Golden Boy signs Devon Alexander
LAS VEGAS -- Golden Boy promoter Richard Schaefer announced Saturday that he has signed former junior welterweight titlist Devon Alexander to a promotional deal, and is hoping to include him in a welterweight tournament he wants to try to sell to HBO or Showtime.
With Alexander and trainer/manager Kevin Cunningham on hand, Schaefer made the announcement at a news conference prior to Saturday night's Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Victor Ortiz fight at the MGM Grand.
"He's charismatic, clean-cut and comes across extremely well," Schaefer said. "He is extremely marketable and has a huge following, a huge home base. There's really only a handful of fighters who can sell as many tickets as Devon Alexander."
Said Alexander: "I have a good feeling about this. Golden Boy is at the top of their game right now, in my opinion, and I think I've made the right choice. I am ready to get it on if Richard Schaefer could get me a fight next week. I'm always in shape, ready to go."
Alexander (22-1, 13 KOs) had been promoted by Don King throughout his professional career, but became a free agent after he got knocked down and squeaked out a split decision win against Golden Boy fighter Lucas Matthysse in June.
"It was a smooth transition, negotiations went smooth," Cunningham said. "No aggravation or anything like that. I look forward to the future with Golden Boy. I think Devon is the perfect fit for Golden Boy Promotions."
Alexander's win against Matthysse was a fight HBO owed him under the deal he had with the network to fight Timothy Bradley Jr. in a heavily hyped January unification bout.
It did not come close to living up to expectations, as Bradley won a ragged 10th-round technical decision after an accidental head butt -- one of many -- cut Alexander, who indicated that he did not want to continue, a move for which he took a lot of criticism.
Alexander, 24, is planning to move up to welterweight for his next fight. Golden Boy promotes several fighters at 147 pounds and also is deep with fighters in the 140-pound junior welterweight division who are on the verge of moving up.
"We are convinced he will make some noise in the 147-pound weight class and become world champion," Schaefer said of Alexander. "He has a tremendous future at 147. We saw that with Victor when he moved from 140 to 147. We have big plans for him."
Along with Alexander, Golden Boy also promotes welterweights Ortiz and Paulie Malignaggi, and Amir Khan, Marcos Maidana and Matthysse, 140-pounders on the verge of moving up.
Schaefer said he hopes to talk to the networks next week to gauge their interest in a four- or six-man welterweight tournament. He said he would prefer a four-man tournament, and also acknowledged it was unlikely that Khan -- who has a deal with HBO and generates substantial money on his own -- would join any sort of tournament. That potentially could help build a future opponent for the division kingpins -- Mayweather and pound-for-pound king Manny Pacquiao.
"The tournament doesn't need to have a belt, but it needs a network committed to telling the backgrounds of these guys," Schaefer said. "Let's say Mayweather and Pacquiao (finally) fight each other, we need to have some opponents, fighters people recognize, to challenge them."
Tournaments are tough in boxing. Showtime completed a four-man bantamweight tournament in August, but not before an injury delayed the final by several months.
Showtime will conclude its six-man Super Six World Boxing Classic super middleweight tournament Oct. 29 -- two years, numerous delays and lineup changes after what was conceived as an 18-month tournament began.
"I would imagine HBO or Showtime would be interested in putting some sort of tournament together," Schaefer said. "You have a lot of different characters that could make for a colorful and interesting tournament."
Schaefer said he also was willing to work with fighters outside of Golden Boy, including welterweight titleholder Andre Berto, who claimed his second title Sept. 3.
Malignaggi, a former junior welterweight titlist who has been fighting as a welterweight, attended the news conference and got into a bit of a jawing match with Alexander, whom he wants to fight. They have gone at it for months on Twitter.
Alexander, a southpaw from St. Louis, made former titlist Junior Witter quit after the eighth round to win a vacant belt in August 2009 before unifying belts in his next fight, when he knocked out Juan Urango in the eighth round seven months later.
After a debatable points win to retain his belts against Andriy Kotelnik in August 2010 in St. Louis, Alexander faced Bradley and suffered his first loss.
Dan Rafael covers boxing for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter.
MORE BOXING HEADLINES
- Golovkin-Rubio fight set for Oct. 18 in Calif.
- Roc Nation wins Quillin-Korobov purse bid
- Brook edges Porter for IBF welterweight title
- Salido, Kokietgym set for interim 130 title bout