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Alexander: I'll Break Down & Stop Ayala; I'm Ready to Step Up!

By Keith Idec

Elvin Ayala will be by far Vaughn Alexander’s best opponent since Alexander’s comeback began last year.

Ayala, 36, is a tested veteran who upset then-unbeaten super middleweight contender Ronald Gavril 2½ years ago and went the distance with hard-hitting middleweight contender Sergiy Derevyanchenko in his following fight. Two fights ago, Ayala stopped contender Marcos Reyes in the seventh round of their scheduled 10-rounder.

Alexander isn’t the least bit concerned. The emerging middleweight told BoxingScene.com that he’ll knock out Ayala in their scheduled 10-round main event Thursday night at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut.

alexander-ayala (3)

“I’m not worried about anything that this guy brings or anybody that he’s fought or whatever level he’s been on,” Alexander said. “It’s about me going in there and taking care of business – period. It ain’t about his past opponents, who he fought before me. It’s about me and him. I’m just gonna go in there and break this guy down. Whether it’s early, mid or late, it’s gonna happen.”

Three of Ayala’s nine losses have come by knockout.

Former IBF middleweight champion David Lemieux and contender Curtis Stevens both knocked him out in the first round. Ex-IBF middleweight and WBO super middleweight champion Arthur Abraham knocked out Ayala in the 12th round.

 The 31-year-old Alexander is 5-0, including three knockouts, since resuming his career a year ago. The St. Louis native spent nearly 10½ years in a Missouri prison on armed robbery and assault convictions, and is trying his best to make up for lost time.

“Every fight I get better and better and better, and back acclimated to my raw form,” said Alexander, who’s promoted by Main Events. “So it’s still a work in progress for me, but I’m happy with the results I’m getting. Because I’m my own worst critic, and I know myself and I know when I’m ready and I know what I’m capable of when I’m in that raw form. So I’m almost there. But competition like this guy, I respect this man for getting in the ring, but like I said, that’s as far as it goes when I’m faced with someone.”

Alexander stopped Mexico’s Fabiano Pena (15-8-1, 11 KOs) after the fourth round of his last fight. Alexander’s body work fractured one of Pena’s ribs in that June 17 bout on the Andre Ward-Sergey Kovalev undercard at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas.

If he defeats Ayala (29-9-1, 13 KOs) and leaves the ring unscathed, Alexander (10-0, 7 KOs) hopes to fight once more before the end of this year. Alexander, an older brother of former welterweight champion Devon Alexander, hopes to eventually become the second member of his family to win a world title.

“In 2018, I’m looking for nothing but good things, nothing but explosive things to happen for me in my career,” Alexander said. “I’m just ready to step up. I’m ready for whoever. Trust me, I’m fittin’ to be at the top of 160 pounds, or 160 to 168. It makes no difference if it’s 160 or 168. I’m ready to take care of business. I’m flexible. That’s just how I am. If the opportunity comes where I can get a good fight at 168, man, that’s what I wanna do. If better competition comes at 160, then that’s what it is. But I’m gonna play it by ear and whatever comes available, I’m gonna take care of it.”

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.

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