By Lem Satterfield
The promoter of southpaw four-time titlist and current IBF junior welterweight champion Zab Judah believes that southpaw ex-belt-holder, Devon Alexander, will "have his hands full" on Saturday night opposite Argentinian junior welterweight Lucas Matthysse.
Over the course of a career that began in June of 2004, Matthysse (28-1, 26 knockouts) of Argentina has stopped 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 Judah (41-6, 28 KOs), whom Mattysse floored in the 10th round.
"If Devon Alexander can beat Lucas Matthysse, I will be very impressed. That would make Devon Alexander a very good fighter. Mattysses is very talented. I think that he's the hardest puncheer in the division. I think that he's young and strong," said Kathy Duva of Main Events.
"Matthysse's inexperience certainly played a role in his fight with Zab Judah," said Duva. "Had he been a more experienced fighter, he would have been more dangerous. I think that he's learned a lot in the Judah fight and that he's that much better."
On Saturday night, the 28-year-old Matthysse will pursue his sixth knockout in his past seven fights against yet another left-hander, but this one is the 24-year-old former WBC titlist Alexander (21-1, 13 KOs), a man who still is stinging five months after having suffered the first defeat of his professional career.
"I think that Devon Alexander's going to have his hands full. But if Devon has learned from having watched Zab against Lucas Matthysse, then it's going to be a terrific fight," said Duva. "It was a terrific fight between Zab and Matthysse. I don't know what to expect. To me, this is a very interesting fight."
Alexander 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.
"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 Matthysse, who will meet Alexander at Family Arena, Saint Charles, Mo., before what is expected to be a crowd that favors the St. Louis, Mo., native.
"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 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.
In victory, Matthysse rebounded from November's disputed, 12-round, split-decision loss to the 33-year-old Judah.
"The fact is that Zab Judah is among the most talented fighters in the world today. A lot of young fighters run into a problem when they meet a fighter like Zab for the first time in their prime, and that's what happened with Lucas Mattyhsse," said Duva.
"When you get in there against your first real fighter in his prime, that's the test. And that's the test that Matthysse was not able to pass," said Duva. "But that doesn't mean that he's not going to bet better. In the future, maybe as early as Saturday, we might find out how much better Lucas Matthysse is and how much more he wants it."
In spite of his prediction, Matthysse, nevertheless, believes that he is entering the most difficult bout of his career opposite Alexander, who has vowed "to look spectacular" against Matthysse."
"Like I have said, I've learned a lot from losing to Tim Bradley. I definitely want to beat Matthysse, and beat him convincingly," said Alexander, who was dethroned as WBC champ by Bradley. "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."