Devon Alexander boxed smartly and sharply from the start in the main event of HBO's Boxing After Dark which unfolded at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut on Saturday night. It was looking like he'd simply need to stay on message for the entire twelve rounds, and he'd make off with Juan Urango's IBF junior welterweight crown, pairing it with his own WBC version. But Alexander wasn't content merely with the distance victory; he stepped it up in the eighth, summoned some hellacious uppercut, and stopped the Colombian banger after the ref saw enough following a second knockdown.
The end for Urango, who hadn't been stopped before, came at 1:12 of the eighth. Alexander went 173-530, while the loser was 127-375.
Alexander (entering 19-0; fighting out of St. Louis; age 23) weighed 139 1/4, while Urango (entering 22-2; from Colombia; age 29) was 139 3/4.
In the first, the lefty Alexander worked off the jab. He showed an above average mobility, and looked to be cognizant of Urango's heavy hook. In the second, Urango came out smokin', after being told by his corner that he needed to step it up. The fellow lefty Urango too often waited, and looked for that perfect opening. Alexander won the round from the outside, and one could see him dominating the whole twelve. In the third, Alexander shuffled left, then right, mixing it up, keeping Urango guessing. Alexander felt so comfortable, he shot lead uppercuts now and again. He did get clipped with a hook with 30 seconds remaining. Maybe Urango was figuring out the distance and his timing..? In the fourth, the distance closed; that would be to Urango's liking, one would think. Alexander clinched at the end of the fourth. Could this be a switch in momentum?
In the fifth, Alexander heard his trainer's call to maintain better space. The jab kept Urango from loading up, and from getting off. In the sixth, we saw Urango often missing by wide margins. But nothing he tasted from Alexander made him go into retreat mode. Have to throw in a Lennox Lewis comment here–the analyst said, “Everyone loves these kind of fights,” this sort of style matchup, and I have to disagree. I say the fights people love most are when both fighters are wanting to come forward. Alexander was fighting smartly and sharply in retreat, and this caused a lack of trades, not the mark of a classic tussle. In round seven, Urango scored to the body some, and maybe won the round. In the eighth, though, Alexander came out a man on a reformatted mission; he scored a knockdown, off a right uppercut, at the 2:18 mark. Urango was up, his nose bloodied, and Alexander sent him to the mat again, from another right uppercut. The beefy brawler arose, but the ref Benji Esteves said no mas.