At just 24 years of age, it was probably too early to claim American boxer Devon Alexander (22-1, 13 KOs) was at the crossroads of his career when he took on Lucas Matthysse on June 25, but it was definitely an important bout. Alexander went into the fight after losing a lot of fans and credibility the last time out when he was beaten by Timothy Bradley in a junior welterweight title unification bout by 10th –round technical decision in January.
Alexander and Bradley had been regarded as two of the top American boxers in the world when they met. But the fight ended up being a colossal bore and most fans blamed it on the southpaw Alexander for not outing in a good enough effort. He paid for it by losing his IBF and WBC title belts.
His fight against Matthysse was given the moniker ‘Redemption’ as Alexander wanted to redeem himself after his disappointing showing against Bradley. He should be given credit for choosing to face Matthysse, a tough hombre who entered the fight with a record of 28-1 with 26 Kos. Matthyse’s only loss came in his previous bout, a controversial split decision to American Zab Judah despite decking him in the 10th round.
Alexander redeemed himself to a point against Matthysse when they went 10 rounds in St. Louis, but there are still several question marks concerning his future in the sport. Alexander escaped with a split decision over Matthysse and found himself on the canvas for the first time in round four.
It was a close fight and didn’t really come as too much of a surprise when the hometown favorite was announced the winner by scores of 96-93 95-94, and 93-96 with his promoter Don King standing by his side in the ring. Alexander definitely didn’t dominate the bout, but neither did Matthysse, even though the Argentinean landed and threw more punches.
Of course, after losing two close split decisions in a row in the U.S., Matthysse saw things differently and claimed he was robbed. He might have won the fight or earned a draw, but if he did, it wasn’t clear cut. Alexander fought well enough to put his career back on the right track for the time being by showing a lot more heart than he did against Bradley, especially after picking himself up from the canvas. He wasn’t afraid to trade shots with Matthysse even though they didn’t appear to have any effect at all on his opponent.
The main thing was that Alexander at least made the fight entertaining and he probably would have earned some respect even if he had lost the decision. He seems to have the skills to compete in the division, but he doesn’t display them often enough. He likes to face the world’s elite fighters and other than the Bradley fight, has been competitive with them all. But many fans feel he’s won a couple of hometown decisions along the way.
Bradley will surely get another opportunity to win a world title and to take on the best opponents out there, but it’s just hard to see him getting over the hump to become a world-class fighter himself. It looks like Bradley is destined to have a good boxing career, but not a great one unless he can develop some power in his punches over the next few months.