By Jake Donovan
It goes without saying that Devon Alexander needs to make a statement in his next fight, a hometown (St. Louis) headliner next Saturday against the dangerous Marcos Maidana. The former 140 lb. titlist has struggled in each of his past three fights, and suffered the first knockdown of his career in his last fight, a controversial points win over Lucas Matthysse.
Alexander is well aware of the whispers that have surrounded his career, and has trained accordingly. There is also the whole matter of who will be standing in the opposite corner in their February 25 HBO-televised bout. The threat of facing the tough-as-nails Maidana is all the motivation you need to get busy in the gym.
However, the Argentine might’ve slipped up in providing bulletin board material for his opponent. Recent talks of drug testing demands – and the rumored allegations that have since been cleared up (or attempted to clarify) – left Alexander initially puzzled but now even more determined to shine in his first fight back in eight months.
“I was motivated before, but they’ve motivated me even more,” states Alexander, who makes his welterweight debut in next Saturday’s bout at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis. “I’m in tremendous shape. They can speculate all they want - speculation, rumors or whatever. At the end of the day, it just adds motivation.”
The claim and request from Maidana’s camp earlier this week, more than a month after all terms were agreed upon for their fight, including it being ten rounds and with no title at stake. At no point was drug testing a concern, particularly since Missouri’s policy is not only well-documented but is headed up by Tim Lueckenhoff, who is also in charge of the Association of Boxing Commisisons, to which all stateside commissions report.
At no point in his career has Alexander (22-1, 13KO) ever been accused of using performance-enhancing drugs, which made it quite surprising when Maidana’s advisor, Sebastian Contursi, suggested they heard heavy rumors of possible use on the part of the St. Louis native.
Contursi has since clarified his remarks and has repeated on record that he personally has no suspicions whatsoever of Alexander seeking to beat the system in that regard. The root of his concern stems from the poor job conducted by the Texas Boxing Commission, alleging to forget to arrange for drug testing for Julio Cesar Chavez Jr’s win over Marco Antonio Rubio. The goal here, Team Maidana insists, is to ensure that all ducks are in a row and that it’s not an issue on fight night.
Still, the very thought of anyone linking Alexander’s name to steroids has left the former champion a bit bewildered, though determined more than ever to prove his worth.
“When I first heard the news, when my coach (Kevin Cunningham) first told me, I laughed,” Alexander states. “My whole career has been clean. Then all of a sudden these accusations (of PED’s) - they are ridiculous. I will take any test that they want me to take. I will take it three days before, three days after, whenever they want. I will take any test.”
Ultimately, the only test that matters to both fighters is the one provided once the bell rings. Still, both have worked hard to make a name in this sport, and don’t want to see anything tarnish it.
“It’s ludicrous for someone to even approach me like that, even seeing drugs in the same sentence as Devon Alexander. It (offends me),” Alexander admits. “I don’t like to take any drugs of any kind. I can’t even take Tylenol PM because it makes me dizzy or woozy. My body is clean, I don’t poison it with alcohol, drugs, weed or whatever.
“Take the tests or whatever. You still have to get in the ring.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter at twitter.com/JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments to [email protected].