Photos by Sumio Yamada
DEVON ALEXANDER W10 MARCOS MAIDANA
Devon Alexander promised that he would be a different fighter with added poundage at welterweight and he lived up to his words by pounding out a unanimous 10-round decision over Marcos Maidana on Saturday night. As HBO’s Max Kellerman commented, no one has beaten Maidana this convincingly.
Alexander boxed beautifully, looked strong at 147 pounds and simply would not allow Maidana to get into the fight. Alexander’s zest for combat was questioned after he seemingly bailed out of the fight against Timothy Bradley, but on Saturday night he showed mental toughness.
Maidana had been expected to put heavy pressure on Alexander and bully him, but instead Alexander backed up Maidana, hurt him to the body and even looked the puncher in the fight. Indeed, there were a couple of moments when Maidana seemed on the brink of giving up although he pulled himself together and came back slugging.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say that Alexander made the fight look easy, but he was dominant in every department. While Alexander was expected to have the advantage in speed and boxing skill over Maidana I don’t think that very many people would have expected him to outpunch and even manhandle the Argentinean banger, but he did.
Alexander wiped away the blood that trickled from the cut over his right eye and boxed the perfect fight, at times using movement, at other times taking the fight to Maidana and punching with real authority from his southpaw stance. Most people thought that the 10-round distance would be a disadvantage for Maidana, who closed out the fights strongly against Amir Khan and Erik Morales, but it was Alexander, cheered on by the St. Louis hometown crowd, who was fresher and fiercer in the home straight. Maidana, not Alexander, was the fighter who was glad to hear the final bell.
On the same show, Adrien Broner convinced me that he is a potential superstar in the lighter weight divisions with his crushing fourth-round win over Eloy Perez. The 22-year-old from Cincinnati was quick and deadly, and with his rapid reflexes and pullback, shoulder-turn defence, he is difficult to hit with clean shots. Perez, a fighter with decent boxing ability, didn’t stand a chance.
I think that some of us questioned Alexander’s fighting instincts after his unimpressive points win over the smaller veteran Daniel Ponce De Leon, but his explosive knockout wins over Jason Litzau, Vicente Martin Rodriguez and now Perez were highly impressive displays of speed, power and precision.
Sometimes we have reservations about a rising boxer based on one lacklustre showing. For instance, the then-Cassius Clay had a tougher-than-expected time against former light-heavyweight Doug Jones, Joe Louis was made to look ordinary by Bob Pastor, Rocky Marciano looked clumsy and beatable in his 10-rounder against Roland La Starza, while some contemporary observers thought that Mike Tyson was exposed by James “Quick” Tillis. I’m not putting Broner in the same category as great champions of the past, but it isn’t wise to judge a boxer based on one disappointing performance. Broner’s posturing, preening and the Gorgeous George-type hair-brushing routine isn’t going to please everyone, but the young man has the “special” look, and he’s a monster at 130 pounds.
The heavyweight fight on EPIX between Alexander Povetkin and Marco Huck was a gruelling affair, with Povetkin, looking on the brink of exhaustion, hanging on to keep his title on an unpopular, majority decision.
Huck, right eye cut and swollen on top, a welt under his left eye, looked the worse for wear but fought Povetkin to a standstill. I knew that Povetkin was hittable but even so I was surprised at how many left jabs and right hands he absorbed. Huck, moving up from cruiserweight, looked the better puncher and seemed to be just as strong as the heavier Russian boxer, but Povetkin was better at putting punches together and rallied whenever Huck rested. Overall, Povetkin was a shade more consistent — Huck fights in explosive bursts and can be outhustled in between the big barrages.
I watched the fight twice — once with a British commentary, once with a U.S. one — and I have to hold my hands up and say I have no clear idea who won, although probably, on balance, Povetkin deserved the decision — he was the more skilled fighter and his combinations had the narrow edge over Huck’s heavier hits. One thing that was very clear, though, was that Teddy Atlas, who trained Povetkin for a couple of years, was absolutely correct in advising Povetkin’s people not to take the proposed match against Wladimir Klitschko. To borrow the Clint Eastwood movie line, Atlas knew Povetkin’s limitations.