same spark that he had shown in past. He often looked confused in the Kotelnyk fight, as he was being timed and countered from the outside. Many of us watched in amazement as the eight to one underdog Kotelnyk was able to pot shot him from a distance. In the end, many felt that Kotelnyk clearly won the fight, but the judges viewed it otherwise and awarded Alexander a disputed decision. It was a different story against Bradley. Early on Alexander held his own by boxing smart and picking and choosing his spots by working well off his jab, but as the fight wore on Bradley was able to force his way inside and punish him to the body. Bradley fought a very physical fight marred with head butts, and it was quite apparent that Alexander was getting frustrated. Knowing how Bradley fights, one would think that he would have been better prepared and should have expected a rough and tumble type fight, but Alexander appeared to mentally unravel. After suffering a head butt in the tenth round Alexander was unable to continue, claiming that he couldn’t see due to the damage caused by the head butt. The fight went to the scorecards and Bradley won by tenth round technical decision. After the fight people questioned whether or not Alexander could have continued. Nevertheless, it was still not one of Alexander’s best performances.
He followed up the Bradley fight by taking on the hard punching Argentinian Lucas Matthysse last June. Although Alexander showed a lot of heart and fought with true grit, Matthysse appeared to be the one landing the harder blows and knocked Alexander down in the fourth round. Alexander appeared to fade in the later rounds due to the heavy body shots and hard blows he was absorbing. To his credit, he tried to fight back hard, but Matthysse seemed to be the stronger of the two. The fight was close and competitive but in the end, it appeared that Mathysse did enough to get the nod, but Alexander walked away with a split decision victory.
Alexander will now be moving up to welterweight where he says he will be much more effective. He claims that his recent struggles were due to him having to struggle to make the junior welterweight limit. He feels the extra weight will suit him much better.
He most certainly will have to be better because once again he finds himself back in another tough match up against another hard punching Argentinian Marcos Maidana. Maidana is not as gifted a boxer as Alexander, but he does have once punch knockout power as was shown back in March of 2010 when he knocked out Victor Cayo in the sixth round with a single body shot. He may not be the quickest fighter in the world but neither was Mathysse, and he was still able to land effectively against Alexander. One could argue that although Mathysse and Maidana both have eighty four percent knockout percentages, it is Maidana who is the more dangerous puncher because he has shown the ability to take fighters out with one shot while Mathysse wears them down before getting them out of there.
In this fight we have the classic boxer vs. puncher match up. Usually in these types of fights the boxer typically wins but in boxing one punch can change everything and Maidana possess that one punch that could do just that. Will he be able to land it, and if he does can Alexander withstand it? On Feb 25 we shall see.
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