Devon Alexander Prepares for Fight on His Home Turf
Alexander-Matthysse bout is one of four title fights to be fought on June 25.
ST. CHARLES - Devon Alexander is hoping a change of residence will lead to a change in results.
Alexander, the former World Boxing Council junior welterweight champion, purchased a new house in the city of St. Charles just months after dropping the biggest fight of his career.
Now, Alexander tries to re-ignite his climb toward the top in his new hometown.
Alexander will fight Lucas Matthysse in a 12-round bout on June 25 at the St. Charles Family Arena.
It will be his first appearance since losing to Timothy Bradley in a welterweight title unification bout on January 29 in Detroit.
Alexander, who is 21-1 with 13 knockouts, is excited about the fight, which will be shown live across the world on Home Box Office (HBO) beginning around 9 p.m. He is especially happy to be fighting in St. Charles.
"It's going to be great to get back into the ring in my new hometown," Alexander said. "Looking forward to the opportunity."
Alexander says he can literally walk to the Family Arena from his new digs.
"I will be fighting right around the corner from where I just moved," he said.
The Alexander-Matthysse bout is one of four championship bouts on the six-fight card, which begins at 6:45 p.m. This marks the first time that four title fights have been held in the same night in Missouri.
Legendary boxing promoter Don King says fans should expect one thrilling event after another.
"This is going to put St. Charles County on the map," said the 79-year-old King. "It will be a great night that everyone will want to be a part of."
Alexander grew up in the rough-and-tumble Hyde Park neighborhood of North St. Louis. His inner-city roots helped him develop a strong-willed attitude. He still plans on calling St. Louis his home as he says he belongs to the entire area. He will still enter the ring prior to the fight wearing his traditional red St. Louis Cardinals baseball cap.
But St. Charles residents now can officially call him one of their own.
Tickets remain at all price levels ($25, $50, $125 and $300) for the card. The bombastic King, who is known to exaggerate from time-to-time, calls this the biggest sporting event ever held in St. Charles. This time, his claim is not too far from the truth.
"This is a chance for fans to see Devon and a lot of good fighters up-close," said Kevin Cunningham, who serves as Alexander's trainer.
The fight should also serve as a key moment in the career of the 24-year-old Alexander. A second successive loss - after 21 straight wins - would drop him even further in the crowded 140-pound division. A bounced-back effort against a strong fighter like Matthysse, could rocket him right back toward the top.
The Alexander camp is hoping to regroup after the rough loss to Bradley. It was the first million dollar fight of Alexander's career. The bout was stopped in the tenth round when Alexander couldn't continue because of what he said were several head butts from Bradley, who was well ahead at the time. Bradley was declared the winner because of a 96-95, 97-93, 98-93 advantage on the judges' scorecards.
"I hate to lose," said Alexander. "That fight taught me I had to do what I needed to do, no matter the circumstances. Whomever saw the fight saw that Bradley wasn't better than me that night."
That setback has made Alexander a more determined man. He spent the last month training with Cunningham in the high altitude of Monument, CO. Alexander returns to St. Louis on Monday as a man on a mission.
"I'm ready to rock and roll now," Alexander says. "I want to beat him and I want to beat him convincingly."
Matthysse is a fighter on the rise. He sports a 28-1 record with 26 knockouts. His knockout percentage of 92 is tops in the division. The Argentina native could easily be carrying a perfect mark into the match. His November loss to Zab Judah was controversial to say the least. Matthysse knocked down Judah in the tenth round and dominated the second half of the bout. But judges gave a close nod to Judah.
"The game plan worked perfectly and I feel I won the fight," said Matthysse through an interpreter. "The judges saw it differently."
The 28-year Matthysse says he will not leave Saturday's decision up to the judges. He will be looking to attack Alexander from the opening bell.
"I'm training for a knockout," Matthysse said. "I've dedicated this fight to all my fans in Argentina."
Matthysse, like Alexander, has moved away from friends and family in order to focus on the bout. His camp was held in Oxnard, CA.
"I'm prepared for everything he's got," said Alexander. "I'm confident in myself and my team. I think we've got a perfect game plan."
The Alexander-Matthysse fight is not the only one of local interest on the card.
Ryan Coyne, a St. Charles resident, will face Guillermo Jones (37-3-2, 29 KO's) in a cruiserweight championship bout on the undercard. Coyne (16-0, six KO's) played football at St. Charles High and Lindenwood University.
Coyne has quietly built up a perfect record, but will have his hands full with the veteran Jones. Coyne turned professional in 2006. This is his first world title fight.
In the co-feature, unbeaten IBF lightweight champion Tavoris Cloud (22-0, 18 KO's) will take on Yusaf Mack (29-3-23, 19 KO's).
Cornelius Bundrage (30-4-1, 18 KO's) will defend his 154-pound title against Seechew Powell, the No.1-ranked contender who has 26-2 mark with 16 KO's.