By Lem Satterfield
Over the course of a career that began in June of 2004, Argentinian junior welterweight Lucas Matthysse has knocked out six of the seven southpaw fighters he has faced, and lost a disputed, 12-round split-decision to the other -- that being in November opposite four-time titlist and current IBF champion Zab Judah.
On June 25, the 28-year-old Matthysse will pursue his sixth knockout in his past seven fights against yet another left-hander, but this one is 24-year-old former WBC titlist Devon Alexander, a man who still is stinging five months after having suffered the first defeat of his professional career.
Alexander (21-1, 13 knockouts) is looking to bounce back from January's setback against WBO champ, Timothy Bradley (27-0, 11 KOs), a bout that went to the cards for an 11th-round decision after accidental butt caused two, deep cuts over Alexander's eyes.
Alexander will meet Matthysse (28-1, 26 KOs) at Family Arena, Saint Charles, Mo., before what is expected to be a crowd that favors the St. Louis, Mo., native.
"I'm going to look spectacular against Matthysse. Like I have said, I've learned a lot from losing to Tim Bradley. I definitely want to beat him, and beat him convincingly and not just go in there and say, 'Oh, it was an okay fight,'" said Alexander, who was dethroned as WBC champ by Bradley.
"I want to go in there and put my mark down and be able to say, 'Okay, I messed up with the Tim Bradley fight," said Alexander. "After this fight with Matthysse, I want to be able to say I'm back on top and I'm still one of the best 140 pounders in the division."
A St. Louis native, Alexander blamed hometown distractions for a sub-par performance during his last fight in Missouri -- August's disupted unanimous decision over Ukrainian former titlist Andriy Kotelnik (31-4-1, 13 KOs).
"It's going to be good to get back into the ring in my hometown. Me and my coach are training 120 percent to stay focused when we get there," said Alexander.
"We're going to put on a spectacular performance for the hometown fans when we get there because this fight means everything," said Alexander. "You just have to stay focused no matter how high or low the stakes are. You've got to stay focused and continue to follow the game plan. That's what I've learned."
Alexander doesn't expect to have it easy against Matthysse, who scored scored eight knockdowns on the way to January's eighth-round stoppage of 37-year-old southpaw, former world titlist DeMarcus Corley (37-18-1, 22 KOs) in Matthysse's native Argentina.
"We're preparing for his power, and we're definitely going to be prepared to go 12, hard rounds. We know what we've got in front of us, and I'm confident in my team that we've got a perfect game plan for Lucas Matthysse," said Alexander.
"Whoever saw the fight against Tim Bradley, they're like, 'Tim Bradley wasn't better than you that night.' It was all about me and what I didn't do. So that's why we're taking on a tough guy like Lucas Matthysse," said Alexander. "That fight with Bradley didn't take anything out of me. It only motivated me to get right back in there with the best and that's why we're taking on Mattysse. You guys are going to see why we took the fight with one of the toughest guys in the division."
In defeating Corley, Matthysse rebounded from the loss to the 33-year-old Judah (41-6, 28 KOs), whom Mattysse floored in the 10th round.
"I learned a lot from that fight with Zab Judah, but this is going to be a different kind of fight," said Matthysse. "Devon's a lot better fighter, he's a better boxer and he throws a lot more punches. Devon is obviously going to be the best southpaw that I've ever faced."
But Alexander's trainer, Kevin Cunningham, feels much the same about Matthysse, whose preparation has included training in Oxnard, Calif., alongside fellow Argentian Sergio Martinez (47-2-2, 26 KOs), who is the WBC's "Emeritus" middleweight champion.
Nicknamed "Maravilla," or, "Marvelous," Martinez is also a southpaw who offered his services to Matthysse prior to the Judah fight.
But Cunningham didn't spend the past nearly two months training Alexander at an elevation of 7,500 feet in the mountains of Monument, Colo., about 20 minutes North of Colorado Springs to return home and continue a losing streak.
"We won't come up short on June 25, and I believe that this fight is going to be a lot tougher fight than the Tim Bradley fight. If I thought that Devon wasn't the real deal and that he wasn't exactly who we say that he is, then I would have taken a few steps back and gone and tried to find a soft touch to start over again," said Cunningham.
"Devon is clearly one of the best fighters in the 140-pound division, and there's no need to go and look for a soft opponent. If you look at the Bradley fight, that fight was a close fight," said Cunningham. "And Devon wasn't performing up to his capabilities against the No. 1 guy in the division. So there was no reason to take a step back. That's why we're taking on one of the toughest guys in the division, and we'll do our business on June 25, and Devon will perform the way that he's capable of performing."