Thursday, March 3, 2011
Devon Alexander fight in works
By Dan Rafael
A proposed fight between former junior welterweight titlist Devon Alexander and power punching Lucas Matthysse of Argentina is gaining steam.
Golden Boy's Richard Schaefer, Matthysse's promoter, said Thursday that he is negotiating the fight with Alexander promoter Don King. If the deal is made, the fight would take place in June or July and air on HBO, Schaefer said.
"I have to get to back to King with a number, but Matthysse wants to take the fight. He's OK with going to St. Louis [Alexander's hometown] as long as there are neutral officials," Schaefer said. "King said no problem. We just have to work out the numbers, but I have a pretty good feeling about it."
Schaefer said he and King are also discussing a fight between junior middleweight titlist Cornelius "K9" Bundrage and rising contender Erislandy Lara as the televised co-feature.
"I've discussed it with King and with HBO and there is interest from all sides," Schaefer said.
Alexander (21-1, 13 KOs) is coming off a disappointing performance in his 10th-round technical decision loss to Timothy Bradley in their Jan. 29 unification fight. HBO is contractually obligated to a seven-figure comeback fight for Alexander.
Matthysse (28-1, 26 KOs) lost a tight split decision to Zab Judah in a title eliminator on HBO in November, but rebounded to knock out former titlist DeMarcus "Chop Chop" Corley in the eighth round Jan. 21.
"I think it would be a great fight, just the type of fight that Devon wants," said Kevin Cunningham, Alexander's trainer and manager. "He's disappointed with his lack of execution in the Bradley fight and he wants to go right back in the ring with one of the top guys. We feel Matthysse is better than [Marcos] Maidana, but Maidana chose to go and fight Erik Morales instead of Devon. So Matthysse is there and he is one of the top guys. Most guys feel like he won the fight with Zab. He's a very tough opponent. That's what Devon is looking for.
"I've spoken to Don about the fight and told him it's a fight we would like to make. It's up to Don to make a deal."
Bundrage-Lara could face obstacles because Bundrage (30-4, 18 KOs) has an overdue mandatory defense due against Sechew Powell. Also, Lara (15-0, 10 KOs), the former Cuban amateur star who won a 2005 world amateur championship before defecting before the 2008 Olympics, is first scheduled to headline on ESPN2's "Friday Night Fights" March 25 against Carlos Molina (17-4-1, 5 KOs).
In 2005, Molina, who is riding a nine-fight winning streak, hung the long blemish on the record of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., getting a six-round draw many felt he won. Chavez edged him via majority six-round decision in the 2006 rematch.
The March 25 ESPN2 card also will feature Cuban amateur standouts Yudel Johnson (9-0, 6 KOs), who faces Richard Gutierrez (26-5-1, 16 KOs) in the junior middleweight co-feature, and cruiserweight Yunier Dorticos (10-0, 10 KOs) against an opponent to be determined.
It will be the first boxing event at The Cosmopolitan, a new casino in Las Vegas, which intends to be active in the boxing market.
Dan Rafael covers boxing for ESPN.com. Follow him on Twitter.