Devon Alexander Returns Home, Lucas Matthysse Awaits

By Francis Walker BASN Staff Writer
Updated: May 25, 2011

NEW YORK, NY-–Former unified WBC/IBF junior welterweight champion Devon Alexander (21-1, 13 KOs) returns to the ring for the first time on Saturday, June 25, at The Family Arena in St. Charles, MO to take on Lucas Matthysse (28-1, 26 KOs) as part of an HBO tripleheader beginning at 9:45 PM/ET.

Lucas Matthysse

Lucas Matthysse

The bout will be Alexander’s first since dropping a miserable technical 10-round decision to unbeaten WBC/WBO champion Timothy Bradley in January. The scores read 96-95, 97-93, and 98-93 for Bradley. The defeat was disappointing because, Alexander, a once celebrated amateur boxer, was considered the 140-pounder with the most potential to become a star in boxing.

Alexander was well on his way to superstardom having defeated Junior Witter to claim the WBC junior welterweight championship at age 22. Alexander, now 24, unified the WBC/IBF titles by knocking out Juan Urango. Last August, Alexander displayed a ton of grit and flashes of brilliance in a decision win over former WBA titlist Andrei Kotelnik.

Alexander must be at the top of his game against Matthysse. The Argentine has a career knockout percentage of 92% with 26 of 28 victories ending by KO.

Matthysse was a hairline away from knocking out Zab Judah last November in an IBF eliminator to claim the No. 1 spot. Mathyssee lost a close split-decision by scored of 114-113 and 113-114 (twice). Matthysse floored Judah with a hard right hand in the tenth round. Matthysse was hurting Judah badly, but it wasn’t enough to sway the judges.

Judah went on to knockout Kazier Mabuza in March to become the IBF junior welterweight champion.

Alexander-Matthysse is a crossroads fight. The winner will remain a key element in the junior welterweight division headed by Bradley, Judah, and WBA champion Amir Khan. The loser will drop further into contender status and will have fewer opportunities to fight marquee opponents.

match will become the top contender at the 140-pound weight limit.

Cloud vs. Mack on Alexander vs. Matthysse undercard

The Alexander-Matthysse undercard will feature the return of undefeated IBF light-heavyweight champion Tavoris Cloud (22-0, 18 KOs) vs. Yusaf Mack (29-3-2, 17 KOs).

In Cloud’s previous outing he won a 12-round unanimous decision against former world champion Glen Johnson last August. Cloud is a well-conditioned fighter with a high punch output and lots of power. Cloud has fought decent opposition including world champions Julio Gonzalez and Clinton Woods. Entering his third year as a world champion, Cloud has a record of 4-0 in title fights.

Inactivity has hurt Cloud’s chances of becoming a recognizable fighter in the 175-pound class. Cloud, in a rare appearance, has an opportunity to make a believer out of most people on HBO when he defends his title against mandatory challenger Yusaf Mack. The 31 year-old Philadelphia fighter has experience, can punch, and is always in an exciting fight.

Cloud will have his hands full.

Stiverne vs. Austin in heavyweight title eliminator

Heavyweight prospect Bermane “B-Ware” Stiverne (20-1-1, 19 KOs) will oppose former title challenger, Ray Austin (28-5-4, 18 KOs) in a WBC eliminator. The winner of Stiverne-Austin will be on the verge of challenging WBC heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko.

Very little is known about the 32 year-old, Haitian-Canadian Stiverne. What we do know about him is that he has a powerful right hand and 14 first-round knockouts to show for it. Stiverne’s fight with Austin is more like a showcase instead of an elimination bout. Austin has been around of a long time and has lots of experience. He challenged Wladimir Klitschko for the heavyweight championship several years ago and was knocked out inside two rounds. In his last bout, he was KO’d by Odlanier Solis in another heavyweight title eliminator. Austin appears to have more than nine lives as far as opportunities to compete in big spots against top fighters.

Guillermo Jones meets Missouri hometown prospect, Coyne

WBA cruiserweight titlist Guillermo Jones (37-3-2, 29 KOs) meets undefeated Missouri propect Ryan Coyne (16-0, 6 KOs). Jones is a very interesting story. Jones was once a former welterweight prospect, but through the years he added weight I guess.

Jones shocked the world in 2008 when TKO’d Firat Arslan to win the WBA 200-pound championship.

In his last appearance, Jones scored an 11th-round technical knockout over respected former interim WBA cruiserweight world champion Valery Brudov when the two met on Oct. 2 in Panama City, Panama.

Coyne, should be defeat Jones and win a world title, he would have become the “feel good, happy-go-lucky” story of 2011. Coyne is a homegrown product of Missouri. He was named “St. Charles County Football Player of the Year 2001 in high school. He played collegiate football at the University of Missouri from 2001-02 and earned a bachelor’s degree from Lindenwood University in 2005.

Coyne turned professional in 2006 and will be competing in his first world title fight on June 25.

Bundrage set for first title defense, Powell rematch

The up and down career of Cornelius “K9″ Bundrage is currently at an all-time high. Bundrage, to the amazement of everyone, knocked out St. Louis, Missouri’s popular Cory Spinks in the first round last August to claim the IBF junior middleweight title.

Bundrage (30-4-1, 18 KOs), is scheduled to defend the IBF 154-pound title against No. 1-ranked, Sechew Powell (26-2, 16 KOs) on the Alexander-Mathyssee undercard. The fight with Powell is a rematch of their 2005 encounter when Powell handed Bundrage his first defeat, via decision.

IBF junior middleweight champion Cornelius “K9″ Bundrage has an old score to settle with Sechew Powell. After a stunning fifth-round technical knockout over Cory Spinks in St. Louis on Aug. 7 to win his first world title, the Emanuel Steward-trained Bundrage immediately looked to avenge his first loss as a professional, which came at the hands of Powell in 2005.

Alexander vs. Mathyssee ticket info

Tickets for Alexander vs. Matthysse are priced at $25, $50, $125, and $300 are currently on sale at the Family Arena box office, metrotix.com, or by dialing (314) 534-1111 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (314) 534-1111 end_of_the_skype_highlighting. All tickets include parking. The event is being promoted by Don King Productions. Alexander vs. Matthysse, along with Cloud vs. Mack, and Stiverne vs. Austin will be televised on HBO Boxing After Dark beginning at 9:45 PM/ET (8:45 PM/CT).

DiBella high on Erdei

Boxing promoter Lou DiBella is high on Hungary’s Zsolt Erdei. The undefeated former two-time titlist will appear on the undercard of the Super Six: World Boxing Classic semifinal between WBC super middleweight champion Carl Froch vs. Glen Johnson on Saturday, June 4, at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, NJ.

Erdei (32-0, 17 KOs) will battle former WBA 168-pound champion, Byron Mitchell (28-7-1, 21 KOs). DiBella has sectioned-off a special block of tickets for Erdei’s followers through www.ticketmaster.com under search “Boardwalk Hall,” and click on “Carl Froch vs. Glen Johnson – WBC super middleweight championship tickets.” Then search for seats under the “Fans of Zsolt Erdei” header. You must use the password ZSOLT.

“Zsolt is a Hungarian megastar and one of the best European fighters of the past decade,” said DiBella, the President of DiBella Entertainment. “He needs to fight and stay busy for his enormous Hungarian fan-base here in the states. He will be on the international broadcast, so the home-town crowd can watch him there too. The last time he fought in Atlantic City, he brought a very passionate and devoted crowd. It was really impressive to see.”

Erdei spent five years as the WBO light-heavyweight champion (2004-09) before winning the WBO cruiserweight title (2009). Erdei once again is competing in the light-heavyweight division and is eying a mandatory title shot against newly awarded WBO 175-pound titlist Nathan Cleverly.