On Saturday, February 25, Devon Alexander, 22(13)-1, will clash with Marcos Maidana, 31(28)-2, in front of a hometown crowd in St, Louis, Missouri. The fight between these two former champions at junior welterweight is listed on RingTV.Com as a 10 round bout in the welterweight division.
Alexander, 25, is one of those young fighters like Andre Ward in Oakland who can fill an arena with hometown fans. Less than two years ago, Alexander was regarded as among the sport's biggest potential stars, having beaten veteran Junior Witter for the vacant WBC title in August 2009 and adding the IBF strap by beating Andiy Kotelnyk a year later.
Since then, however, Alexander has lost some of his luster. A highly anticipated matchup with fellow undefeated young lion Timothy Bradley in January 2011 was less than thrilling for the crowd and ended with Alexander's first and only career loss, a technical decision when he could no longer continue due to injury after the 10th round.
Next, Alexander won a split decision over Lucas Martin Matthysse in June, a very close fight that many fans and writers did not think he deserved to win. He was dropped in the fourth round and though he landed punches in great volume, they seemed to do much less damage than Matthysse's shots.
Alexander's career is at some kind of turning point and he deserves a lot of credit for making a fight with a guy like Marcos Maidana. Maidana fights like a demon, with a crowd-pleasing, always-on-the-attack style. At 28, he has a solid body of work, a stellar reputation and the potential to move up.
Maidana beat legendary Mexican ring warrior Eric Morales by majority decision last year. He famously came from behind against Victor Ortiz in June 2009, making him quit on his stool.
In December 2010, he lost an exciting and extremely competitive unanimous decision to Amir Khan, by scores of 114-111 twice and 113-112. Maidana was knocked down in the first round of the fight but brawled his way back into contention, losing a point for elbowing along the way.
This is a dangerous fight for Alexander and a great challenge. If he can beat a guy like Maidana, he will instantly be a player in the loaded welterweight division.
It's a big "if," though. Alexander had trouble with Matthysse's body attack and "Chino" will attack Alexander relentlessly to the body. Alexander does a lot of quick, high-volume punching, but I don't think his shots will have enough force to slow down the extremely rugged Argentinian farm boy.
My prediction for this is Maidana by TKO in 10. It will be difficult for him to win a decision in St. Louis and he will be going after Alexander relentlessly from the opening bell. Alexander is a talented boxer, but I just don't see him having the power to beat Maidana and climb back up the ladder to elite status.