By: Robert Contreras
From the Soboba Casino, in San Jacinto, California, Ivan Redkach put it all on the line against Devon Alexander in the main event of the PBC’s latest telecast on FOX Sports 1.
Jumping up to 147 pounds to face a perennial contender and former world champion, Redkach faced huge underdog odds. But he had an equalizer or two tucked away in his left hand to blow up his opponent’s night.
The bookies were in for a beating all night as the show opened with the completely unheralded Rodney Hernandez flipping the script and punching out the acclaimed Olympian Onoriode “Godzilla” Ehwarieme inside of three minutes.
Ivan Redkach (23-4-1, 18 KO) def. Devon Alexander (27-6-1, 14 KO)
Having boxed the ears off Randall Bailey, Marcos Maidana and Lucas Matthysse consecutively, there was a time when Alexander would not have had a problem walking through a puncher like Redkach. But after spells of drug addiction and inactivity, Redkach on Saturday jumped all over him, putting the American on the canvas three times in the fateful sixth round for a shocking knockout win.
Redkach, 33, faced an early deficit via a surprisingly aggressive start from Alexander. But he closed the show dominantly as he turned the fight around with crushing combination punching. His latest knockout also marked a successful debut at the welterweight limit of 147 pounds—a designation Alexander could not be bothered to make (weighing officially at 151 pounds).
Alexander just played the wrong game with Redkach, moving away from his jab, and sitting on his punches as his opponent gained more and more momentum as the fight progressed.
When PBC correspondent Jordan Hardy asked the victorious slugger how he felt about his performance, Redkach could muster up one word: “Unbelievable.”
Continuing, he shared: “I’ve been working on that same punch that I threw tonight, everyday. I’m more fresh. I’m ready for everybody at 147 pounds—anybody. Danny Garcia or Mr. Shawn Porter, everybody. I’m ready.”
Redkach was clearly ready for Alexander, who was coming off a loss but a close decision that left him with all the momentum and the betting odds behind him (-700).
Alexander affirmed those odds in an eventful opening round. The 32-year-old former champion pushed the pace, interchanging a sharp jab and chopping left hands. The powerful blows even forced Redkach into the corner from time to time. Redkach returned with left hooks but Alexander was ready to meet him with one first. Eventually a left hand from the betting favorite skipped across Redkach’s chin, nearly buckling his knees.
Continuing to press forward in Round 2, Alexander jabbed his way in behind his shoulder, remaining off-center so as to avoid damage. Redkach, to his credit, slightly adjusted and began firing jabs to his opponent’s midsection but Alexander easily negated the attack with two-handed parries.
And lo! In the final 15 seconds of the period, Redkach finally busted through Alexander’s guard with a left hand and then followed up with a flurry of shots that drummed the sides of the former champ’s head. It may not have been enough to steal the round but it acted as a nice foreshadowing because Alexander was tentative going forward.
The two southpaws circled one another in the third and fourth stanzas before taking turns shooting into the other. Referee Thomas Taylor would need to step in for inadvertent headbutts. In this kind of fencing, Redkach was no match with singular punches but his one-two, ending with a long straight left, was closing the gap between him and Alexander.
Redkach opened Round 4 with that same series of punches and the center of the ring was his from there. He went ahead and demonstrably poured in the higher output in the sixth frame.
By this point, Alexander assented to sitting on his punches, looking to time his opponent coming in with searing left hooks. But the only thing really catching Redkach’s attention were more headbutts, which he implored referee Taylor to do something about.
It did not matter as just 25 seconds into Round 6, Redkach pumped out a three-punch combo, resulting in a left uppercut that sent Alexander to the mat face-first. Alexander beat the count but could only try to wrap up his man when the action continued. As the referee began to step in, Redkach on his own created enough space to floor Alexander again with a left hook.
The fight somehow went on and Redkach dealt another one-two that placed Alexander on the ground yet again and for good. Referee Taylor threw his hands up and Redkach was victorious.
The win pushed Redkach’s win streak to three straight. And in a new weight class, he seems revitalized despite turning 33 this year and spending the crux of his career at 135 pounds. At lightweight, he was chopped down and outclassed by the likes of Dejan Zlaticanin and Tevin Farmer.
So after another knockout loss to John Molina at 140 pounds, another seven pounds north seemed to signal the end for Redkach and aptly closed as a three-to-one underdog. But his trainer Shane Mosley would tell Jordan Hardy after the fight that he believed in his through and through and the only way they were coming out on top was finishing Alexander.
“We felt going the distance with a champion, well, you never want to leave it in the hands of the judges,” Mosley said. “You need to go out there and knock him out—and that’s what he did.”
According to the Fight Night stats, Redkach landed 51 of 223 total punches (23 percent) while Alexander connected on 60 of 271 total punches (22 percent).
Willie Monroe Jr. (24-3, 6 KO) def. Hugo Centeno Jr. (27-3, 14 KO) by unanimous decision
In contrasting styles, Monroe Jr. and Centeno met for 10 rounds in a tight contest that in the end went the way of Monroe on scores of 98-92, 97-93, and 96-94.
Monroe was a step ahead of his counterpart. Maintaining lead foot dominance, his jab repeatedly speared into Centeno like out of a phalanx. Though he did gladly meet Centeno up close to win over the fans rather than just the ringside judges.
Centeno couldn’t catch up with Monroe until the second half of the bout more often than not in the center of the ring. But it the spurts of success were not enough to eclipse Monroe’s cleaner work.
In the post-fight interview, Monroe was proud of himself, traveling from New York, and he was eager to call out his next challenge.
“I think I stepped it up a little more,” Monroe said. “People are used to watching me box but we’re in [Centeno’s] backyard so I wanted to make sure I took those rounds solidly. Oh, and tell Charlo that I’m coming.”
Monroe was slated to face Jermall Charlo at the end of 2018 before the “Mongoose” failed a pre-fight drug test a week out from the championship fight.