Alexander wins a close one

By Tom Donelson, BASN boxing writer
Updated: June 26, 2011

IOWA CITY, IOWA–Devon Alexander made his comeback fight after his first lost against Tim Bradley as he fought knockout artist Lucas Martin Matthysse in Saint Charles, Missouri, close to his hometown of Saint Louis.

The first bout of the evening was the big guys as Ray Austin got it on against Bermane Stiverne. Austin came out with jabbing as he maintained his distance throughout most of the opening round against the smaller Stiverne. Near the end of the second round, a Stiverne left hook sent Austin reeling and a right hand staggered Austin that allowed Stiverne to steal the round.

Austin started the third round in tight before moving to the center and jabbing to regain some distance from the hard punching Stiverne.

Austin nailed Stiverne with a solid right with 45 seconds left and near the end of the round, an Austin’s left hook connected. Austin gave away the round as he was deducted a point for throwing a shoulder after the round ended.

Austin, whose main job was to play sacrificial lamb, used his jab to neutralize Stiverne’s power and Stiverne could not get untracked in the early rounds. Austin controlled the pace of the fight with his jab and while Stiverne was able to connect on some heavy shots, he did not throw enough punches nor did he push the 41 year old Austin for the first half of the fight.

Going into the second half of the fight, Austin boxing skills gave him a lead on the scorecard, even with a point deduction in the third round. With a minute left in the seventh round, Stiverne nailed Austin with a right and over the rest of the round, he started to connect with solid shots including three good body shot that slowed Austin down.

Stiverne power started to take hold as he forced Austin to retreat and Stiverne winged shots. Austin showed fatigue but by the end of the round, the younger Stiverne started to breathe heavily after he missed with a wild left hook as the eighth round ended.

Austin made a fight in the ninth round as he started to throw some hard punches to counter Stiverne’s hard shots but in the tenth round, Austin started fast but a Stiverne’s right hand sent Austin sprawling on the ground. Austin barely beat the count but when the referee motioned Austin forward, Austin staggered toward the referee. The referee stopped the fight. Stiverne power won him the fight

Tarovris Cloud defended his version of the light heavyweight championship, the IBF title. Yusaf Mack moved and jab in the first round in an effort to avoid Cloud power. Cloud started to close the distance with his opponent with good body work in the second half as Mack counter effectively but by the end of the round, Mack quit moving and stayed inside.

Mack found some room to throw effective right hands over Cloud’s left in the third round and showed some effective defense as he avoided Cloud’s power shots. Cloud reversed the previous round as his power started to take hold at the end of the fourth round as he managed to trap Mack on the rope. The fifth round saw Cloud attacking but Mack movement side to side allowed for some effective counter but by the end of the round, Cloud once again took control of the round.

Going into the second half of the fight, HBO Harold Lederman had Cloud up but every round proved competitive but Mack looked tired while moving away from danger. This showed up in the eighth round as Cloud pressure finally got to him near the end of the round. A Cloud left hook staggered Mack followed by an overhand right and a right hand to the body sent Mack to the canvas. Mack slowly got up and when referee motioned Mack to move forward; Mack stayed on the rope and the referee stopped the fight.

Devon Alexander wanted to show the world that he was ready to get back to the top of the junior welterweights in his backyard. Lucas Martin Matthysse and Alexander started out fast as both threw punches in quick order. Alexander showed some defensive wizardry in the middle of the second round as he ducked three straight Matthysse and near the end of the round, Matthysse landed a hard right but Alexander responded with a quick left.

Matthysse connected on solid left hook in the middle of the third round for the best punch of the round while Alexander connected on some quick combinations. At the beginning of the fourth round, Matthysse right hand sent Alexander down for a quick two count and Matthysse attacked for the rest of the round. The fifth round saw a more grinding fight with Alexander quicker hands scoring but Matthysse pushed the action in a close fight. Harold Lederman had Alexander ahead by one but Larry Merchant had Matthysse by one.

Matthysse connected on body shots over the first half of the fight and by the seventh round, Alexander started to slow down as Matthysse tattooed Alexander throughout the round as he connected on solid rights to the head. In eighth round, both fighters threw big shots including big body shots but this benefited Matthysse, who had the heavier hands.

Alexander boxed and moved side to side as he started to connect on combinations for his best round in the ninth round over the previous five rounds. Alexander ninth round put him in position to win the bout with a good tenth round, whereas Matthysse had to figure that in Alexander’s hometown that it would be a tough place to win a decision. Both fighters looked exhausted and both fighters threw punches in bunches with Matthysse punches showing more pop that could be decisive in determining the winner. The fight was now in the hands of the judges with both HBO Harold Lederman and Larry Merchant having Matthysse winning in a close decision.

Alexander won a close decision, a split decision but Matthysse was the busier fighter and his punches had more power. Matthysse may have lost the decision based on location as he lost his second close decision. This is a fight should be redone in a neutral site. As for Alexander, he chose a tough opponent to come back from his first lost. This simply shows that among junior welterweights, there may not a big difference among the top fighters.