By Lem Satterfield
Argentinian junior welterweight contender Lucas Matthysse has vowed to score his sixth knockout in his past seven fights when he meets southpaw, former WBC titlist Devon Alexander at Family Arena, Saint Charles, Mo., before what is expected to be a crowd partisan to Alexander on June 25.
"I'm not worried at all [about the judges,] because it's not going to go the distance. I've trained for a knockout, and that's what's going to happen," said the 28-year-old Matthysse.
"I'm not worried about a decision and I can't let it get to a decision," said Matthysse. "A knockout is what I've been working for. I don't like to predict rounds, I'm just going to go in there and do my job."
In his last bout in January, Matthysse (28-1, 26 knockouts) scored eight knockdowns on the way to an eighth-round stoppage of 37-year-old southpaw, former world titlist DeMarcus Corley (37-18-1, 22 KOs) in front of his hometown fans at the Polideportivo Vicente Polimeni in Mendoza, Argentina.
Matthysse rebounded from November's disputed, 12-round, split-decision loss to southpaw, 33-year-old, former three-time titlist Zab Judah (41-6, 28 KOs), whom Mattysse floored in the 10th round.
In spite of his prediction, Matthysse, nevertheless, believes that he is entering the most difficult bout of his career opposite the 24-year-old Alexander (21-1, 13 KOs).
"I learned a lot from that fight with Zab Judah, but this is going to be a different kind of fight. Devon's a lot better fighter, he's a better boxer and he throws a lot more punches," said Matthysse.
"Devon is obviously going to be the best southpaw that I've ever faced," said Matthysse. "If it does happen to go the distance, I trust in the judges and the referee and that everything is going to be fine and that it's not going to be a hometown decision."
To that end, Matthysse has spent most of his preparation 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.
"I've been in Oxnard for two months, and I'm training out of Maravilla Martinez's training camp in Oxnard. This is my second time training here. The first time that I came over I spent three weeks here before the Zab Judah fight. I felt that if I would have been a little longer it would have been better," said Matthysse.
"So this time, I've been out here for two months, and the preparation has been great, and Maravilla's great," said Matthysse. "I've had the opportunity to train with him and spar with him a few times, and he's one of the top southpaws in the game right now, so that's helped my preparation. I think that it's going to prepare me for this fight."
Alexander said that being a left-hander is just about the only thing that he shares in commonn with Judah, vowing that Matthysse will be in for a much more difficult fight.
"You know, I think that Zab is older and his legs are pretty much gone in the 140-pound division, so he's [Mattysse] not going to get the same thing that he got from Zab from me," said Alexander of Judah, a New York native who now lives in Las Vegas.
"I'm fresher and I'm hungrier than Zab Judah, and I'm going to be on him throwing punches all night," said Alexander. "He's definitely not going to get what he got from Zab when he's in there against me."
But Alexander's trainer, Kevin Cunningham, still has a great deal of respect for Matthysse, who had scored four straight knockouts before losing to Judah.
"I call him Lucas 'The Beast' Matthysse, because I think that he's a beast, and he's got the highest knockout percentage in the junior welterweight division," said Cunningham.
"So that makes him the biggest puncher in the division," said Cunningham. "We know exactly what the challenge is that we have in front of us, and this is exactly what we want."
Alexander is attempting to rebound from January's loss to 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.
"The way we see it, this fight is a lot more dangerous than the Tim Bradley fight. So Devon is going to have to be on his game and he's going to be prepare and he's going to be focused," said Cunningham.
"These are the type of fights that you take if you want to claim to be the best in your division," said Cunningham. "These are the types of fights that you have to step up and take on."
Judah, who has since earned the IBF junior welterweight belt with a March, seventh-round stoppage of Kaizer Mabuza, had warned that Mattysse was capable of disposing of Corley, who, in August of 2010, had lost a toe-toe, attle with then, WBA interim junior welterweight titlist Marcos Rene Maidana (30-2, 27 KOs) after rising from an eighth-round knockdown.
"A lot of people think that Marcos Rene Maidana is the toughest guy in the division, but I think that Lucas Matthysse is the toughest guy in the division," said Cunningham.
"Lucas Matthysse has the punch of Maidana, but he's got a better skill set than Maidana," said Cunningham. "So that makes him, to me, the most dangerous guy in the division, and that who we're going to be dealing with on June 25."
In December, Maidana rose from a first-round knockdown during a unanimous decision loss to England's WBA king Amir Khan (25-1, 17 KOs), whom Judah faces on July 23.
Nicknamed "Chop Chop," Corley has lost in big fights to Judah and former world champions, Floyd Mayweather, and, Miguel Cotto, respectively, by split-decision, unanimous decision, and, fifth-round knockout in July of 2003, May of 2004, and, February of 2005.
One bout after being dethroned by Judah, Corley lost to Mayweather -- but not before wobbling the undefeated fighter with a hard, overhand right in the fourth round.
"Devon fought Chop Chop when Devon was 19 years old and had only 12 fights, so you're talking about Chop-Chop Corley, who is pretty much chopped liver at this point," said Cunningham, referring to Alexander's unanimous decision over Corley in January of 2008.
"But this guy Matthysse is a solid guy and a strong guy. Like I said, he's got a good skill set and he's probably the toughest guy in the division right now," said Cunningham. "We're not looking for a soft touch or an easy touch.
But that's not what we're looking to do. So we're out to prove that we're the best, and we're going to beat the best."
While he doesn't necessarily call himself, "The best," the man Cunningham calls, "The Beast" said that he is ready to take his place among them.
"You know that there are a lot of great fighters in this division, like Maidana, Khan, Judah and Alexander," said Matthysse. "Obviously, my main thing is that I want to be included. I want to be in the mix and this is my opportunity and I'm happy to be here."