Devon Alexander vs. Andre Berto will likely land on July 28 Showtime co-feature
Two former welterweight titleholders striving for relevancy, and the loser will be all but finished as a contender.
Devon Alexander and Andre Berto have been in talks for months ahead of a meeting, and it now appears the fight will land on July 28 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, according to a source with knowledge of the plan. The Showtime main event that night is a lightweight title unification matchup between Mikey Garcia and Robert Easter Jr., and Alexander-Berto would serve as chief support.
ESPN first reported the development.
The original plan called for David Benavidez to defend his super middleweight title against Matt Korobov in that slot, but that was before the titleholder became embroiled in a promotional tug-of-war (since settled, he’ll fight Anthony Dirrell in the fall).
Alexander (27-4-1, 14 knockouts) ended a two-year layoff in November after a lengthy battle with opioid addiction. Before he entered rehab, he appeared to be a spent fighter, a shell of the athlete whose blinding speed carried him to titles in two weight classes, including a near-shutout decision of dangerous puncher Marcos Maidana.
Now 31, the St. Louis native has impressed in his two comeback fights, even if he didn’t earn the decision in his last outing. He was held to a disputed draw against Victor Ortiz in February, and now he’ll take on another former Ortiz foe in Berto.
If Alexander was long believed to be finished as a championship-level fighter, Berto (31-5, 24 KOs) has been there for years. Since he dropped a lopsided decision to Floyd Mayweather in September 2015, the 34-year-old has competed just twice.
He scored a fourth-round knockout of Ortiz to avenge a defeat from 2011, but in his next outing, he wasn’t even competitive. Shawn Porter beat Berto from pillar to post until he finished him in Round 9 of their April 2017 bout.
The victor will be well-positioned for another crack at a title somewhere down the line. After all, each man still holds name recognition and is advised by Al Haymon, who controls the stacked 147-pound division. But the loser? That fighter will be hard-presser to secure another meaningful bout.
Mike Coppinger is the Senior Writer for RingTV.com. Follow him on Twitter: @MikeCoppinger