LAS VEGAS — IBF welterweight titleholder Devon Alexander and his trainer Kevin Cunningham are in town for Saturday night’s Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Canelo Alvarez fight, as well as negotiations that could produce a Dec. 7 bout with former 140-pound beltholder Amir Khan at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
But if talks fall through for a bout with Khan (28-3, 19 knockouts), Alexander (25-1, 14 KOs) contends that it is he, and not Khan, who should be in line to face Mayweather.
Alexander’s seventh-round stoppage of Lee Purdy in May represented his fourth straight victory since falling to current WBO 147-pound beltholder Tim Bradley by 10th-round technical decision in January of 2011.
That run has included a split-decision over Lucas Matthysse, who is currently THE RING’s No. 1-rated 140-pounder, as well as a unanimous decision over Marcos Maidana in his welterweight debut. Alexander dethroned hard-hitting Randall Bailey for the IBF belt in October of last year before facing Purdy.
“I’ve beaten some top notch guys. People who they said were killers. I’ve fought some killers and gotten through it,” said Alexander, who has also knocked out former titleholders Juan Urango and Junior Witter, and decisioned ex-beltholders DeMarcus “Chop Chop” Corley and Andriy Kotelnik.
“You stack my resume on top of anybody’s, and it will out-do anybody’s resume. I’m going to get my respect one way or another. I’m going to keep winning. I don’t what it is about people, but I just know that I have to continue to win. That’s all I can do is keep winning.”
Khan’s repertoire is also impressive, including unanimous decisions over Kotelnik and Maidana, a technical decision victory over Mexican great Marco Antonio Barrera, and knockouts of titlewinners Paulie Malignaggi and Zab Judah.
Khan was stopped in 54 seconds by Breidis Prescott in September of 2008 before reeling off eight consecutive victories, four of them by stoppage.
Khan suffered consecutive losses to Lamont Peterson and Danny Garcia by split-decision and fourth-round knockout, respectively, prior to winning his past two bouts by 10th-round knockout and unanimous decision over Carlos Molina and former titleholder Julio Diaz, the latter in his last fight in April.
“My thoughts are that Amir Khan has lost two of his last three or four fights,”said Alexander of Khan, a former IBF and WBA 140-pound beltholder, Khan would be making his 147-pound debut if they meet.
“Khan does have a following, I agree with that. I agree 120 percent. He has a big following in the UK. He has that UK money. I agree. He’s got the Showtime deal. I agree. Is that what makes him so deserving?”
Alexander has packed arenas in his native St. Louis, Mo., where he defeated Kotelnik, Matthysse and Maidana.
“If you look at it, I have a big fan base over here, but not in the U.K., so I don’t see what the big deal is about Amir Khan. Over here, what does he have?” said Alexander. “He don’t have a real big fan base over here, so I think that the powers that be are behind him because he has the money over in the U.K. and that’s what it is. I guess that makes business sense.”
In the meantime, Matthysse (34-2, 32 KOs) will face RING, WBA and WBC junior welterweight champion Danny Garcia (26-0, 16 KOs) on Saturday’s Mayweather-Alvarez undercard on Showtime Pay Per View, and Maidana (34-3, 31 KOs) is in negotiations for a Dec. 14 pay per view showdown with WBA welterweight titleholder Adrien Broner (27-0, 22 KOs).
“People can talk what they want to talk, and act like they don’t see what they’re really seeing, but you’ve got Danny Garcia in a huge fight fighting a guy in Matthysse, who Devon already beat,” said Cunningham.
“And you’ve got Adrien Broner getting ready to fight a pay per view against Maidana, who Devon’s already beat. So Devon’s beat the best fighters out here in the division, and he’s one of the most recognized names out here in the division, so why not give him a shot at Mayweather?”
Khan would be looking for his third straight victory in as many fights under new trainer Virgil Hunter if he were to challenge Alexander, a former IBF and WBC junior welterweight beltholder. But during an interview at Friday’s Mayweather-Alvarez weigh-in, Cunningham said Khan cast doubt on whether or not he would choose to face Alexander.
“If Amir Khan doesn’t want to fight Devon,” said Cunningham, “Then Devon has earned the right to fight a Floyd Mayweather, and, he’s one of the better skilled fighters that could match up with Floyd from a skill set point of view.”
Alexander points to Mayweather’s troubles against fellow southpaws Corley and Judah, as well as right-hander Shane Mosley — all of whom landed quality blows against Mayweather.
“Just go back and look at the skillful fighters that he’s fought… Every one of them gave him problems. You’ve got Chop Chop, you have Sugar Shane Mosley, and you have Zab,” said Alexander.
“Those have been his toughest competition, and you have to look at that. I would match up very well against Floyd Mayweather. It’s skills versus skills. I don’t think that Floyd wants to deal with that.”
Photo by Tom Hogan, Hoganphotos/Golden Boy Promotions
Photo by Naoki Fukuda
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org