By William Holmes
HBO’s Boxing after Dark series comes from St. Charles, Missouri featuring of main event of Devon Alexander v. Lucas Matthysse, and a strong undercard featuring Tavoris Cloud vs. Yusaf Mack and Bermane Stiverne vs. Ray Austin.
Bermane Stiverne (20-1-1) vs. Ray Austin (28-5-4); Heavyweight
The winner of this fight becomes the mandatory challenger for the WBC Heavyweight Belt, as Stiverne looks to make his name known in the heavyweight division and Austin looks for another shot at the heavyweight belt.
Round 1: Austin begins round 1 attempting to establish his jab and use his reach advantage. Austin opens up and lands a few shots through Stiverne’s defensive guard. Austin’s jab has been effective at keeping Stiverne away. Stiverne throws some power shots at the end of the round on Austin in the corner, but it is too late to win him the round. 10-9 for Austin.
Round 2: Austin begins round 2 using his jab to keep Stiverne away. Stiverne tries to duck under a jab and throw a hook but misses. Stiverne finally lands a short left hook, but Austin continues to keep that jab in Stiverne’s face. Stiverne lands his first significant punch of the night with a lunging left hook, and follows with a right hand that appears to hurt Austin. Austin talking trash at the end of the round but it was obvious those punches hurt Austin. 10-9 for Stiverne.
Round 3: Fighters pressed against the cage as Austin leans against STiverne and the referee breaks them up. Austin trying to throw some more combinations but Stiverne blocks most of them. Stiverne lands a hard body shot and shot to the head of Austin. Most of Austin’s jabs are landing on Stiverne. Austin lands a solid right hand on the chin of Stiverne, and lands a few counters on Stirverne as he misses some punches. Fighters bump into each other after the end of the round, and the referee takes a point away from Austin. 9-9 round, would have scored it 10-9 if the referee didn’t take a point away.
Round 4: Ray Austin is very active with his jab in the beginning of the fourth round. Stiverne is just staying on the outside getting peppered by Austin. Stiverne lands a hook that causes Austin to momentarily lose his balance, but Austin continues to punish with his jab. Stiverne closes the round with a hard hook to the head of Austin, but not enough to win him the round. 10-9 for Austin.
Round 5: Austin continues to follow his blueprint of using his jab to keep Stiverne away. Austin tries to lead Stiverne in and throws an uppercut but misses. Stiverne needs to do something to try to get inside, as Austin has to be at least doubling the amount of punches landed so far. Stiverne finally gets inside and lands a few body punches, and Austin answers with body shots of his own. Stiverne lands a left hook, and Austin answers with jab cross combinations. 10-9 for Austin again.
Round 6: Austin is clearly dictating the pace and flow of this fight so far. Stiverne has not let his hands loose at this fight, and just continues to get hit with Austin’s jab. Austin throws a nice 1-2 combination and then ducks under Stiverne’s hook. Stiverne lands a hard left hook to Austin and he grabs onto the ropes to keep his balance. Austin throws a nice uppercut and finishes the round by continuing to pepper Stiverne with jabs. 10-9 for Austin.
Round 7: Austin again stays behind his jab as Stiverne does not seem to have an answer for it. Stiverne lands a nice uppercut that causes Austin to back up and circle away. A right hand by Stiverne rocks Austin and momentarily backs him into a corner. Austin staying on his jab trying to keep Stiverne away. Both fighters look tired. 10-9 for Stiverne, he had him hurt and failed to take full advantage of it.
Round 8: This round starts off the same as the other rounds, with Austin using his jab to keep Stiverne away. Stiverne catches Austin with a right hand in the corner, causing Austin to tie up. Austin’s jabs appear to have lost some of that snap it had in the earlier rounds. Stiverne is more aggressive this round, and he ends the round landing some solid body shots. 10-9 Stiverne.
Round 9: Stiverne lands a hard combination on Austin against the rope, but doesn’t press forward to follow up. Austin goes back to his jab to keep Stiverne away. Stiverne finally uses his jab to try to get on the inside of Austin. Fighters are in the corner and exchange, and Austin lands more often than Stiverne. 10-9 Austin.
Round 10: Austin again throwing a lot of jabs, but gets hit with a shot to temple by right hook thrown by Stiverne that knocks him down. Austin gets back to his feet as the referee reaches 10, but Austin is unable to walk towards the referee when asked and the fight is stopped. Stiverne wins by 10th round TKO.
Tavoris Cloud (22-0) vs. Yusaf Mack (29-3-2); Light Heavyweight
This bout is for the IBF light heavyweight world championship, as undefeated Tavoris Cloud takes on Philadelphia native Yusak Mack.
Round 1: Mack throws some quick double jabs to the head and body of Cloud. Mack lands a nice left hook followed by a double jab. Cloud lands a hard right cross to Mack’s head. Mack back to his jab. Mack lands a decent body show on Cloud, and Cloud answers with a hook to the head. 10-9 Mack.
Round 2: Mack starts off with round 2 back on his jab, mixing in some body shots. Cloud beginning to back Mack up against the ropes. Mack lands a hard combination on Cloud. Cloud answers with a strong right cross to Mack’s chin. Mack landing some good shots on Cloud in the center of the ring. Cloud closes the round landing on Mack’s head. 10-9 Cloud.
Round 3: Cloud starts off round 3 coming forward, throwing his jab more often than the last two rounds. Mack comes in with an overhand right. A right hand by Cloud catches Mack as he was backpedaling away. Mack has landed multiple solid rights this round. Round closes with Mack landing a nice hook. 10-9 Mack.
Round 4: Cloud backing Mack up with his jab. Mack catches Cloud with a nice body shot as he comes in, but Cloud continues to go to work and uses his jab to back Mack up. Mack is remaining elusive , but when Cloud catches up to him he lands some hard hooks. Cloud landed multiple hard left hands this round, and this is his most impressive round so far. 10-9 Cloud.
Round 5: Round 5 starts off as a repeat of round 4, as Cloud continues to press forward and putting the pressure on Mack. Double jab lands for Cloud, and blood is coming from the nose of Cloud. Mack lands a solid left hook and follows it with a left uppercut. A left by Cloud rocks Mack’s head back. Cloud lands two hard body shots on Mack against the ropes. 10-9 round for Cloud.
Round 6: Mack appears to be losing some gas in this round. Cloud continues to move forward, and lands a hard overhand right that catches the crowd’s attention. Mack throwing some power shots, but doesn’t land, and Cloud stays on his jab followed by some combinations to the head of Mack. Cloud’s jab is noticeably more effective this round. Fighters exchange combinations at the end of the round, with Cloud getting the better of the exchange. 10-9 round for Cloud.
Round 7: Cloud has been finding his rhythm the past few rounds, and continues to press the pace of this fight. Mack using his jab to try to keep Cloud away, but his mouth is wide open and he is visibly fatiguing. Mack lands a solid hook on Cloud as he comes in. Slower round, but I think Mack did enough to win this round. 10-9 round for Mack.
Round 8: Cloud continues to press forward on Mack. Mack lands a decent left hook and follows with a double jab. Mack throwing a few punches then quickly moves away. Mack throws two wild hooks on Cloud. A left hand by Cloud rocks Mack, and follows up with a few shots that knocks Mack down. Mack gets back up before the ten count, but again when asked to walk towards the referee Mack is unable to do so, and the referee stops the fight. 8th round TKO by Cloud.
Devon Alexander (21-1) v. Lucas Matthysse (28-1); Super Lightweight
Devon Alexander looks to get back on a winning streak in front of his home town after dropping an uninspiring decision to Timothy Bradley.
Round 1: Alexander flicking out his jab and tries to gain control of the center of the ring. Matthysse lands a few hooks after Alexander throws his jabs. It is apparent that Alexander has the quicker hands of the two boxers. 10-9 round for Alexander.
Round 2: Alexander throwing his punches with more bad intentions this round, mixing in some crosses with his jabs. Alexander throws a double cross that lands. Alexander lands a nice combination in the middle of the ring. Matthysse lands a nice right cross to the chin of Alexander. Alexander with a nice 1-2 combination that gets the crowd to react. 10-9 Alexander.
Round 3: Alexander is grunting with every punch he throws, but he appears to be attempting to land some power shots on Matthysse. Matthysse lands a decent left hook on Alexander. Alexander with a nice double right hand to the body and head of Matthysse. Matthysse lands a nice jab, and two body shots to Alexander. Alexander is short on a lot of his punches. 10-9 Alexander
Round 4: Matthysse knocks Alexander down with a right cross causing the refere to give him a standing eight count. First time in Alexander’s career that he went down. Matthysse presses Alexander against the corner and throws some hard shots. Alexander still grunting while throwing, but he appears to be missing just short on some of his punches. Matthysse is walking Alexander down this round, and catches him with a few right crosses. 10-8 round for Matthysse.
Round 5: Alexander lands a solid left hook on Matthysse as he comes in. Matthysse and Alexander are landing an even amount of blows so far this round, but Alexander may appear to be landing the harder shots simply because of his grunting. Matthysse grabs the back of Alexander’s head and lands two uppercuts, and receives a warning from the referee. Tough round to score, 10-9 Alexander.
Round 6: Matthysse lands a nice uppercut on Alexander to start off round 6. Matthysse answers one of Alexander’s grunting jabs with a head body combination. Matthysse again with an uppercut on Alexander and hits him with a solid body shot. While tied up Matthysse hits Alexander with an overhand right. Matthysse is beating up Alexander when they are tied up. The crowd tries to get behind Alexander everytime he throws, but I gave Matthysse this round. 10-9 Matthysse.
Round 7: Matthysse starts off the round landing some combinations on Alexander against the ropes. Matthysse backing Alexander against the ropes, and lands a nice right hand on Alexander as he was backing up. A short uppercut by Matthysse lands, and follows with a nice overhand right. This by far is Matthysse’s best round of the night. 10-9 Matthysse.
Round 8: Matthysse lands a solid uppercut and left hand on Alexander. Alexander with a body head combination. Alexander staying active though and throwing constantly. Matthysse again backs Alexander against the corner, and Alexander fights his way out. Matthysse lands a hard right hand on Alexander that gets his home town crowd oohing and aahing. 10-9 Matthysse.
Round 9: This fight has been an exciting one going into the final two rounds, and is very, very, close. Alexander lands a hard left cross that rocks Matthysse’s head. Matthysse and Alexander are engaging in exciting exchanges, and Matthysse is starting to look tired. Alexander landing some nice counters. Matthysse lands a loud thudding body shot on Alexander. Alexander came back nicely this round, 10-9 Alexander.
Round 10: Matthysse lands a nice left hand to start off the round. Both fighters must know it is a close fight as they are both throwing. During the exchanges it is obvious that Matthysse is landing the harder shots. Matthysse lands a good combination on Alexander against the ropes. Alexander is showing this fight though that he has heart and can put on exciting fights. Matthysse lands three straight right crosses on Alexander. A left hand by Alexander knocks Matthysse back. Alexander has a cut above his right eye. Another tough round to score, but I scored it 10-9 Matthysse.
Overall, I have the fight for Matthysse 95-94. Official scorecards are 96-93 for Alexander, 96-93 for Matthysse, and 95-94 for Alexander. Alexander wins the fight by split decision.