By Derek Bonnett: When Michael Brodie makes his return to the ring on August 21, the Manchester, England native will be expecting to use Mark "The Flash" Alexander as a steppingstone to shed some rust after a four year hiatus, which began after three ill-fated featherweight world title attempts against In-Jin Chi (twice) and Scott Harrison. Brodie, 35-3-1 (23), will have the support of the Manchester faithful at the Velodrome now as a junior lightweight. Brodie’s story will be the highlight of the night.
Or will it?
Alexander, a thirty-three year old from London, is more confident in his ability to throw a monkey wrench into the favorite’s plans, than any 8-3 (0) veteran in recent memory. According to "The Flash", who received this name from a Venezuelan reporter observing him in an international amateur tournament, 2009 will be his year.
"I’m a fighter. I eat and sleep boxing is what I do," Alexander professed. "I will not stop until I get what’s mine; nothing can stop my hunger. The Michael Brodie fight means a lot to me because I have never had the opportunity or the big break in boxing a lot boxers in England have had. I have boxed all around the world as an amateur in the Pan American Games and Olympic Qualifiers and have beaten some good fighters."
Opportunity arrives for few underprivileged professional boxers and even fewer are able to deliver when the time does come. However, Alexander may be obtaining his big chance under very favorable circumstances since he’s fought the bulk of his career in the time Brodie has been inactive. On top of Brodie’s inactivity, one has to go back even further to 2003 to find his last victory, a unanimous decision over Juan Gerardo Cabrera.
"I’m 8-3 at this time and [even though] I don’t have any knockouts, I have the power to knock people out. I’m the type of fighter who will get to you in the later rounds," Alexander explained. "The thing is, I have experience not on record. I’m a very slick fighter with true skills. My style is hard to work out and Brodie will see on fight night that I’ve boxed all styles. Brodie on paper is my toughest test, but I’m a super featherweight. I am ready for anybody. If you want to know how good of a fighter I am, ask Emanuel Steward. He will tell all that all I needed is a chance."
Alexander gained some valuable experience while training at the Kronk Gym in Detroit in the past. He was quick to point out that some of his sparring footage under the watchful eye of Steward is available to be viewed on YouTube by simply searching his name.
Fighting Brodie and the eleven other opponents Alexander has met in the ring are only a part of battle he has waged since turning professional in 2001. According to "The Flash", his most formidable opponent has been the English boxing system.
"The top managers and promoters in the game are not helping me out. [They’re] holding me back," Alexander explained. "The boxing game is run by two top promoters. If you’re not with them, it’s hard to have a career. It’s not about how good you are, it’s about who you know. Sometimes the best of people don’t make it. To this day, I don’t understand why I wasn’t promoted properly in the beginning. I’ve been mistreated, badly promoted, and disrespected since day one. It’s me against the machine system."
Along with his own career passion, Alexander follows the current practitioners and has been influenced by many past greats. He counts Ray Leonard, Mark Breland, Tommy Hearns, and James Toney among his ring heroes. Alexander also had this to say about some of the most active topics in UK boxing at this moment.
Junior Witter’s quitting in his world title fight against America’s Devon Alexander?
"Junior just had a man who he knew on that night could beat him."
The current form and health of Ricky Hatton?
" Ricky Hatton’s been fighting a long time now. If he still has the fire in him to win at top level, then let him fight."
The future and legitimacy of Amir Khan?
"Amir Khan has a good team around him. He will always get a break. Good or bad, he has the game locked."
Without fully knowing Alexander’s plight, one can understand his anger at not receiving the full opportunity he feels he deserves. His commitment to the sport is clear and to be held back from excelling in the thing you love most can be devastating to one’s motivation.
"Not many up and coming fighters would have stayed in the boxing business as long as I have with all the politics going on, but I have stayed strong and know my time will come," Alexander affirmed. "There are a lot of good fighters in the world of boxing that nobody gets to see. I am one: Mark "The Flash" Alexander."