IBF welterweight titleholder Devon Alexander (24-1) will enter his first fight as the IBF welterweight champion against Lee Purdy (16-3-1) as an overwhelming favorite.
After all, Purdy wasn't even expected to be challenging Alexander. He was a late replacement for mandatory challenger Kell Brook who was forced to withdraw from the bout due to a stress fracture in his right foot.
After Purdy missed weight for the second time in as many fights, the title will remain with Alexander regardless of who wins.
Despite the disappointing build to this fight, Alexander must now focus on living up to his favored status. An impressive win would show that he's prepared to step up to more well-known opponents in the future. Purdy, on the other hand, has the best opportunity in his career to make a statement by upsetting the champion.
Read on for a closer look at this welterweight clash.
When: Saturday, May 18 at 9 p.m. CT
Where: Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J.
Odds (according to Bovada): Alexander -2500, Purdy +1000
Keys for Alexander
There's a reason Alexander is the prohibitive favorite here. He's the much more gifted fighter athletically and is much more technical.
He has the hand speed and quickness to move in and score with clean combos, and move out without getting in danger. That being said, he needs to avoid getting into a brawl.
Alexander doesn't have incredible power, so forcing the knockout because he's facing an inferior opponent would not be wise. If he's patient and the knockout presents itself late in the fight, that's one thing, but his best path to victory is to utilize his quickness to frustrate Purdy.
Keys for Purdy
Purdy wasn't even supposed to be here and isn't expected to win so he has nothing to lose. He'll need to take advantage of that and swing for the fences.
The Englishman doesn't have the impressive athleticism or quickness of his foe, so the uglier the fight the better. He'll need to clinch, push and get on the inside if he wants to score and that will mean cutting off the ring and forcing Alexander to trade with him.
Purdy must get this fight to the ropes where he can force Alexander to brawl a bit. If he can get to the body early and slow Alexander down, he may have a shot to make this interesting.
Prediction: Alexander via TKO in Round 11
Alexander isn't the most exciting fighter in the world. He's not going to engage in a slugfest and he'll utilize his footwork to outpoint Purdy in the early rounds.
That's bad news for the underdog. If Purdy doesn't dish out some punishment to the body in the early going, Alexander will have plenty of energy to pour it on in the later rounds.
The champion doesn't have great power, but 11 rounds of getting beat is a lot for any fighter to take. Alexander should put Purdy away just before this one goes to the cards.