He told us before the bout that he would deliver a memorable performance and when his fight against the hard hitting Marcos Maidana 31-3 (28) was over we'd be saying nothing but positive things about him. Those were the words spoken by former junior welterweight title holder Devon Alexander 23-1 (13) this past weekend. And boy did he did deliver in his maiden voyage fighting as a welterweight, as he won a convincing unanimous decision over Maidana by the scores of 100-90 twice and 99-91 (I had it 100-90).
Granted, he picked the correct foil in Maidana, who was also fighting officially as a welterweight for the first time in his career, with the difference being Alexander looked hard and strong at 147 and Maidana seemed to be stuck in first gear and could never get going. Maidana, who was a real life-taker at 140, wasn't quite the rock thrower we're used to seeing at 140. That, along with Alexander's movement and versatility, played a huge roll in Alexander winning every round in what was a very entertaining fight between two solid contenders with contrasting boxing styles.
During the fight Alexander's willingness and heart got the better of him a few times as he tried to put Maidana away sometimes with five and six punch combinations. He quickly realized, as it was pointed out by Roy Jones during the HBO broadcast, that that was a mistake because by staying in the pocket too long in front of Maidana, it allowed him to give Alexander a receipt during the exchange. That was for all intents and purpose the only way Maidana was gonna be able to plant anything big on Alexander. Smartly, Alexander picked up on that and resorted to using the ring and throwing hard two and three punch combos as he picked his spots.
For the majority of bout Alexander, despite being cut by a punch over his right eye, did what he wanted and befuddled Maidana's sporadic aggression. Every time Marcos thought he had Alexander trapped or reduced to having him stuck in the trenches, Devon peppered Maidana with quick and accurate combinations which allowed him to move away or to the side, forcing Maidana to begin the trek again of trying to bull him to the ropes or nearest corner. In fact there were spells of the fight in which Alexander initiated the exchanges and stopped Maidana dead in his tracks before he could get anything going.
Alexander was especially effective with lead shots and his superior hand speed continually enabled him to beat Maidana to the punch. Devon was focused and threw with conviction and never let Maidana get anything going. In addition to that, Alexander mixed things up to the body and head and by the end of the ninth round you could see the dividends the body work was starting to exact as Maidana became more desperate in his attempt to get Alexander outta there with a lottery punch. Only it wasn't to be as Alexander controlled the 10th and final round and was never in trouble as he sprinted home.
Based on his showing against Maidana, Alexander may become a huge factor in the welterweight division. However, at this time I'm going to suspend total judgment until we see him again against a bigger upper-tier elite welterweight who isn't nearly as one dimensional or as predictable as Marcos Maidana. Having said that, it must be noted that that Alexander did take apart a fighter who gave Amir Khan life and death before losing a close decision to him and has already defeated Erik Morales and Victor Ortiz in two of his career signature fights.
Devon Alexander just may have fought the most complete fight of his career from start to finish in his welterweight debut against Marcos Maidana this past weekend. Now with his name injected into a crowded and talented welterweight division that occupies the two best pound-for-pound fighters in boxing, Alexander will most likely be taking part in some compelling match ups with some of the other title caliber welterweights who along with him are gunning for a shot at either Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV