By: William Holmes
The welterweight division is crowded with talent, and many of the top contenders in the division are chomping at the bit for a shot at a big payday against Manny Pacquiao or Floyd Mayweather Jr. You can add two more talented fighters to the mix, as Devon Alexander and Marcos Maidana have fought most of their career in the junior welterweight division, and will be making their debut in the welterweight division against each other.
Also on the card will be a junior lightweight battle between undefeated fighters Adrien Broner and Eloy Perez. The junior lightweight division is currently lacking stars with drawing power, but this is one of the best matchups that could be made. The winner of this fight should help the fighter’s pursuit of bigger and better paydays.
A preview of both fights follows below:
Marcos Maidana (31-2) vs. Devon Alexander (22-1); Welterweight
Devon Alexander, a St. Louis native, comes from a deep amateur background. He was a Junior Olympics national champion and made it to the finals of the 2004 Olympic trials. He’s only 25, and turned professional at the age of 17.
Alexander is a technically sound boxer, but lacks the knockout power of his opponent. Of his 22 victories, only 13 have come by KO or TKO, and he has had only one TKO in his last five fights. Alexander was promoted by Don King, but just recently signed with Golden Boy promotions. Don King fighters tend to have a reputation of fighting less than stellar competition, but a close inspection of Alexander’s opponents reveal that Alexander has fought some decent competition. His first big victory came over the veteran but always tough DeMarcus Corley in 2008. He was also able to make Junior Witter quit on his stool in 2009, and defeat contender Juan Urango by TKO in 2010. His bout against Timothy Bradley in January of 2011 had a lot of hype behind it, but it turned into an ugly affair that saw Alexander suffer his first defeat. The biggest worry about Alexander is that he looked quite ordinary in his last bout against Lucas Matthysse in his hometown of St. Louis. He won the split decision, but many observers and critics felt Matthysse should have won that fight.
Standing across from Alexander will be the hard hitting Argentinean Marcos Maidana. Maidana doesn’t quite have the technical ability of Alexander, but he does have the power. Of his 31 victories, 28 have come by way of KO or TKO. Maidana’s first loss came against Andriy Kotelnyk by split decision in Germany in 2009. Alexander later defeated Kotelnyk, but the Maidana loss is disputed by some, and Maidana threw over 1200 punches in that fight. Maidana is best known for his thrilling 6th round TKO victory over Victor Ortiz in 2009. He took Amir Khan the distance in 2010 and lost a close decision, and was able to defeat Erik Morales by decision in a thrilling battle in April of 2011.
Every fight that Maidana participates in seems to be an exciting bout, and Saturday should be no different. Alexander will be looking to impress his new promoters and re-establish himself after his ugly loss to Bradley and disputed win over Matthysse. It is doubtful that either fighter will fight conservatively. If Alexander can survive the early rounds, he should take this by decision. However, he has yet to face a fighter with the power of Maidana.
Adrien Broner (22-0) vs. Eloy Perez (23-0-2); WBO Junior Lightweight Title
Adrien Broner, a Cincinnati native, also comes from a deep amateur background with over 300 fights. He has a good amount of hype behind his name, and only recently began to take on tougher competition. His first notable victory was over Daniel Ponce De Leon, as he won a hard fought ten round unanimous decision. Some, including HBO’s Harold Lederman, felt that Ponce De Leon deserved the nod from the judges in that fight. He came back from that fight and blasted Jason Litzau and finished him in the first round while fighting in Mexico on the undercard of a Saul Alvarez bout. Broner won the WBO Junior Lightweight Title with a 3rd round KO over Vicente Martin Rodriguez in his last bout. Broner has power in his hands, as 18 of his victories have come by KO or TKO. However, Broner only recently started fighting good competition, and Perez on paper looks to be his toughest bout yet.
Eloy Perez, a California native, has yet to fight any fighters with a recognizable name. However, the record of his last five opponents comes out to 101-15-1. While Perez has yet to fight someone that the average boxing fan would have heard of, he has consistently fought competition with winning records, and Saturday may be his chance to shine. Perez has two draws on his record, but they came in 2007 and 2006 in short eight round affairs. Power is something Perez does not appear to have. Of his 23 victories, only 7 have come by KO or TKO, but he was able to finish his opponent in his last two victories.
This is an interesting bout, in that the winner may decide to chase a bigger pay day in the lightweight division, and the loser may fade into obscurity in the junior lightweight division. It’s nice to see two prospects on the rise have decided to face off against each other, instead of opting to face faded but well known veterans. Broner has the bigger name, and should win this bout, but Perez just has to watch the Ponce De Leon fight to study Broner’s weaknesses.