RingTV.com caught up to trainer Kevin Cunningham in the wake of Saturday night’s unanimous decision win by former IBF and WBC junior welterweight titleholder Devon Alexander, who dethroned hard-hitting Randall Bailey as IBF welterweight beltholder at Barclays Center on Showtime.
The victory was the third straight for the 25-year-old Alexander (24-1, 13 knockouts), who was coming off consecutive wins over heavy-handed Argentines Lucas Matthysse and Marcos Maidana by split- and unanimous decision, respectively, in June and February.
Alexander has not lost since January of last year, when he suffered an 11th-round technical decision loss to unbeaten Tim Bradley, whose controversial split-decision dethroned Manny Pacquiao as WBO 147-pound beltholder.
Prior to facing Bradley, Alexander won a disputed decision over former titleholder Andriy Kotelnik — who already had vanquished Maidana — in August of 2010. Earlier, Alexander’s eighth-round knockout of Junior Witter earned the WBC’s vacant 140-pound title in August of 2009.
Alexander blamed extreme weight loss for the dull efforts against Kotelnik, Bradley and Matthysse, and debuted as a welterweight with the triumph over Maidana.
Urango and Witter were stopped for the first time in their careers by Alexander, whom Cunningham points out has been more energetic and dominant at 147 pounds, in terms of rounds won.
Alexander’s mandatory challenger is England’s Kell Brook (29-0, 19 KOs), who is coming off Saturday night’s third-round stoppage of Hector Saldivia.
Cunningham spoke to RingTV.com regarding Alexander’s past, his win over Bailey, and a potential bout with Brook
RingTV.com: Given the fact that Devon has been so dominant in terms rounds won, do you feel that validates your assertion that he had outgrown the 140-pound division and that is why he is more effective at 147?
Kevin Cunningham: I’ve been coaching and training Devon since he was seven years old, so I know his body just as well as he knows his own body, almost.
I knew that for those last few fights at 140, that he was really weak in the second half of some of those fights. A lot of people thought that we were making excuses.
But then we go up to 147, and we take on the big, bad Marcos Maidana, and he handles him easier than anybody did. He takes Marcos Maidana’s best shots, and he hurts Maidana.
And then, he goes after that and he fights the biggest one-punch knockout artist in boxing in Randall Bailey, and Bailey hit him with a couple of shots on the chin, and it didn’t even faze Devon.
That’s an indication that Devon can handle it, and that the welterweight division is where he needs to be. Devon has strength in this division, and so, this is where he should be.
RingTV.com: What do you feel that it says about Devon that he has faced Witter, Urango, Kotelnik, Bradley, Matthysse, Maidana and Bailey — knocking out Urango and Witter for the first time in his career?
KC: Those opponents are all considered elite fighters, and it tells you the mentality of Devon Alexander and the confidence that we have in him as a team.
We’re firm believers that if you’re going to consider yourself one of the best fighters in the game, then you have to fight elite fighters, and Devon’s resume is full of elite fighters. That resume is like murderer’s row.
The guys that are considered knockout artists, you know, we beat them also. So all we can do is continue to stay focused and to keep fighting the best fighters out there and to keep winning. That’s all we’re focused on.
RingTV.com: Would you like to fight in St. Louis again, where he drew 10,000 for his fights with Kotelnyk and Maidana?
KC: I think that there was over 10,000 for the Kotelnik fight, and that it was right at 10,000 for the Maidana fight. So, we didn’t fight Matthysse actually in St. Louis.
We fought Matthysse in a suburb called St. Paul’s, Mo., so that was about 30 miles outside of St. Louis. But it would be great to come home and to fight a showcase fight there.
But I’ll sit down with [advisor] Al [Haymon,] and we’ll figure out what’s best and what’s the best move to make. So we’ll go from there.
RingTV.com: What are your thoughts on fighting Brook?
KC: I’ll be sitting down with Al to figure out what the next move is, but if we have to fight our mandatory, which is Brook? No problem, and that’s basically me letting the IBF know.
There’s no problem with us fighting our mandatory. We have no problems fighting whoever our mandatory is if that’s what we’ve got to do.
Photo by Naoki Fukuda
Photo by Tom Hogan, Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions
Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]