By Lem Satterfield
On Saturday night, southpaw former WBC junior welterweight king Devon Alexander will meet hard-punching Argentinian Lucas Matthysse in what should be a milestone win for either fighter.
Although he was dethroned last month as WBC titlist by WBO champion Tim Bradley (27-0, 11 knockouts), the 24-year-old Alexander (21-1, 13 knockouts) is jumping right into a tough clash with the knockout artist Matthysse (28-1, 26 KOs), who scored eight knockdowns on the way to January's eighth-round stoppage of 36-year-old southpaw, former world titlist DeMarcus Corley (37-16-1, 22 KOs).
In victory over Corley, Matthysse rebounded from November's disputed, 12-round, split-decision loss to southpaw former three-time titlist Zab Judah (40-6, 27 KOs), whom Mattysse floored in the 10th round.
Judah's victory in the IBF eliminator ended a run of four straight knockout wins by Matthysse, who, more than a year go in February, stopped former world titlist Vivian Harris (29-5-1, 19 KOs) in the fourth round.
Alexander believes that he is the best southpaw that Matthysse will have faced over a career that includes his having gone 6-1, with six knockouts against left-handers.
BoxingScene.com sought the opinions of 12 of the sport's insiders concerning their thoughts about which of the two fighters will emerge victorious.
Below are there responses.
Bob Canobbio, CompuBoxOnline.com
Devon Alexander W 12 Lucas Matthysse: Devon Alexander's jab is the key in this fight vs. the power punching Lucas Matthysse, who will be fighting a southpaw for the third consecutive fight.
Alexander landed just 18 percent of his jabs in his loss to Tim Bradley. Matthysse waited too long to turn up the heat in his split decision loss to Zab Judah in November.
Judah landed 46 percent his power shots vs. the Argentinian. Alexander has better wheels than Judah at this point in time and will cruise to a unanimous decision win.
Mike Coppinger, freelance writer USA Today, Ring Magazine, BoxingScene.com - L ucas Matthysse late-round TKO Devon Alexander: In my opinion, Devon Alexander is actually riding a two bout losing streak, as I thought Andriy Kotelnik thoroughly outpointed him in their August 2010 bout. Alexander showed a lack of fighting spirit in his January encounter with Tim Bradley, quitting due to his "eyes burning". Whatever the case may be, I see Alexander as an athletic boxer, a volume puncher who slaps, and not much more.
On the flip side, I think Lucas Matthysse is underrated. The Argentine can punch like a mule, as evidenced by his eight knockdown performance against DeMarcus "Chop Chop" Corley earlier this year. In Matthysse's only significant bout, he brought the rejuvenated Zab Judah to the brink, dropping him late in the bout before dropping a razor-thin decision.
I see Matthysse bringing the fight to Alexander from the onset, applying constant pressure and attempting to bully the St. Louis native to the ropes, as he rips body shots. Alexander will look to box from the outside and keep Matthysse at the end of his jab. In the end, I see Matthysse's punching power and pressure style wilting Alexander, as Matthysse will stop him in the late rounds.
Steve Farhood, Showtime Boxing Analyst - Devon Alexander W 12 Lucas Matthysse: This is a career-altering fight for Devon Alexander. He has to shine because of how unimpressive he looked against Tim Bradley.
He'll have hometown advantage, and that could be a big factor against the Argentine. Lucas Matthysse will need a kayo to win. I say he doesn't get it. Alexander boxes and counterpunches his way to a win on points.
Doug Fischer, Ring TV.com - Lucas Matthysse late-round KO over Devon Alexander: I like Lucas Matthysse by late stoppage. Matthysse might be trailing on the official scorecards when he halts Devon Alexander.
But he'll use the early rounds to wear down the faster boxer with a body attack and sneaky shots to the St. Louis native's arms and shoulders.
A counter right-left hook combo should end matters before the championship rounds.
Norm Frauenheim, 15rounds.com - Devon Alexander UD 12 Lucas Matthysse: Devonn Alexander by unanimous decision. Alexander was called 'The Great,' before he even had a chance to show he was any good.
The expectations, if not great, are still there. Alexander is back in a familiar place. He has been at his best when he has much to prove. That’s his life story.
Against Lucas Matthysse, Alexander faces doubts gathered in the wake of a problematic victory over Andreas Kotelnik and the meltdown loss to Timothy Bradley. Matthysse is powerful enough, rough enough, to threaten Alexander’s career.
Perilous moments will be there. In the end, however, Alexander will address the peril with the speed and skill that will begin to recapture some lost promise.
Lee Harris, In The Corner Boxing Radio - Devon Alexander UD 12 Lucas Matthysse: Both of these fighters have a lot on the line. Devon Alexander, though, has a little more to lose. Alexander is trying to show the boxing world that his fight against Tim Bradley was the result of a bad night, and not indicative of a lack of talent or heart.
In terms of skills, Alexander is a little faster and definitely more athletic, but the power edge goes to Lucas Matthysse. From what we've seen, both fighters can take a good punch and have solid conditioning.
Both are fairly accurate. I see a highly competitive fight with each man having his share of moments. It should be a tight affair through eight rounds.
But in the end, I think the extra motivation for Alexander, that desire to prove folks wrong, and the fact that he is fighting at home will push him to really close hard and win a unanimous decision.
Kevin Iole, Yahoo! Sports - Devon Alexander W 12 Lucas Matthysse: I think Devon Alexander takes this bout with some nifty boxing skills. Lucas Matthysse is a tough guy, as he proved against Zab Judah, and has the power to make this interesting.
But if Alexander is on point, as I expect him to be coming off a loss and fighting in front of the home crowd, he'll box Matthysse's ears off. I believe Alexander wins a very solid unanimous decision victory.
Steve Kim, MaxBoxing.com - Devon Alexander W 12 Lucas Matthysse: In what is a tough fight, I think the home canvas advantage plays a role in Alexander winning a decision that might be somewhat controversial.
I look for Alexander to really box and use the ring throughout the night against the heavy-handed Argentine banger, Lucas Matthysse.
Kieran Mulvaney, ESPN Boxing and Reuters - Devon Alexander UD 12 Lucas Matthysse: It's a very dangerous fight for Devon Alexander, who looked less than stellar two fights ago, and hugely disappointing in his last outing.
As he showed against Zab Judah, Lucas Matthysse is tough and relentless, and it's beginning to look as if that kind of fighter may be Alexander's Achilles heel.
If Alexander loses this, or stinks up the joint again, you have to figure he's done as a premium cable main event fighter, at least for a while.
As a result I think he's going to dig deep and find what he needs to resuscitate his career. I see him working from the outside, never allowing Matthyse to get set. I see him turning his opponent.
I see him raking him from the outside, tying him up whenever he comes in too close. It won't always be pretty, but it will be effective and will result in him winding up a surprisingly wide decision winner.
Michael Rosenthal, Ring TV.com - Lucas Mattysse KO 10 Devon Alexander: Tough one to call. I was a big fan of Devon Alexander until he struggled to beat Andreas Kotelnik and lost to Tim Bradley, although he gave a decent performance in the latter fight.
Now I'm luke warm on him. I think Lucas Matthysse would've beaten Zab Judah had he stepped on the gas earlier in their fight. Matthysse is a good boxer with tremendous power who is tougher than Alexander.
Plus, I hear he looks terrific in training camp. Matthysse will stop Alexander in the 10th round.
Joseph Santoliquito, Ring Magazine Editor - Devon Alexander KO 8 Lucas Matthysse: Lucas Matthysse may have some punching power, but Devon Alexander has something more powerful--his career dangling on the line.
Another loss sets Alexander back, while a victory propels Matthysse to new heights. Matthysse gave Zab Judah all he could handle.
But Alexander may have a little more for him, and will want to make amends for his display against Tim Bradley.
Don Steinberg, Philadelphia Inquirer/Wall Street Journal - Devon Alexander W 12 Lucas Matthysse: Lucas Matthysse can hit his shots, but Devon Alexander is still playing above the rim, regardless of his loss to Timothy Bradley in January.
Even if he gets caught here and there, I have to think Alexander will push past it this time and win handily by decision.
The experts have chosen Devon Alexander to defeat Lucas Matthysse by the margin of 9-3.