LAS VEGAS — Golden Boy Promotions announced the signing of southpaw former WBC/IBF junior welterweight titleholder Devon Alexander on Saturday, a move that coincides with the fighter’s entrance into the welterweight division, which includes Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao among many other talented fighters.
The action by Alexander and his trainer, Kevin Cunningham, who also introduced Drexel Stith as the Chief Operating Officer of Alexander’s new “The Great” Promotions, was made during a press conference at at the MGM Grand, where an HBO Pay Per View televised clash between Mayweather (41-0, 25 KOs) and WBC welterweight beltholder Victor Ortiz (29-2-2, 22 KOs) is taking place on Saturday night.
“I want to thank Kevin, because he works hard for me, and he’s always got my back. He worked hard on this deal, and he got the job done. Kevin saw that Golden Boy was a nice fit. The perfect fit, actually, I’m very much looking forward to fighting under Golden Boy,” said the 24-year-old Alexander (22-1, 13 KOs), of St. Louis, Mo.
“I want to thank [Golden Boy Promotions CEO] Richard [Schaefer] for seeing the talent in me, and knowing that I’ll be back on top sooner rather than later. I love boxing, I love the contact, and I love being on top. I hate losing.”
In January, Alexander lost his WBC belt by 11th-round technical decision to WBO and WBC junior welterweight titleholder Tim Bradley (27-0, 11 KOs). He bounced back with last month’s narrow 10-round decision win over hard-hitting Lucas Matthysse (28-2, 26 KOs).
Up to this point, Alexander had been promoted by Don King, but their contract expired, leading to today’s announcement of joining Golden Boy.
“I really believe that Devon has a tremendous future at 147. We saw that with Victor Ortiz as well, when he moved from 140 to 147. I think that that was a good move, and you see a more aggressive Victor Ortiz as well,” said Schaefer.
“I think that you will see that with Devon. I think that he can become a world champion at 147, making him a two-weight class world champion. We have big, big plans for him. I will go to work next week to start a deal with the networks for a fight as soon as possible.”
A popular attraction in his native St. Louis, Alexander’s bouts routinely pack local arenas.
“I know that Richard has the types of fighters that will put me in the position to win a championship, and I’m ready to make that transition. I have a really good feeling about this,” said Alexander, who said that he weighed 158 pounds.
“They’re at the top of the game right now, and I think that I made the right choice. I’m ready to get it on. If they wanted to get me a fight this week, that would be good too. I’m in great shape and I’m ready to go.”
“When you have two parties which want to work together, that’s what usually happens when you want to get something done. That’s what Kevin Cunningham and Devon Alexander wanted,” said Schaefer.
“They wanted to be with Golden Boy, and we wanted them to be with us, so we had maybe three, four contracts drafted and that was it. You’re talking about a few weeks.”
“My idea is to approach both HBO and Showtime and to see if there is an interest in actually putting together a tournament within the 140, and, 147-pound weight classes. Because this is a weight class with a deep pool of names that would make very compelling stories,” said Schaefer.
“There are some new faces who haven’t been exposed yet, and I think that we need to tell their stories and I can very well imagine that HBO and Showtime would be interested in putting some sort of tournament together.”
Potential names for the tournament were comprised of IBF welterweight titleholder Andre Berto (27-0, 22 KOs), hard-hitting Argentine junior welterweights Mattthysse and Marcos Maidana (30-2, 27 KOs), or, even five-belt, three-division titlewinner Robert Guerrero (29-1-1, 18 KOs).
“You could do Matthysse versus Maidana, and the winner of a Berto and Alexander fights the winner of Matthysse-Maidana, I mean, that’s an example. Or you do Maidana against Alexander, or, you do Devon against Robert ‘The Ghost’ Guerrero,” said Schaefer.
“If you put Devon in against Robert Guerrero, or if you put Devon against an Andre Berto, or you put Devon in against a Maidana, I have to tell you that there can only be exciting fights. There’s a lot of potential fights. So many potential fights which I would like to see.”
OTHER POTENTIAL ACTION FOR ALEXANDER
“I want to have conversations now with HBO and Showtime to see what we can get going. Devon said that he would be ready as early as December, so we’ll see,” said Schaefer.
“I don’t think that a title fight would work, because I don’t think that there are any dates out there right now for December. At the end of the year, it’s always difficult for the networks to have the necessary budgets.”
Other potential targets for Alexander outside of the tournament might be Berto, who was dethroned by Ortiz in April as WBC titleholder.
Schaefer said that he would also consider options off of Saturday night’s clash featuring Ortiz and Mayweather.
“We do want to do a title fight with Devon. Am I going to be talking to [promoter] Lou DiBella and [adviser] Al Haymon about an Andre Berto fight? Absolutely. I’m thinking maybe early next year? Right now Devon against Berto would definitely be a fight that I think that the networks would be interested in, and the fans would be interested in,” said Schaefer.
“Or we have to see as well what happens tonight with Ortiz and Mayweather. If Mayweather wins, we’ll have to see what’s going to be next for him, and if Ortiz would lose, a fight between Victor and Devon could be attractive as well. I think that with Devon being with Golden Boy, there are opportunities for a lot of good fights and I think that he can be one of the major players at 147 within the Golden Boy stable.”
WHAT ABOUT KHAN?
Schaefer lightly mentioned WBA and IBF junior welterweight beltholder Amir Khan (26-1, 18 KOs), but the English-born fighter is more likely to compete outside of the tournament.
Khan said that he plans to rise into the welterweight ranks should he get beyond a Dec. 10 defense against Lamont Peterson (29-1-1, 15 KOs).
Another option could be Bradley, who was originally scheduled to face Khan on July 23 before opting out.
“Maybe Amir’s going to go and fight Morales sometime in March if Morales wins, and after that, move up to 147. That could happen. You look at the names that you have at 147, there are a lot of exciting fights that we could make,” said Schaefer.
“We have to see what happens with Amir in December, and what happens tonight with Morales, see how he looks, and how he feels, and then, we’ll make plans,” said Schaefer.
“Bradley has to sort through his promotional issues, and then, once he’s a free agent, then he can see what he wants to do.”
Bradley is now involved in a lawsuit with his co-promoters, Gary Shaw and Ken Thompson of Thompson Boxing Promotions.
Top Rank Inc. CEO Bob Arum said that when the litigation is complete, he will approach Bradley and his manager, Cameron Dunkin, to discuss options, which could include being place on the undercard of the Nov. 12 Pacquiao-Juan Manuel Marquez fight.
‘DEVON DOESN’T HAVE THE BALLS TO FACE ME’
Schaefer acknowledged Malignaggi, who attended the press conference, and, with whom Alexander had engaged in an online war of words.
Also promoted by Golden Boy Promotions, the 30-year-old Malignaggi, of Brooklyn, has won two straight welterweight bouts, a sixth-round knockout of Michael Lozada in December and 10-round unanimous decision over Jose Miguel Cotto in April.
Malignaggi will next face 30-year-old Orlando Lora (28-1-1, 19 KOs) Oct. 15 on the undercard of an HBO Pay Per View main event featuring RING and WBC light heavyweight titleholder Bernard Hopkins (52-5-2, 32 KOs) and Chad Dawson (30-1, 17 KOs).
“Stylistically, we’re both boxers. I will tell you that I’ve never lost to a southpaw in my life. I’ve always beaten them, but I’ve beaten every southpaw that I’ve fought,” said Malignaggi.
“He’s shorter than me, and any time I box somebody who is shorter than me, they’re always at a disadvantage. He doesn’t have the balls to come and to make it a fight with me. He didn’t step up when he needed to against [Andriy] Kotelnik, Bradley and Matthysse with the fight hanging in the balance, so I don’t think that Devon has the balls to take any chances with me.”
HBO, said Alexander, does not have any interest in an Alexander-Malignaggi fight.
“I don’t think that HBO would be interested in it, but I know that Paulie’s been talking a lot of trash, and all of that,” said Alexander.
“But lip doesn’t get you paid, and lip doesn’t win fights. I’m on top of my game, he’s on the downslide of his game, so I can’t even worry about that.”
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com