As the sport of boxing moves into the next stage of its life, the rising stars of today will become the headliners of tomorrow. Devon Alexander seems poised to be next in line as one of the leaders of the next generation. October 20th from the Barclay Center in Brooklyn, New York Alexander gets a chance to right some wrongs and win another title as he challenges Randall Bailey for Bailey’s IBF Welterweight title.
Every fighter has their coming out party and Devon’s big chance to make a splash was Jan. 29th 2011, taking on Timothy Bradley. Entering that fight Alexander was the IBF and WBC Light Welterweight champion but Bradley was his most notable opponent to date. A rough fight didn’t go Devon’s way that night. After a serious cut over his left eye, which left him unable to continue, the ringside Dr. stopped the fight and Bradley won a technical decision.
Alexander might have caught the 1st L of his career that evening but it might end up being one of his most important fights. It was a learning experience that unless you’re in a fight like that you’ll never understand. “I learned a lot from the Bradley fight. I’ve learned to fight through adversity in the ring. Things are going to happen; elbows, hitting below the belt, the back of the head, everything is going to happen. But you have to learn to fight through that,” Alexander expressed.
Such a lesson will come into effect against a fighter like Bailey. With tremendous punching power, Bailey can put any opponent into choppy waters. All Alexander can do to combat the shotgun right hand Bailey possesses is train to avoid it. “Well we know where he’s at. We know what Randall Bailey comes with and we know what he brings to the table. Like you said, that right hand can knock anybody out, so we are preparing for that. I’ve got skills; I’m smart in the ring. I’d definitely have to be stupid for me to get hit with that because that’s his arsenal. We are definitely prepared for that,” Alexander stated.
Though he might not pack bricks in his power hand, Alexander feels he has a similar advantage going into fight night. “His chin, I’ve saw in his previous fights that he doesn’t have a sturdy chin. He gets dropped, he can get hurt, so I’m definitely going to test that,” Alexander proclaimed. With only 13KO’s in his 23 victories many say that Devon doesn’t carry a heavy punch. That might have been the case at 140 but when we saw his Welterweight debut against Marcos Maidana, who is known for a solid chin, it appeared his power was effective. “I definitely brought the weight with me and the power with me. People keep talking about or like Bailey continuously says, Devon can’t hurt me. But everybody in front of me gets surprised and he’s going to be surprised come Oct. 20th,” Alexander said.
Little did we know that the power issue at 140 might not have been something that Alexander could control. Now he’s at a more natural weight for him. Like many fighters in the past, Alexander grew out of that weight-class. “At 140 without me acknowledging it, I was having trouble making weight. I’m used to doing what I have to do which was getting down on weight and working hard. That was my contract weight so I made the weight; I’ve prided myself on making the weight. With me not knowing I struggled to make the weight, I’d make the weight and you saw the result of that. Now at 147 I definitely seem strong,” Devon pronounced.
Even with feeling stronger punch wise and his overall physical, Alexander expects a very physical fight with Bailey. He knows that Bailey can’t box with him so he anticipates his opponent to turn it into a backyard brawl. “I definitely expect him to try to bully me. Try to line me up for that right hand. He’s definitely going to be game for me because he knows I’m young and I’m hungry. He’s going to be game but at the same time he’s definitely going to try to do the same thing he did with Mike Jones, and that’s not going to work,” Alexander mentioned.
Being a student of the game Alexander is always looking to soak up info on the sport he loves. Being talented is one thing, but intelligence along with physical ability is deadly. He studies his opposition to break them down but also frequently works on his craft. “In boxing you’re always learning something new. If you stop learning then it’s time for you to give it up. I’m constantly learning, constantly working on my power, constantly working in my angles; just different things to work in my game because my game isn’t solid yet, from my perspective. I’m my own worst critic. I look to perfect my craft. You guys are going to see that every time I come out to the ring,” Alexander stated.
Advancements in his game are what earned him his wins over Lucas Matthysse and Maidana. They are both all action in your face fighters, beating guys like that will get your name buzzing. That buzz landed Alexander a shot at the IBF championship. To be back in a position to win a world title is exactly where Devon wants to be and feels like he should be. “It’s a blessing to be able to become a 3 time world champion. There are a lot of fighters that don’t get to become a champion once let alone 3 time world champion. So I don’t take it lightly. I work hard, train hard and I’m excited to put that IBF belt around my waist again. I’m going to make the best of it,” Alexander said.
To beat a rough and tough opponent like Bailey, without a title being involved is quite an accomplishment. Add in the belt and you open up endless opportunities. “Here’s the thing, you’ve got to beat people like this to become recognized as one of the best in boxing. That’s why I always fight the best. I don’t duck anybody and whoever’s up for the challenge,” Alexander mentioned.
Those are the words of a true champion. That’s what the sport needs to continue its return to the golden days of boxing. Devon agrees by saying, “Boxing is coming back with full force and boxing is looking for new stars. I’m excited to be in the mix and just to be in the talks of some of the big names out there. I’m. It got g to take it lightly. I’m going to work. I’m going in like my life depends on it every time.”
Being victorious Oct. 20th and wrapping that belt around his waist will definitely keep Alexander in the mix and set him up for the best the Welterweight division has to offer. Devon already has something in mind though, eyeing up sweeping the divisions titles up. “There are a lot of options after I capture the IBF belt. You have Paulie Malignaggi; he’s got a tough opponent in front of him. If he gets passed that guy (Cano) that can be a possibility; me and Paulie have been going back and forth for a couple years now and he backed out of a fight with me, so you just never know. You’ve got Guerrero, you’ve got Bailey, and you’ve got a lot of top guys. We just have to see but we definitely are going to be in the mix after this,” Devon added.
Wouldn’t we all like to see a rematch between Alexander and Bradley? Well at least I know I would, revenge fights are always the most intense. Look at Cotto-Margarito or Pacquiao-Marquez, they always set off fireworks. What are Alexander’s thoughts on avenging that loss and would he want it in the near future? “Of course, that’s the 1 I’ve got on my record. It doesn’t look good in my opinion so I definitely want to get that,” Devon exclaimed.
Whether it’s Paulie or Guerrero; a rematch with either Bradley or Maidana could be next. What’s next will have to get put on the back burner, Bailey is no joke and Devon knows that. He’s ready for this obstacle placed in front of him. The title and climbing back to the upper echelon of boxing is all he sees. Devon’s words expressed that clearly by saying, “This is me on the rise back up. I’ve fought Bradley and that was my 1st go round or the 1st time for the people to get introduced to me. It didn’t go so good but this is the 2nd times around and I’m going to make due of it. I’m going to become one of the best in boxing. Look for me in the future.”