Southpaw former IBF and WBC junior welterweight titleholder Devon Alexander will be making his second appearance as a welterweight and making his Las Vegas debut when he challenges right-handed, one-punch knockout artist and IBF beltholder Randall Bailey in a Showtime-televised bout from the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino on Sept. 8.
A 25-year-old resident of St. Louis, Mo., Alexander (23-1, 13 knockouts) is coming off consecutive triumphs over Argentine countrymen Lucas Matthysse (31-2, 29 KOs) in June of last year and Marcos Maidana (31-3, 28 KOs) in February by split- and unanimous decision, respectively.
Bailey (43-7, 37 KOs), of Miami, is coming off June’s 11th-round knockout of unbeaten Mike Jones (26-1, 19 KOs), which earned him the vacant IBF belt on the undercard of a split-decision victory by Tim Bradley which dethroned Manny Pacquiao for the WBO’s welterweight crown.
Bailey trailed by a large margin before dropping Jones once each in the 10th and 11th rounds, and vows for similar results against Alexander.
“When I’m moving in the ring, I’m lining these guys up for that punch. It took a little longer for Mike Jones, even in other fights, when I move in the ring, my right hand is there. Everybody gets hit with the right hand. I’ve been working on it since I was 16,” said Bailey, a winner of four straight fights, two of them by stoppage.
“When it lands, it’s destructive…It’s not about how fast Devon is, he gets hit. He gets hit with right hands constantly. Every fighter he’s fought has hit him with right hands. So, he’s going to come into this fight and I’m not going to hit him? Trust me, I’m going to hit him.”
But Alexander’s trainer, Kevin Cunningham, said that Bailey’s strength will become his weakness on Sept. 8.
“That’s going to be Randall’s problem, is that all that he has is the right hand. That’s going to be a problem in this fight,” said Cunningham.
“Because he’s going to need more than one hand and one arm in this fight. When he gets into the ring with Devon, if he throws the right hand, he’s going to pay for it every time that he throws it.”
Alexander convincingly won his welterweight debut over Maidana, 100-90, 100-90 and 99-91 on the scorecards, grabbing his second straight win since falling by 10th-round, technical decision to Bradley in January of last year.
Bradley-Alexander ended with referee Frank Garza, acting on the advice of ringside doctor, Peter Samet, stopped the fight as a result of Alexander’s complaining that he could not see out of a bleeding right eye as the result of an accidental head butt. Alexander trailed, 97-93, 98-93, and, 96-95, at the time of the fight’s stoppage.
During a conference call on Tuesday, Alexander expressed regret that he didn’t continue against Bradley, whose fight with Pacquiao he scored for the man who was ultimately declared the loser of a controversial verdict.
Below are a few of Alexander’s responses to questions during the call.
Devon Alexander on Bailey’s one-punch knockout power:
“The Bailey fight’s going to bring the best out of me because, you know, he’s a veteran and he knows what he’s doing in there. He’s going to come to fight and he’s going to be ready.
“…I’m a natural southpaw who thinks in the ring, so he’s in for a rude awakening…He’s got that one-punch knockout power. But that’s not going to work. This is boxing.
“So, I’m going to be ready for whatever he brings…All that I have to do is follow my gameplan that me and my coach have laid out. It’s worked thus far, and that’s all that I have to do and all that I’ve got to say.
“He can come in there and take me lightly. He can say this and that about if he lands or not. Try to land it. That’s all that you’ve got to do. Just try to land it.
“Of course, I’m a pure boxer, but that’s not the only thing I’ve got in my arsenal. I’ve got skills, and I use my skills to my advantage, but that’s not all that I’ve got. And he’ll see that on Sept. 8 that that’s not all I’ve got.”
On the Bradley-Pacquiao decision:
“I thought Pacquiao edged it out. But with me, going back and watching the fight, Bradley was keeping the pace going and I thought Pacquiao slowed down.
“So people who watch it again are probably saying, ‘hmmm.’ It was closer than what I thought, but I had Pacquiao slightly winning.”
On a potential rematch with Bradley:
“Well, first, I’m going to focus on the task at hand, but then after that, I would definitely like that rematch with Bradley or the best situation that’s there for me.
“My coach and I will look at that. He’s good at figuring out the best opponent for me and what’s the best opportunity when we cross that road.”
On whether or not he regrets not finishing the Bradley fight:
“Yes. It’s a learning lesson for me, too. It’s just boxing. You know, you’re going to have circumstances that you’re going to have to get through when you’re inside them four corners.
“As I’m getting older, you know, I’m just 25, I’m learning. I definitely have regrets on not continuing, but what are you going to do. I’ve lived to fight another day.”
On debuting in Las Vegas:
“I’m excited to fight in Las Vegas. In my opinion, every fighter wants to fight in Las Vegas and to make it to Las Vegas. It think of it as the fight capitol of the world.
“Some of the best fights have been in Las Vegas, and this will be my debut in Vegas, so I’m excited about that. I’m focused on the task at hand, but I’m definitely excited about fighting in Las Vegas.”
On Bailey’s knockout of Jones:
“It was a sloppy fight. Mike Jones fought sloppy the whole fight, and Bailey was just anticipating throwing the right hand all night.
“So, you know, you can’t really take anything away from the fight except that you have to always be aleart and adjust and follow the gameplan.
“For me, I don’t care about anything that Randall Bailey is going to do on Sept. 8. I mean, this is boxing, and everybody hits hard.
“Everybody can box, everybody has two hands, two legs and everything. So I don’t care. Sept. 8, he had better be ready.”
Photo by Tom Hogan, Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions
Photo by Chris Farina, Top Rank
Photo by David Martin Warr, Don King Productions
.Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]