The trainer of IBF welterweight titleholder Devon Alexander says the southpaw is focused on recovering from a biceps injury that forced a second postponement to his defense against Englishman Kell Brook.
Trainer Kevin Cunningham did not directly address the notion of a clash with WBC counterpart Floyd Mayweather Jr., who tweeted on Tuesday that negotiations are ongoing for a May 4 bout against Alexander.
In addition, an IBF official has informed RingTV.com that even if Alexander (24-1, 13 knockouts) had elected to face Mayweather (43-0, 26 KOs) over his mandatory Brook (29-0, 19 KOs), their fight would not be approved as a defense of Alexander’s IBF belt because of his contractual obligation to face the British fighter.
“We have not received any requests or information on this from either camp,” said IBF public relations director Jeanette Salazar. “Because Alexander is under contract to fight Brook he would not be granted an exception to fight Mayweather.”
The IBF does, however, have a rule in place wherein unification bouts trump those that are considered to be mandatory if the proper paperwork were submitted and the right conditions met, according to Salazar, IBF President Daryl Peoples and IBF Championships Chairman Lindsay Tucker.
For example, a deal was reached for IBF super middleweight titleholder Carl Froch (30-2, 22 KOs) to take a rematch against Mikkel Kessler (46-2, 35 KOs) in Britain on May 25 over a bout with hard-hitting, mandatory challenger Adonis Stevenson (19-1, 16 KOs).
Froch, who, like Brook, is promoted by Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sport, worked out his deal with Kessler, and Sauerland Events, prior to the IBF’s deadline, in accordance with protocol.
Stevenson, meanwhile, has been guaranteed a shot at the winner of Froch-Kessler, even as he pursues his sixth straight knockout on March 22 against the lone man to defeat him, Darnell Boone, a winner of a second-round stoppage over Stevenson in April of 2010.
Mayweather began a media firestorm on Tuesday when the five-time, eight-division champion’s Twittter account named Alexander as the leading candidate to fight him on May 4 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
“The negotiations for my fight are almost done,” states Mayweather’s Twitter account. “The front runner is IBF Champion Devon Alexander. It’d be a unification bout at welterweight.”
Mayweather’s advisor, Leonard Ellerbe, could be reached for an immediate comment.
Alexander, who is 25, is coming off October’s unanimous decision over hard-punching Randall Bailey, and has twice had Showtime-televised scheduled clashes with Englishman Kell Brook (29-0, 19 KOs) postponed.
Their first bout, slated for Jan. 19, was pushed to Feb. 23 as a result of Brook’s apparent ankle injury. On Monday, Alexander-Brook was postponed, yet again, after Alexander suffered a biceps injury.
Although a new date for Alexander-Brook has yet to be determined pending the left-hander’s recovery from injury, Cunningham issued a statement via e-mail that “Devon is focused on getting his bicep back to 100 percent.”
Mayweather’s message about Alexander contradicted the widely-reported belief that a deal had been close for Mayweather to meet WBC 147-pound interim Robert Guerrero (31-1-1, 18 KOs), whose unanimous decision over Andre Berto in November represented his 15th straight win during a run that includes nine stoppages.
Even Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer had indicated that negotiations had been ongoing for Mayweather-Guerrero.
Schaefer declined to discuss, in detail, the developments regarding Mayweather-Alexander.
“That came from Mayweather and not from me, so I can not comment on it,” said Schaefer. “You would have to try to reach Mayweather. I am working on rescheduling the Devon versus Kell fight.”
Coming off last May’s unanimous decision victory over Miguel Cotto for WBA’s junior middleweight belt, Mayweather had vowed to return to the ring on May 4, and then, again on Sept. 14.
The May 4 event is to include WBC 154-pound beltholder Saul Alvarez (41-0-1, 30 KOs) against an opponent to be determined, although the front-runner to face Alvarez appears to be current WBA counterpart Austin Trout (26-0, 14 KOs), who is coming off December’s unanimous decision triumph over Cotto.
Photo by Tom Hogan, Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions
Photo by Rich Kane, Hogan Photos, Golden Boy Promotions
Photo by Scott Heavy, Getty Images
Photo by Naoki Fukuda
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org