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May 15, 2013

By Adam Denman

But Devon Alexander doesn't seem too concerned

It has been  more than two years since Devon Alexander's first loss to Timothy Bradley. Since then, he got a controversial win over Lucas Matthysse, a dominant decision over Marcos Maidana, and redemption in the form of the IBF welterweight title in his second performance at that weight. However, Alexander's October 2012 unanimous decision win to gain the IBF welterweight belt against hard-punching Randall Bailey was not a crowd-pleasing fight. On Saturday night at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, NJ, Alexander will make the first defense of his 147-pound title against Lee Purdy from the United Kingdom. There have been multiple postponements in recent months. Originally Alexander was supposed to fight Kell Brook but Brook was injured two different times, and Alexander once, which put the fight to be put on hold three different times.

On a media conference call on Monday, Alexander (24-1 13 KO) said ďas far as fighting Kell Brook, it was a roller coaster and very frustrating. Iím a firm believer in things happen for a reason. Now, I'm fighting Lee Purdy for a reason. He must be a suitable opponent, and he must be the guy that I'm supposed to be fighting at this particular time. I wanted to fight Kell Brook because they considered him to be one of the best at 147. I wanted to beat him. But they put Lee Purdy in front of me, and now, I've got to beat him next. Iím ready to rock and roll. Iím fast, Iím feeling strong it doesnít matter who I fight on May 18th. [As I said,] Purdy is a suitable opponent. I know heís going to come and fight but it doesnít matter because Iím ready.Ē

Purdy (20-3-1, 13 KOs), a 25-year-old lesser known opponent from England has won last four bouts by stoppage, including a ninth-round TKO of veteran Cosme Rivera in March. Alexander said he wants to ďsend a statement to everybody at 147 that Iím a force to be reckoned withĒ and regardless of what Purdy brings to the table that he is a versatile fighter. ďIím a student of the game," said Alexander. "I donít take anybody lightly with. I've seen all different types of styles punchers, boxers, sluggers, whatever you name. I've seen it all, and I'll be ready for whatever he brings.Ē

Since Alexander has moved up in weight his punches seem to have more steam on them and he appears to be a stronger fighter in general. In his first fight at welterweight, Alexander dominanted Maidana, who is known to be one of the hardest punchers in boxing. The fight was completely one-sided and Maidana seemed to be hurt numerous times. Although he hasnít had a knockout since 2010, it seemed that Alexander couldíve ended the fight at any time .

Alexander has watched his fight with Maidana and now realizes he failed to take advantage of Maidana's vulnerability on multiple occasions. "When I went to go back and look at the fight, I did feel like, 'damn, I could have stopped him.' But I was just so anxious to put a hurt on him and I wasn't relaxed enough and just wanted people to know that Devon is back at 147," said Alexander.

At 140 pounds, Devon Alexander criticized himself for going to extreme circumstances to make weight and blamed the weight loss for weak performances at his former weight. At welterweight, Alexander says that he has regained his old form. "I'm better and I'm stronger, and I wasn't as calm as I needed to be for me to see the knockout. But when I went back and I looked at it, I was like, 'Wow, I could have hit him with this shot or hit him with that shot,' and it could have ended the fight. But the Maidana fight is over, I'm constantly learning. I'm going to make up for that."

Purdy feels that his long trip to the United States will not be wasted and the testament to his future is that he will continue to hit Alexander with everything he has until he folds. ďIím here to fight for as long as it takes and I didnít come all this way to America to let the fans down. Iíve watched him a lot, and he holds a lot. If we have a decent ref and doesn't allow the holding, then it will be a good fight."

Purdy feels that he's stronger than Matthysse, Maidana, and Bailey. He feels that will overcome Alexander and finish what those other fighters started. ďIím stronger than them. I punch harder than them, and itís going to make for an exciting fight. When he comes to me and heís going to want to hold. My strength is Iím not going to stop punching until he letís go.

Even though Purdy didnít have amateur experience, he thinks he is still in the same class as Devon if not better. ďThe amateurs is different to the pro game there are 12 rounds and itís not all just about skill. In the pro ring you need heart, you need power, you need your ability to get through a 12 round fight, and I believe I got all that in abundance. Iím in the position to challenge Devon for his title and come May 18th Iím going to show the world what Iím all about.Ē

Even through injury, postponement, and having to switch up training styles for another fighter, Alexander feels he can adapt to anything and this is just the tip of the iceberg for him. ďI believe Iím talented enough to adjust to anything or to any style they put in front of me. We came in with a game plan, and weíre ready." There are better things to come for Devon Alexander, and I assure you of that.

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