By Chris LaBate
Family Arena, St. Charles, MO. - In a very important junior welterweight bout, Devon Alexander (22-1, 13KOs) won a close ten round split decision over Lucas Matthysse (28-2, 26KOs). The scores were 96-93 for Alexander, 96-93 for Matthysse, and 95-94 for Alexander.
The first three rounds were close. Alexander was using quick punches and rapid movement, while Matthysse pressed the action and was looking to land big combinations. At the start of the fouth round, Alexander was dropped for the first time in his career from a counter hook. He seemed to have a clear head once he got up and went back to boxing Matthysse for the rest of the round.
Alexander came back in the fifth with a close boxing workrate. Matthysse was busy as well and stayed on pace with Alexander. After Alexander boxed very well in the sixth, Matthysee came back in the seventh to batter Alexander with good punches to the head and body. In the eight, Matthysse continued to punish Alexander with punches to the head and body. Alexander seemed to be very tired and unable to get off as Matthysse was able to land his shots on a more consistent basis. Alexander, possibly saving some energy, was standing and trading but not getting the better of those exchanges.
A close ninth round, Alexander was on his toes, sticking and moving as Matthysse chased and was looking for something big to land. Instead, Alexander was landing flush shots to the head. Matthysse looked puzzled by Alexander's sudden burst of energy. In the tenth, Alexander was stunned in the first few seconds and came back with a combination of punches. Both were tired, with Matthysse pressing forward and Alexander moving and holding, but throwing a few punches in spurts.
Both boxers will return to the HBO airwaves in the near future. Alexander showed heart by hanging in there and weathering the heavy fire of Matthysse's punches. Matthysse, with his solid chin and knockout power, will always be a welcome addition to any televised boxing program, but fighters in the junior welterweight division won't be lining up to face him.