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WEIGHT ISSUES ARE BEHIND ALEXANDER
Alexander climbed into the welterweight division after struggling to make weight against Kotelnik, WBO junior welterweight beltholder Tim Bradley and Matthysse.
Alexander won a disputed decision over Kotelnik in August of 2010, lost his WBC title following an 11th-round, technical decision loss to Bradley in January of last year, but bounced back with the disputed decision over Matthysse.
"It was really hard to make the weight at 140 those last couple of fights. When I first started out, I was making 140 easily. But as time went on, it kept getting harder and harder, and I wasn't able to make it so well. It began to take its toll on my performances and the way that I fought," said Alexander.
"You know, with me not having the legs for my fights at 140, that was causing me not to be able to be at 100 percent and not be able to follow the game plan and do what I was supposed to do. These extra pounds will definitely give me more of an edge, so, I'm definitely excited to be up at 147."
Maidana has double-fisted power, but Alexander said that he feels much stronger at the higher weight.
"Stylistically, you know, this is going to be an action-packed fight. We already know that Maidana's going to come forward and take my head off. But at 147, I'm going to be throwing with power too. I ain't going to be shoo shining," said Alexander, who believes that the Matthysse fight will help him for Maidana.
"With the Lucas Matthysse fight, I didn't follow the game plan at all, and I was getting hit unnecessarily because my legs weren't in the positions that they should have been in. The movement and the energy weren't there. I was getting hit too much. The Matthysse fight definitely taught me a lot. I'm glad I had that fight before the Maidana fight."
Among the challenges Alexander is looking for are those against fighters such as the winner of the Showtime-televised, Feb. 11 rematch between former WBC welterweight beltholder Victor Ortiz and ex-IBF titlewinner Andre Berto.
"After Devon beats Maidana, because we will be victorious on Feb. 25," said Cunningham. "We would love to fight the winner of Andre Berto and Victor Ortiz."
ADRIEN BRONER MODELS AFTER FLOYD MAYWEATHER JR., MARK 'TOO SHARP' JOHNSON
WBO junior lightweight titleholder Adrien Broner wants to be great, to the point of having modeled his style after WBC welterweight beltholder Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Hall of Fame-bound former two-division titleholder Mark "Too Sharp" Johnson, the first African-American fighter to win a flyweight title.
"Just watching their styles inspires me more to want to do more. Watching Johnson's fights, you know, a lot of people say that we fight just alike. A lot of people say that me and Floyd fight just alike. Just to hear my name being brought up with theirs is bigger than big," said Broner.
"Every time Floyd Mayweather performs, it's an epic night, and I always try to be bigger than the next. Floyd is great, and I take a lot from him, and at the end of the day, I want to accomplish what he has accomplished and more. Just watching him makes me want to go out and punish somebody worse than he did."
A talented boxer-puncher, Broner (22-0, 18 KOs) wants to look spectaculer against challenger Eloy Perez (23-0-2, 7 KOs).
"I know that Eloy is going to come to fight, but as I said before, it only takes one mistake," said Broner. "I'm pretty sure that he's going to make that mistake and the fight won't last very long."
Broner's last fight lasted 1:43 into the third round before he finished off Martin Rodriguez for the WBO's vacant belt, ending the former titleholder's unbeaten streak at 13-0-1, with nine knockouts.
"I know that they feel that they have a point to prove, but I don't have a point to prove," said Broner. "I just do what I do when I come in. No matter what he brings to the table, I'll be ready for it."
Broner also has to his credit a first-round stoppage of Jason Litzau in June, and a unanimous decision over Mexican former titleholder Daniel Ponce de Leon in March.
"I have to stay focused and keep building on my craft. Right now, I'm still learning and I have a lot more to learn," said Broner.
"But watching those guys -- Mark 'Too Sharp' and Floyd Mayweather -- I can still learn things from what they did in their careers. They way that the rolled shots, I can use all of that and move forward."
PEREZ READY FOR OPPORTUNITY TO KICK BRONER'S [BUTT]
Leading up to Friday's press conference, Perez already had endured taunting from Broner.
"Don't go and get no popcorn," Broner has said. "It will end early."
There was little that was different on Friday, particularly during the staredown for photographers.
"I got in his face, let him talk, stared him down. So he started to talk trash and talking bad, you know? What can I do? They're just words," said Perez.
Perez had heard it all before from Broner, reading his insults on the internet. The only difference this time was that Broner's assertions were made face-to-face.
"It was all the same, but because, I'm not getting too excited and talking back, I think that it was starting to eat at him up on the inside. So you know what I think it was? I think that he's scared. Because I'm not giving it back, he doesn't know what to think," said Perez.
"So I think that he's scared s--tless about what's coming up on Feb. 25. But it's always a circus with Adrien. You know?" said Perez. "He's just a trash talker, but I appreciate the fact that he's given me this opportunity to kick his a--."
Perez is coming off his second straight knockout, scored in the sixth round over Ira Terry on Oct. 28. Before that, Perez scored September's impressive second-round stoppage of Daniel Jimenez, who had won three straight bouts before falling to Perez.
Perez has has a win over Dannie Williams (21-1, 17 KOs), who has since won nine consecutive fights, six of them by knockout, since falling in a thrilling 10-round unanimous decision in September of 2009.
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Photos by Mark Buckner, Hogan Photos/Golden Boy Promotions
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org