RingTV.com spoke to trainer Kevin Cunningham regarding the preparation of his fighter IBF welterweight beltholder Devon Alexander‘s title defense against Shawn Porter on Dec. 7 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn on Showtime.
Alexander (25-1, 14 knockouts) and Porter met once before as amateurs, and the fact that Alexander soundly defeated Porter (22-0-1, 14 KOs) has become a source of ire and motivation for the challenger and his father and trainer, Kenny Porter.
In his last fight in May, Alexander (25-1, 14 knockouts) scored a seventh-round stoppage of Lee Purdy that 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, 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, and has also knocked out former titleholders Juan Urango and Junior Witter, and decisioned ex-beltholders Andriy Kotelnik and DeMarcus “Chop Chop” Corley.
Alexander said that he has fully recovered from a damaged left hand suffered in the fight with Purdy, and that he expects to deliver a signature victory over Porter.
Alexander said he has also put behind him the disappointment of not being able to face English fighters such as unbeaten Kell Brook and Amir Khan, once-scheduled and talked-about bouts that did not come to fruition.
Porter is coming off September’s unanimous decision over ex-beltholder Julio Diaz that made up for the draw they had in December of 2012. In between, Diaz dropped Khan in the fourth round of a unanimous decision loss in April.
Below is a Q&A with Cunningham regarding Alexander-Porter, which is part of a card headlined by native Brooklynites in former junior welterweight and welterweight titleholders Paulie Malignaggi and Zab Judah.
RingTV.com: How long have you been training, how is it going and how is Devon looking?
Kevin Cunningham: Training camp is going tremendously. This has been one of the best camps that Devon’s had in a long time. We’ve been in camp now for maybe nine weeks.
We started out preparing for Khan and when they switched things, we just continued to move forward. We’re training right here at home.
We’re here in the suburbs outside of St. Louis. We’re training in a private gym, and everything is going great in this camp.
RTV: Given Devon’s popularity at home, have there been many demands for appearances or other such distractions?
KC: Actually, we haven’t had any distractions. Like I’ve said, we’re here in the suburbs in this private little gym. We’ve done interviews here and there, but this time, we’ve basically, not done a lot of interviews.
We’ve just hunkered down and focused on this fight, and basically, we’ve let the Porters do all of the talking for this fight.
I mean, it seems like they’ve been doing interviews just about every other day, so, that’s worked out pretty good. They’re much less of a known quantity right now, so they need to promote themselves.
So our focus has been more strictly on training and we’ve not been doing that many interviews. We’ve been concentrating on the fight.
So it’s just been a real, nice focused camp. We’ve been sparring for nearly seven weeks, and everything has been good. He’s probably put in over a 140 rounds of sparring for this camp, so we’re ready to go.
RTV: Has Devon has a little bit of a chip on his shoulder concerning this fight, similar, perhaps, to prior to the one with Maidana, when the notion of PED’s was brought up?
KC: Well, there’s kind of a resemblance, there. We felt kind of disrespected with the whole promotion of the Maidana thing, and then, with the accusations of some kind of enhancement stuff, or whatever.
Just the way that whole promotion went, and with that fight being in our home town, and bringing Maidana to knock off Devon, that’s kind of how we felt and that’s the way that promotion seemed.
We took that personally. As far as the Porters, as far as we knew, they were cool people. We’ve been knowing them for a long time, then for them to all of sudden come up and call us out?
For Kenny Porter to say that he’s been carrying a grudge and to bring up the fact that Devon beat Shawn when they were like, 9 years old, I mean, we kind of sat back and just said, “Wow.”‘
Well, now, we’re like, “If that’s what you want, then, we’re gonna give it to you.” We’re gonna put a little extra sauce on this one.
RTV: Given that Devon has appeared to acclimate himself, completely, to the 147-pound weight class, is this the sort of fight during which he can display the full, potentiaally spectacular abilities that he has?
KC: Yes, I think so. I think that what’s going to happen on Dec. 7 is that Shawn Porter is a good, tough, young strong fighter.
But Shawn Porter is going to find out that he’s in way out of his league, and that they bit off more than they can chew. That’s going to be crystal clear on Dec. 7.
RTV: How is Devon’s left hand?
KC: The hand is great. He’s been sharp with his left hand. He’s been throwing left hands, uppercuts, and everything’s been looking great.
RTV: Although you’re not looking past Porter, given all of the activity in the division, who would be among the top three or so opponents you would next like to face?
KC: Well, the No. 1 name is the obvious choice, and that’s Money. [Floyd] Money Mayweather. But, we’re not chasing Floyd. So there are several opportunities there.
We love fighting in New York. Barclays is a beautiful arena. The boxing fans are knowledgeable and they’re great boxing fans. We would love to come back to New York.
With Zab Judah and Paulie Malignaggi trying to be the king of Brooklyn, the winner of that fight won’t have a crown. We’d love to give the winner of that fight a shot at the title.
Golden Boy has all of the top fighters. They have most of the marquee fighters in the division. But Devon will fight anybody. We’re not going to turn anybody down. So it doesn’t matter who it is.
Photo courtesy of Kevin Cunningham
Lem Satterfield can be reached at email@example.com