Tonight’s HBO boxing after dark broadcast sees another of Don King’s triple header events featuring an eagerly awaited step up in class for heavyweight prospect Bermane Stiverne, Tavoris Cloud making his annual appearance to defend his IBF light heavyweight title, and Devon Alexander in his first fight back since his first loss.
In the main event and likely the source of much of the intrigue, once beaten Devon Alexander (21-1, 13 KOs) returns against hard hitting Argentinian Lucas Matthysse (28-1, 26 KOs) in what many regard as a must win fight for the young American.
Given that Alexander is only 24 years old that might be a little premature, especially if divisional number one and two Tim Bradley and Amir Khan move up in weight in the near future.
Maidana and Alexander’s recent struggles make Bradley and Khan look all the better
That being said a loss tonight would be a huge setback for the St. Louis native, and equally a massive boost to the career of Lucas Matthysse who would instantly be in the picture to fight any of the three current champions.
One of the biggest questions will be whether Alexander has recovered mentally from his lackluster loss to Tim Bradley earlier this year.
Under pressure throughout and unable to counter Bradley effectively, Alexander looked lost and dropped round after round until the eventual clash of heads that ended the fight.
Also despite the big money guarantee given to him by HBO as part of his deal to fight Bradley, most were expecting Alexander to take a much easier comeback fight than Matthysse, who with only one very close loss to date is still something of an unknown quantity at the higher levels.
Devon Alexander taking a big risk in facing Lucas Matthysse after tough loss
When the fight begins it will become quickly apparent if Alexander has tried to take on too much too soon and would have benefited from a gentler ring return.
Until then we can only deal in what we know about each fighter. In a nut shell Matthysse pressurizes and hits hard, Alexander’s athleticism allows him to counter very well and he has very fast hands.
Upon first glance then it would appear Alexander certainly has the skills to beat Matthysse, who has only faced a handful of notable opponents thus far in his career.
The fight almost certainly won’t be a repeat of Alexander’s signature win over Juan Urango as some are predicting though.
As rough around the edges as Matthysse can appear at times under closer scrutiny he uses angles to great effect, works the body well and varies his attacks. He also defends himself slightly better than the stereotypical brawler when he gets in close, which is something of a rarity.
He is fairly easy to hit on the outside however, and will definitely struggle with Alexander’s hand-speed, but cuts down the ring effectively and probably has enough of a chin to take anything Alexander throws at him.
As to the winner, the odds-makers have Alexander as a slight favorite, and a probably safe pick is for a close points victory either way.
Steve Coltier, Pitt: “Alexander wilts under pressure, if Matthysse fights dirty like bradley did and unsettles him he takes it”
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