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Ivan Redkach Blasts Devon Alexander in Round 6

Posted on 06/02/2019

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.

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PBC on FS1 Preview: Alexander vs. Redkach, Monroe vs. Centeno

Posted on 05/30/2019

By: Robert Contreras

Trading punches. Pushing and pulling for space. Boxers give and take as they try to administer their will onto their opponent.

As so, it is difficult to escape that old dichotomy between Boxer and Puncher. And the sport returns to it in the main event of PBC’s latest broadcast on FOX Sports 1, airing from San Jacinto, California, where both Alexander, the artful stylist, and Redkach, with a firecracker in his left hand, meet in a crossroads match.

In addition, middleweights Willie Monroe Jr. and Hugo Centeno Jr. will be fighting. And it is all on FS1, where the telecast is set to begin at 8 p.m. ET.

Devon Alexander (27-5-1, 14 KO) vs. Ivan Redkach (22-4-1, 17 KO)

Alexander is a former world champion, making his mark in the light welterweight division before moving up to 147 pounds. Since a loss to Shawn Porter, he is 2-4-1 but that has not been without terrible strokes of luck.

In August 2018, Alexander was forced to settle for a split-decision loss on national television after continually beating Andre Berto to the punch. To go along with another set of inauspicious scorecards, leading to a majority-draw with Victor Ortiz, Alexander technically has not won a fight in 18 months.

With a team fronted by the legendary Roy Jones Jr., the 32-year-old southpaw has rebounded from worse. After dropping the WBO championship to Tim Bradley, back in 2011, he rebounded with four consecutive wins over some of the sport’s most intimidating hitters: Randall Bailey, Marcos Maidana and Lucas Matthysse. Never one to turn down a challenge, he has also tangled with brawlers like Aaron Martinez and Jesus Soto Karass to more slippery movers like Amir Khan.

Redkach, 33, will too find out firsthand how rough the 147-pound waters can be after turning professional nearly a decade ago at the lightweight limit and last competing at 140 pounds. In preparation for his welterweight debut, the Ukrainian-born slugger brought in the help of Shane Mosley to add some wrinkles to his game at his training camp in Los Angeles.

Since being pelted down in 2017 by John Molina Jr., Redkach has picked up back-to-back victories over journeymen. Most recently, four months ago, he dribbled Tyrone Harris up and down the canvas, knocking his opponent down three times in the opening round, en route to a first-round knockout.

Redkach needs another destructive performance like that to pave a way to a title shot. And he needs to do it quickly as he pushes his mid-30s.

The top of the welterweight division is currently in a bit of a logjam. Porter is waiting in the wings for a winner to emerge between Keith Thurman and Manny Pacquiao. And Errol Spence and Terrence Crawford continue to play a game of chicken with one another—or at least their promoters do—which gives bit players like Alexander and Redkach enough time to make their case for a title fight.

That endeavor begins this weekend.

Willie Monroe Jr. (23-3, 6 KO) vs. Hugo Centeno Jr. (27-2, 14 KO)

From opposite corners of the country, New York’s own “El Mongoose” Monroe and Centeno, from Oxnard, California, square off over the 10-round distance in the middleweight division.

Monroe, 32, has a legendary name to represent—his uncle once gave Marvin Hagler a lacing. But despite natural, supreme athleticism, he often forgets where the gas pedal is. Returning from a failed bid for the WBO middleweight title against Billy Joe Saunders in an overall lackadaisical affair, Monroe decisioned the unheralded Carlos Galvan last March and followed up that victory by undressing Argentinian banger Javier Francisco Maciel over 10 rounds.

Fighting a real puncher, Monroe arguably did not give up a single round. But the Argentinian did not force the action on Monroe, allowing the American to get off when he felt like it. It was not the best showing from Maciel but his recent melee with Artem Chebotarec only made Monroe look that much better.

This weekend represent’s Monroe’s first time competing in the west coast since facing Gennady Golovkin. In order to prove he is not just a stepping stone for the division’s biggest names, he should start with outclassing Centeno.

Centeno, though, is a large challenge—incredibly long. In fact, there is not a world-ranked middleweight taller than him. His six feet, one inches is at equal footing with Maciej Sulecki and Demetrious Andrade.

Last time out, in February, the 28-year-old Centeno was cruising to a win against Oscar Cortes. He floored Cortes in the fourth round before a headbutt ended the show early. The California resident was still awarded a technical-decision, his first win since being blown away by Jermall Charlo for the WBC middleweight crown.

The odd circumstances were all too familiar for Centeno, who back in 2013 also saw his contest against Julian Williams stopped in the fourth period from a clash of heads. Of course, Williams was clearly too much for Centeno and the stoppage only saved him further distress. That is not to say Centeno cannot dish it out.

Nearly 30 wins to his name, the highlight of Centeno’s ledger is a crushing third-round knockout of previously undefeated Immanuwel Aleem, who had significantly raised his own stock after cracking open amateur world champion Levgen Khytrov. Centeno’s length proved formidable, repeatedly finding a home for his rangy lead left hook, setting the shot up with a body jab, and eventually stretching Aleem out cold.

That brutal finish was enough to catapult Centeno into the world stage. He was quickly brought back down to earth, losing by knockout to Charlo. It was his second KO loss after Sulecki also put a dent across his chin in 2016.

Monroe is not known for having the biggest punch. So if he can get by Centeno’s long arms, the fists could be flying back and forth all night.

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PBC on Fox Preview: Quillin vs. Love, Alexander vs. Berto

Posted on 08/01/2018

By: Daniel Smith

This Saturday night, on August 4th, former welterweight world champs Andre Berto and Devon Alexander will mix it up within the square jungle in a 12-round main event. The undercard of the fight features former middleweight champ Peter Quillin vs. contender J’Leon Love in a super middleweight bout. The event takes place at the Nassau Coliseum in New York and will be televised live by FOX.

First and foremost, let’s sample the undercard before the main event.

Peter Quillin vs. J’Leon Love (Super Middleweight Division).

At thirty-five- years of age, the former WBO middleweight world champion, Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin is chomping at the bit for another world title shot. A shot and prospect which he believes is potentially within touching distance.

However, he first needs to eradicate his opponent and younger contender, J’Leon Love, from a long line of rapacious super middleweight fighters within a rough, tough and dangerously competetive division.

Both Quillin and Love’s professional records are blemished with a loss and draw a piece, and both men will be more than prepared to rage against the tide and be dragged into deep waters; dissolving all strategic-game plans, scrapping it out in a brutal tear-up in order to advance to the next phase of their careers and compete at the top level for a super middleweight title.

Peter Quillin

Until 2015, Peter Quillin was ploughing his way through middleweight boxers, accumulating and notching up an impressive score of 23 knockouts on his professional record. However, since suffering a vicious first-round TKO at the fast-flurrying, lethal hands of Daniel Jacobs back in 2015, Quillin began re-scaffolding his boxing career, and in 2017, he fought for twelve rounds and earned a unanimous decision against Dashton Johnson.

Now, “Kid Chocolate” seems raring to go and ready to steamroll his way to victory against the (24-1-1) J’Leon Love. But can he achieve it? Can Quillin, at 35, return to the sport after a hefty 21 month lay off, only to come back in heavier weight class and present a challenge to the top, youthful, title-hungry super middleweight lions? Well, all will be revealed this commencing Saturday night, where a cracking night of boxing should be on the cards!

J’Leon Love

The former Olympian, sports a professional career of (24-1-1) – a fairly decent record with its sole defeat coming from a the Rogelio Medina fight, where a steely left hook rendered Love out by the eight count. However, this fight is a “must-win” if he is to be thrown into the blend of fighters that present a serious threat to the division’s reigning champions, Groves (WBA), Benavidez (WBC), Ramirez (WBO) and Uzcategui (IBF). If so, J’Leon needs to execute his game-plan with precision and effect; deploying and detonating with hard, clean-crisp punches and convincingly winning the bout to aid his ascending climb on the competitive super middleweight ladder.

This weekend, we’ll see if Love has the skill, determination and calibre to be regarded as a genuine contender that possess champion material.

The Main Event – Berto vs Alexander (Welterweight Division)

The main event will showcase Devon Alexander vs. Andre Berto. The former two-weight class, unified world champion, Devon Alexander – a man whose held the WBC and IBF light welterweight titles as well as the IBF welterweight belt, will trade leather against the two-time former welterweight world WBC, IBF and WBA champion, Andre Berto. Berto will clash with the No 4 ranked IBF, welterweight contender in a fight (if he’s successful) that will potentially hurl him back in contention with the division’s elite welterweight warriors.

Let’s take a preview and analysis of both men going into the bout.

Devon Alexander

Devon Alexander “The Great” (27-4-1) needs to be sharp and slick in this fight when utilising his solid three punch combinations. It’s clear that Alexander is capable and prepared to stand toe-to-toe and involve himself with terse and brutal, “fighting in a phone booth” slugfests – his battle against Ortiz springs to mind. However, “The Great” should get behind his jab, set traps and fire “in and out” with poised, venomous shots that rattle and breakdown his opponent.

With the No. 1 slot vacant for the IBF title, Alexander, absolutely needs to make this one count and do it in style, too if he’s to knock the top welterweight dogs from their championship spots.

Andre Berto

Andre “The Beast” Berto – with 36 fights, 31 wins and 5 losses in his repertoire; Berto should be licking his lips at the prospect of causing an upset by defeating the bookies favourite in this contest. If “The Beast” emerges victorious as the underdog going into the fight, then it would certainly raise his stock and add further spice to an already fiery division. But only time will tell.

For this fight, both men should prepare for vicious trades within an ugly, Gran Prix paced scrap that displays fast hands, rapid combinations and hard, solid punishing blows. Both fighters can’t afford to get caught cold and both need to be vigilant and wired-up, yet capable to dispatch a dynamite, powerhouse ferocity that explodes “at the ready.” Essentially, a convincing win is definitely required from one of the two boxers. But who wins and who goes away with second prize from a two horse race?

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PBC on Fox Results: Alexander and Ortiz fight to a Draw.

Posted on 02/17/2018

by Eric Lunger

Tonight, on PBC on Fox, the talented but enigmatic Victor Ortiz (32-6-2, 25 KOs) took on former world champion Devon Alexander (27-4, 14 KOs) in a twelve-round welterweight clash. No belt was on the line, but both fighters knew what was at stake: the winner would have a meaningful claim in the deep welterweight division, while the loser very well might mark the end of his career.

In a close, professional first round, both men boxed from range, and Alexander just nipped the round, landing one clean shot. Ortiz was looking to land a lead hook in the second round, feinting his way in. Alexander’s hand speed was noticeable, however, and Ortiz suffered a cut on his forehead. It was another extremely close round. Alexander looked the better fighter in the third round, showing world-class accuracy and speed.

In the fourth, Alexander continued to land precise shots, with Ortiz’s left eye noticeably swelling. The pattern continued in the middle rounds, with Ortiz trying to feint his way in, but Alexander timing him with precise, short shots. Ortiz did get inside at the end of the fifth, but could not do any significant damage. In the seventh, Ortiz bulled his way in, and there was a lot of leather exchanged at close range. The eighth was an exciting round, two professionals exhibiting a high level of skill and courage. It might have been Ortiz’s best round, but Alexander seemed none daunted.

The ninth was full of action, but Alexander’s footwork allowed him to dictate the range (most of the time), and thus Ortiz could not make it an inside brawl. In the eleventh, Ortiz was looking to land some wide hooks, while Alexander remained sharp and accurate. In the final frame, Ortiz fought with urgency but he seemed unable to summon enough energy after a tough and exhausting effort. For a fighter who has taken a lot of criticism regarding his heart, Ortiz fought like a lion.

The scorecards came a stunner. Inexplicably, a majority draw with two cards 114-114, and one card 115-113 for Ortiz.

In the co-feature, undefeated prospect Caleb “Sweet Hands” Plant (16-0, 10 KOs) took on rugged and experienced Rogelio “Porky” Medina (38-8, 32 KOs) in a twelve-round world title eliminator at 168 pounds. Sold as America vs. Mexico, the storyline was more interesting as undefeated prospect against tested and tough veteran. Medina failed to make weight, however, and appeared in the ring with a brace on his left knee.

Plant showed a strong left jab in the first round, taking no risks. In the second, Plant dropped his left hand, and allowed Medina to come forward and dictate the action. Plant spent a significant portion of the round back-peddling, earning a Bronx cheer from the crowd. But in the third round, Plant appeared looser and more confident, bouncing on the balls of his feet and landing some clean counters. Medina had no answers and began to take real punishment.

Medina had some success in the fourth, but Plant landed more jabs and used his footwork to frustrate the Mexican veteran. In the middle rounds, Medina could not negate Plant’s advantage in reach and Plant’s jab. Plant was winning rounds jabbing and countering, but he never seemed like he wanted to get Medina out of there.

In the late rounds, Plant remained in control, always boxing, always safe. Medina showed a ton of heart and desire, but could not make inroads against Plant’s defensive footwork. Going twelve rounds for the first time in his career, Caleb Plant earned the decision 120-108, 119-109, 117-111, running his record to a perfect 17-0.

In earlier action, US Olympian Carlos Balderas (3-0, 3 KOs) showcased his elite-level skills, outpointing Jorge Rojas (4-2-1, 2 KOs) in a four-round lightweight bout. Prior to the televised bouts, Detroit’s Tony Harrison (25-2, 20 KOs) stopped George Sosa (15-12, 15 KOs) in the fifth round, for Harrison’s second win since losing to Jarrett “Swift” Hurd in February of 2017.

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PBC on Fox Preview: Devon Alexander vs. Victor Ortiz

Posted on 02/16/2018

By: Eric Lunger

Former welterweight world champions Victor Ortiz and Devon Alexander look to climb back into the top echelons of the division, as they face off on Saturday night in a twelve-round welterweight bout, live on Fox at 8:00 p.m. ET.

Photo Credit: Alen Mena/PBC

Ortiz (32-6-2, 25 KOs) held the WBC title in 2011, losing it to Floyd Mayweather on a bizarre knock out, after Ortiz had inexplicably head-butted Mayweather and was still attempting to apologize. Ortiz, 31, has been erratic since then, winning three and losing three over a five-year span, but he is coming off a fourth-round knockout of Saul Corral in July of last year. A southpaw with a fluid and entertaining style, Ortiz is a pressure fighter who can leave himself open to being countered.

“I’m ready to give all I have to get my crown back,” Ortiz said via PBC press release. “My priority is to make a strong comeback and put myself in position to have my straps once more. I’m facing a great fighter in Devon Alexander and someone I have known since we were kids. I don’t hate him, but I won’t be his friend on fight night.”

Alexander, also 31, won the IBF welterweight title in November 2012, but lost it a year later, in his second defense of the belt, to Shawn Porter. Alexander held the IBF and WBC super lightweight titles in 2010-2011. The St. Louis native is a southpaw as well, and he brings to the ring a well-rounded style with solid defense and potent offense. Alexander has a strong jab and a dangerous straight left, but he can also bang the body with the left hook.

After battling some on-and-off health issues over the last three years, Alexander is eager to get back on track. Coming off a UD victory over Walter Castillo in November, a big win Saturday night could jump start his career. “I’m excited to get back in there against a fighter like Victor Ortiz,” Alexander told PBC. “My speed, quickness, and smarts will win me this fight. Victor checks out sometimes when he can’t hit you, so my skills will be the difference.”

With fights against Amir Khan, Marcos Maidana, and Timothy Bradley on his resume, Alexander is no stranger to the big stage. Both he and Ortiz have a lot of hard-earned experience between them; both of them are very talented. The fight should come down to which fighter can impose his game plan on the other.

In the co-main event, undefeated prospect Caleb “Sweet Hands” Plant (16-0, 10 KOs) will take on tough veteran Rogelio Medina (38-8, 32 KOs) in a twelve-round world title eliminator at 168 pounds. At super welterweight, Detroit’s Tony Harrison (25-2, 20 KOs) will face off against Jorge Cota (27-2, 24 KOs) of Mexico in a ten rounder. Harrison, a real technician of the sport, was stopped by Jarrett Hurd in February of last year in an IBF title fight. In addition, 2016 US Olympian Carlos Balderas will appear in a lightweight special attraction.

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Victor Ortiz: On the Comeback Trail against Devon Alexander

Posted on 01/25/2018

By: Eric Lunger​

​Premier Boxing Champions have recently announced that Victor “Vicious” Ortiz, former WBC welterweight world champion, will continue his comeback in a twelve-round bout against Devon Alexander, set for February 17 in El Paso, Texas. Alexander (27-4, 14 KOs) is also a former world champion, having held the IBF belt in 2013 before losing it to Shawn Porter.

​Ortiz (32-6-2, 25 KOs) has always struck me as an enigmatic fighter: a man who both revels in and fears the violence unleashed by his boxing skills. Ortiz came to boxing from a rough childhood, a thing not unique in this sport by any means, but Ortiz’s journey was especially marked by hardship and adversity. Nonetheless, he found boxing, and Roberto Garcia found him, and Ortiz climbed to the heights of the sport, eventually taking on Marcos Maidana for the interim WBA junior welterweight title in June of 2009.

​In that wild and memorable bout, both fighters were on the canvas multiple times, but Ortiz, having suffered a cut in the fifth and knocked down in the sixth, lost by TKO when the ring-side physician would not allow him to continue. Some felt Ortiz had quit in the fight, and Ortiz took a lot of criticism in the media for the way the fight ended. But the fight, in my view, was really over at the end of the fifth, when Ortiz took two thunderous shots from Maidana and was, essentially, out on his stool.

​In 2011, Ortiz defended his WBC strap against Floyd Mayweather. After failing to land any effective shots on the elusive Mayweather, Ortiz bizarrely, but with savage intent, head-butted his opponent in the fourth round. Bewildered and baffled by what he had done, Ortiz kept trying to apologize and make amends. As he did so, he apparently did not see the referee’s gesture to continue boxing, and Mayweather unceremoniously knocked him out.

​Ortiz’s ambivalent approach to this brutal sport was on display again in the second Berto fight in April of 2016. Ortiz looked good early, and scored a punishing knock down in the second round. But if you watch the fight closely, Ortiz kept trying to touch gloves at the end of the rounds, as if to assure Berto that his animosity was not personal. It’s as though “Vicious” Victor wants to mollify his boxing with a touch of kindness.

​Ortiz presents an odd combination: a boxer with elite hand speed, coordination, and power, and yet he also possesses a temperament that seems to both embrace and abhor the violence inherent in the sport. Maybe boxing is a simple sport pursued by complicated people.

​I’ve always enjoyed watching Victor Ortiz. His style is entertaining and, at times, elegant in its fluidity and logic. A man who had to grow up while still a child, a man whom life has kicked around pretty hard, and a man who found stunning success and bitter failure in boxing, this man is returning to the ring on February 17th. I don’t buy notions of redemption in sport. Redemption is bigger than athletics, and we will never really understand what demons Victor Ortiz had to face down outside the ring. Walk a mile in another man’s shoes before you understand him – it’s a good rule to try to live by. Which Victor Ortiz will we see on February 17? The consummate southpaw with punching power in both hands, or the reluctant combatant? Or maybe both.

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PBC on FS1 Recap: Impressive Return for Devon Alexander

Posted on 11/22/2017

by B.A. Cass

After taking twenty-five months off and going through rehab for opioid addiction, the former two-division champion Devon Alexander dominated Walter Castillo over ten rounds, proving that he deserves to fight the best talent in his division.

Photo Credit: Douglas DeFelice / Premier Boxing Champions

The first round was slow but somehow still exciting. That’s because it was highly entertaining to watch the skilled and intelligent Devon Alexander expertly control the pace. Both fighters employed the jab. But it was Alexander who was waiting for Castillo, appraising him. Towards the end of the round, Alexander caught Castillo with a sharp left. It got Castillo’s attention.

During the second round, Alexander remained patient, sharp, and calculated. He was able to slip and back away from most of Castillo’s punches. And then Alexander landed a brutal combination—jab, uppercut, right—knocking Castillo flat on his ass.

Castillo tried to get back control during the third round, but all he managed to do was get his opponent in a clinch. The referee had to remind Castillo not to hold down Alexander’s head.

Frustrated, Castillo started the fourth round by apparently trying to give his opponent a noogie. He also hit Alexander in the face with his elbow. The referee caught this and informed Castillo that, if he did it again, he would deduct two points. Seconds later, the referee had to remind Castillo to avoid low blows. The round ended with the two fighters engaging at close distance in the center of the ring.

Castillo was busy during the fifth round, but he was not controlling the action. He caught Alexander with a straight left, which snapped Alexander’s head back. There was an accidental headbutt, and Castillo made a theatrical display of being hurt. It’s always a bad sign when a boxer starts looking for the referee’s help. “You got a bump, no cut,” the referee told Castillo, and the fight continued.

By the sixth round, the only hope Castillo had was to make the fight into a brawl. But Alexander found his distance, and Castillo started swinging—swinging wildly ad missing. Alexander’s confidence was on supreme display. He dropped his hands, hoping the aggressive and frustrated Castillo would make a wrong move.

In between the sixth and seventh rounds, Keith Thurman, who was seated in the front row, noted how great it was to see Devon Alexander back in action. “Calm and confident” is how he described Alexander’s performance.

As the seventh round commenced, Alexander began to dance around the ring. He was clearly the superior fighter. He threw punches at different angles, stifling the less dynamic Castillo.

It was during the eighth round that Castillo’s frustration reached its peak. He got Alexander into a headlock and then punched the top of his head. And then in the ninth round, Castillo used his elbow once again.

But none of these dirty tricks worked. Alexander reigned supreme during the tenth and final round, landing solid shots to the body and hardly looking fatigued.

Devon Alexander put on a beautiful performance and won by unanimous decision.

As for the fight between Miguel Cruz and David Grayton—the referee certainly had his hands full with these two boxers.

Early in the fight, Cruz nearly knocked down Grayton, but Grayton tackled Cruz, and both went down. By doing so, he avoided being given a count. Grayton continually employed his most powerful shot—the “accidental” headbutt. As a result, by the fifth round, there was a substantial cut about Cruz’s right eye and his left eye was visibly swollen.

It was a dynamic fight. One moment, the fighters were engaging in a battle of jabs and in the next they got were tangled up, both unleashing vicious body shots and uppercuts. The referee had to repeatedly—almost exhaustively—stop them from clinching and wrestling.

During the sixth round, Cruz scored a knockdown by way of a jab and by putting a bit of downward pressure on a doubled-over Grayton’s head.

But Grayton endured. In fact, he didn’t even seem fazed. He came back from the knockdown and forced Cruz to fight at close range, landing a beautiful jab to the face.

Grayton began the seventh round looking focused and immediately landed a series of fast combinations. They two fighters slugged it out on the ropes. If you had just tuned in, you would have never known that Grayton had just been knocked down. Grayton looked eager, pleased to be fighting. Cruz seemed to be tiring.

There was a bit more wrestling in the eighth round. Grayton focused on the body. Once again, he headbutted Cruz, causing a cut to open up above the right eye. Blood streamed down the right side of his face.

Grayton came on strong in the night round, landing a sharp 1-2 to the face. But Cruz countered with a strong straight right hand. Cruz ended the round strong, landing a big right.

During the first thirty seconds of the tenth round, Cruz seemed to be wasting time. He was noticeably tired. He forced Grayton into a clinch and then stood there, his arms limp as he used his body weight to push Grayton against the ropes. Cruz later slipped because of a foot tangle. But he emerged feeling strong, and the two engaged in a battle of jabs before slugging it out until the sound of the bell.

It was a close, well-matched fight, but even so, it was no surprise that Cruz won. Even though he looked worse for the wear, the damaged he sustained was mostly due to Grayton’s consistent use of the headbutt. Still, it was an entertaining fight. Grayton lost, but he wasn’t truly defeated. I’ll be interested to see both boxers fight again.

Follow B.A. Cass on Twitter @WiththePunch

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PCB on FS1 Preview: Devon Alexander vs. Walter Castillo; Miguel Cruz vs. David Grayton

Posted on 11/20/2017

by B.A. Cass

Tomorrow, Tuesday, Nov 21, Premier Boxing Champions brings us another Toe-to -Toe Tuesday on FS1. The fights will take place at The Coliseum in St. Petersburg, Florida. The TV coverage is set to begin at 8 PM EST.

The main event will be between the evenly matched Devon Alexander and Walter Castillo. The co-main event will be between Miguel Cruz and David Grayton.

Miguel Cruz (16-0) vs. David Grayton (15-1-1); Welterweight

In his most recent fight, the twenty-seven-year-old Cruz dropped his opponent, Alex Martin, multiple times. The first of these knockdowns came by way of a sharp left. Cruz and Martin had fought previously. Cruz won their first fight by split decision. His second victory over Martin was more decisive; he did not KO Martin, but at least won by unanimous decision.

As for Grayton, he last fought seven months ago against Kermit Cintron. Grayton failed to defeat a much older Cintron. It could be argued that Grayton was on his way to winning before the referee called off the fight due to a headbutt in the fifth round. After all, Gray had already dropped Cintron in that round. However, this knockdown came only after only after a severe shot to the back of the head.

Cruz employs an effective power jab and knows how to land powerful hooks to the body. Grayton will have to be fast on his feet if he hopes to avoid the fate of Alex Martin.

Expect at least one major headbutt from the southpaw Grayton, who is seems to employ the “accidental” headbutt almost as often as he employs his jab.

Devon Alexander (26-4) vs. Walter Castillo (26-4-1); Welterweight

When Alexander and Castillo step into the ring to face each other tomorrow night, it will be the first time either man has fought for over a year and a half.

Alexander, the former two-division champion, was once thought of one of the up-and-coming boxers of his generation. His first career loss came when he faced William Bradley Jr., but rebounded from that defeat to score a unanimous decision win over Marcos Maidana. However, he soon lost his IBF title to Shawn Porter. The Porter fight was close, but Alexander has not been able to regain his career momentum. He fought Amir Khan, and though he was undamaged during that fight, Alexander was unable to contend with his opponent’s speed.

Alexander’s last fight was against Aaron Martinez. Going into the fight, he was thought to have a decent shot at winning, but he lost because he fought on Martinez’s terms. Instead of boxing, he decided to brawl with Martinez. Alexander rarely employed the jab and Martinez repeatedly went to the body, tiring out Alexander, before landing well-timed jabs and rights to the face in later rounds.

Castillo is coming off a loss at the hands of Sergey Lipinets. In the third round against Lipinets, Castillo seemed to have Lipinets in trouble. Landing fast combinations, he cornered Lipinets against the ropes. But Lipinets remained unfazed and undamaged. Lipinets, clearly the stronger man, scored a seventh round TKO win.

Castillo is a year younger than Alexander, which gives him, at least in theory, a slight advantage. But he’s moving up seven pounds to fight Alexander, and it remains to be seen if he can be as powerful and effective in a higher weight class.

The odds for this fight, to my mind, are fifty-fifty. Only the winner will have a chance to get their career back on track. They both know that and will fight accordingly.

Follow B.A. Cass on Twitter @WiththePunch

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Vaughn Alexander Interview: “My overall plan is to be the best middleweight in the world”

Posted on 06/12/2017

Vaughn Alexander Interview: “My overall plan is to be the best middleweight in the world”
By: Matthew N. Becher

​Vaughn Alexander is a 9-0 prospect from St. Louis Missouri who will be fighting on the undercard of the June 17th, HBO pay per view between Sergey Kovalev and Andre Ward. Alexander’s story is a bit different, since he is 31 years old and still a prospect. He was an up and comer on the rise in 2005 when he was sent to prison for armed robbery, 11 years later he is back to where he left off. The brother of 3x world champion Devon Alexander, we spoke with Vaughn about his past, his upcoming fight and what his future in boxing has in store.


Boxing Insider: So could you tell us a little about your background and coming back from an 11 year hiatus to the sport?

Vaughn Alexander: I’ve been fighting since I was 8 years old. I was one of the top amateurs in the world. I turned pro in 2004, I was signed to Don King promotions. I had 5 fights. I was 5-0 before I went to prison. I went to prison in 2005. In the 11 years that I was in prison I learned a lot, mentally, spiritually and I kept myself right physically.

Boxing Insider: How do you stay in fighting shape while incarcerated?

Vaughn Alexander: I ran a lot. Of course they didn’t have any of the things the outside world have, since they stopped boxing in prison a long time ago. I just did any and all things to keep my body strong. I ate right, I didn’t eat any junk or things that keep your body down. I just basically did everything I could, in the 11 years I was in prison.

Boxing Insider: Is it hard mentally to start over as a prospect again, being that you are now 31?

Vaughn Alexander: No. I feel that everybody goes through things. It’s just that I had to go to prison. That was just something in my life that I had to go to. Everybody makes mistakes, but they don’t all have to go to prison. I had to go to prison to become the man I am today. I have lots of patience that I didn’t have before. I have a lot of knowledge that I acquired in those eleven years. I always had a good work ethic, but I feel that I gained a proper work ethic dealing with myself. If it is dealing with people or dealing with my training, or anything I had to deal with, I’m 100% better to deal with because of the man I am today.

Boxing Insider: Your brother became a world champ while you were away. Has he given you any words of advice or wisdom in your comeback?

Vaughn Alexander: No, not really. I mean, you can’t give advice to someone that was doing what he was doing at the same time. It’s just that he became a world champion while I was in prison. The fact of it is, I am so proud of my brother for that. I’m proud of him in that sense, but me and Devan are two different people. I just go by the things I learned from my own mistakes. It’s just some things you have to learn on your own. You can accept peoples advice, but if people haven’t gone through the things you’ve went through. Me and Devan didn’t really talk a lot when I was in prison. That was my time to get myself together.

Boxing Insider: What advantages will you have over Fabiano Pena, who is younger and has more ring experience?

Vaughn Alexander: No one in the middleweight division has more experience than me. I feel that I was gone for 11 years, but I gained so much knowledge. I feel that these guys in 11 years were getting beat on, I wasn’t. I was eating right, working out while they were getting beat on. I’m fresh and I’m just ready to put myself in a position to fight one of these top guys. I’m not looking over this guy, trust me, every fighter has a punchers chance. And the likelihood of this guy beating me is slim to none, because I trained so hard and I’m coming in June 17th to get this guy out of there.

Boxing Insider: What are your overall plans in boxing, now that you are back?

Vaughn Alexander: My overall plan is to be the best middleweight in the world. I don’t just want to be one of the best. You got these people that are politically correct saying they want to be “one of the best”, nah, I’m trying to be the best middleweight in the world. That is my goal and that is what I’m trying to accomplish. I’m taking steps right now, with Main Events behind me to accomplish that.

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Interview with Delvin Rodriguez: “I feel stronger than ever”

Posted on 07/21/2016

Interview with Delvin Rodriguez: “I feel stronger than ever”
By: Matthew N. Becher

​Delvin Rodriguez is a Jr. Middleweight that is in his 17th professional year as a boxer. He has a combined record of 28 wins, 8 losses and 4 draws. He has fought for a world title twice, coming up short against Austin Trout in 2012 and most recently against Erislandy Lara in June of last year.


​Rodriguez will begin his journey towards a world championship again, when he takes on Shawn Cameron this Saturday at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut. Rodriguez took some time to speak with Boxing Insider about his upcoming fight and his future in boxing.

Boxing Insider: You’ve been pro for seventeen years now. Why do you continue to fight this late in your career?

Delvin Rodriguez: First of all, the reason is that I feel healthy, I am healthy. I feel stronger than ever. I think that is the main reason I continue fighting. I love the sport, even though I hate to lose. I feel that I have a lot to give to the sport, and I want to get that one more fight. Hopefully I can get that one more title shot. I think I have a very good chance, next time, to accomplish for so many years, which is to get a good fight.

Boxing Insider: You’ve been in two world title fights. Is winning a world title a personal thing, to cement your own legitimacy in the sport?

Delvin Rodriguez: Yes, that is my personal goal right now. It would be the biggest accomplishment in my life. At this age, to get a world title. I’m a very realistic person. If I felt that I didn’t have it anymore, I would give it up, but that is not the case. I never felt like I had fights that I got beat up, and I just feel great. I think people are gonna start seeing the old me, where I was with my old trainer, where I was aggressive and strong. I’m bringing all that back to the ring.

Boxing Insider: Win or Lose, you are heading toward the end of your career. What would you like to do after boxing?

Delvin Rodriguez: I’ve been a commentator with ESPN for six years now and I just started commentating for HBO about seven months ago. That is something I am looking forward to pursuing full time. It will keep me around boxing, something that I love.

Boxing Insider: Okay, so let’s switch over and put your commentator hat on. Who do you see right now that could be the next big star in the sport?

Delvin Rodriguez: Crawford. He has already dominated one class and now he’s stepped up. I think he’ll be the next star. He has a lot of technique, he is mean in the ring, and he can really punch with both hands. You will see a lot out of him in the next year.

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Always On The Cusp: Shawn Porter

Posted on 06/20/2016

Always On The Cusp: Shawn Porter
By: Brandon Bernica

Shawn Porter sits on the brink of stardom. Coming into Saturday’s high-powered matchup with fellow rising star Keith Thurman, Porter is familiar with his own burgeoning prospects. Yet like many fallen stars in the boxing universe, prospects often diverge from how reality actually plays out.


See, a look into Shawn’s past, and you can earmark numerous instances where he appeared ready to break out. He held his own in sparring with the great Manny Pacquiao during the Pacman’s prime, casting hopes on his future potential. But it took longer than expected for his career to catch the break it needed. He finally won a world title against Devon Alexander in 2013. After obliterating Paulie Malignaggi in a menacing 4th round knockout, Porter’s career looked poised for greatness. Then, Kell Brook took Porter’s belt in an upset victory, forcing him to reassess his journey in the sport.

Most fighters would slump after losing their aura of invincibility, but Porter took it in stride. He went on to defeat Adrien Broner in the Battle for Ohio last June. Once again, Porter’s career projected highly. So what exactly was his reward for winning such a high-profile fight? A year lay-off. Porter can attribute that year’s worth of missed earnings to Al Haymon, who inexplicably ignored his rise in favor of Broner’s marketability. What was arguably the biggest win of his career turned into stifled momentum.

What is holding “Showtime” back? Is it fate’s cruel vendetta against him? Or were his losses that untimely and impactful? My guess is that it’s a little bit of both. While his defeats cost him an unscathed record, many fighters in the sport take greater hits with lesser resumes to fall back on. And his persona? Charming nice-guy, engaging, likable. Though the sport often favors the villains that can turn hatred into viewership, there isn’t any reason why a talented good-guy who’s well-spoken can’t fit into boxing’s diverse narrative.

One thing we know about Shawn, though: he relishes the doubts. You can see it in the way he fights with his head down, pushing the pressure like a man unwilling to accept mediocrity. Somehow, that lack of fulfillment drives him to find one more shot at glory. And that shot may stand in the form of Keith Thurman come Saturday night.

Keith finds himself in the same predicament as Shawn, grasping for the upper echelons. Perhaps the stature Thurman he carries, along with the respect earned from beating him are the hurdles needed for Porter’s breakout performance. After all, Batman didn’t earn his name destroying weak minions and guards; he fought bosses and won a legacy. Shawn will have to carefully push the pace against a dangerous puncher in Thurman if he wants to make the most of this opportunity. Much like Porter’s career, this fight is craving for someone to take charge and control the action. Maybe it’s finally time for Shawn to grow into both capacities.

Shawn Porter happens to be from Cleveland, Ohio. Cleveland sports struggle to garner the same respect Porter often does from fans. In the midst of a recent 52 year title drought, the city felt cursed, narrowly missing championships year after year. The truth is, sometimes fate IS cruel. But Sunday night, LeBron James gave a virtuoso performance, shelling out every inch of effort to break this status quo and lead the Cleveland Cavaliers to a victory. Maybe Porter is ready to trample the expectations as well. Maybe skill does eventually supersede misfortune. If desire is any prerequisite, there’s no doubting that he will follow in LeBron’s footsteps to glory soon.

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