Former junior welterweight champion Devon Alexander (22-1, 13 KOs) won a hard-fought split decision over Lucas Matthysse (28-2, 26 KOs) this evening on his home turf at the Family Arena in St. Charles, MO, before a less than capacity crowd of about 6,000 spectators.
The official scores were 96-93 and 95-94 in favor of Alexander, with a dissenting judge scoring it 96-93 in favor of the hard-hitting Argentine boxer Matthysse.
Overall, it was a challenging fight to score and very close, so going one way or another on the scorecards by a point or two was fair, but Lucas Matthysse must be shaking his head right about now, thinking what he must do to earn a decision in the United States; this after also losing a split decision to Zab Judah last November, also very near Judah’s hometown.
Coming off a disappointing loss to Timothy Bradley earlier this year himself, Devon Alexander was out to prove his critics wrong in this fight by demonstrating both heart and a willingness to exchange punches with a bigger puncher. In that sense, his mission was accomplished.
Coming out in the first round, Alexander set the tone by surprisingly standing his ground a great deal more than expected against a stronger, much more physical opponent. Although he paid the price by eating some heavy leather at times, he made for a much more exciting performance than the last time he was featured on HBO in January.
Devon Alexander utilized his money punch, the right jab, often and countered well with a good straight left throughout the affair.
On the other hand, Lucas Matthysse consistently came forward, applied pressure, attacked the body very well and dominated a couple of the later rounds with punishing power as the St. Louis native began to show fatigue.
The first telling punch of the fight came in the fourth round when Lucas Matthysse temporarily blinded Devon Alexander with a pawing left jab and followed with a hard, straight right that connected to the former champion’s jaw. Alexander fell to the canvas, received an eight count but recovered well, sustaining limited damage the rest of the frame.
After competitive rounds in five and six, Lucas Matthysse followed up with a very strong effort in rounds seven and eight, landing practically everything he threw against a wary Devon Alexander. Matthysse landed an abundant number of straight right hands, right uppercuts and left hooks to the face of Alexander in round seven, while attacking viciously to the body in the eighth.
After it appeared he was hurt and fading badly, Devon Alexander dug deep in round nine by often staying in close and outslugging the banger with short, hard punches and straight, counter left hands, as it appeared Lucas Matthysse may have been trying to catch his breath.
With the fight apparently on the table going into the tenth and final round, both men exchanged big shots, but Matthysse landed the harder punches, actually knocking Alexander off balance a couple of times.
In the end, both men accounted for themselves well and will likely be heard from in significant junior welterweight fights to come in the near future.