By Jason Pribila – Ringside at Barclays Center: December 7, 2013 had been circled on Devon Alexander’s calendar for months. This was the date he was supposed to take on Amir Khan, and stake his claim as the potential May opponent for Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Khan and Alexander were unable to come to an agreement, so in stepped Shawn Porter. Porter was a hot prospect, but two fights ago he was lucky to excape with a Draw against a faded Julio “Kidd” Diaz. So no one could blame Alexander if he saw this bout as a little bit of a letdown.
Many felt going into the fight that Alexander would have a bit too much of everything for Porter: experience, speed, skill, and power. When at his best he keeps opponents off balance with a piston like jab. Porter, the stalkier fighter, would need to get inside and try to make the fight as rough and ugly as possible. In order to get inside, Porter often leaps into his punches; which of course, would make head-butts inevitable.
In the third round Porter made his presence felt when he momentarily wobbled Alexander against the ropes. Porter punctuated the round with a counter left that found its way to Alexander’s chin.
Porter kept the momentum when he landed a combination to start the fourth. Alexander stood his ground and both fighters traded in a fight that was give and take.
Both fighters battled for distance as the fight continued. Alexander was more successful at controlling the distance and tying up Porter when he tried to get inside.
Porter remained determined, and while many rounds were close and tough to score. Porter would land the flashier punches that clearly caught the judges eyes.
The fight seemed to be losing steam is it reached the championship rounds. In fact, press row began to buzz about the action being reported on twitter.com regarding the Kirkland-Tapia slugfest taking place in Atlantic City.
The final punch stats showed an evenly contested fight. Porter threw 14 more punches (184-169) and landed 15 more (184-169). But Alexander was credited with landing 5 more power punches.
The final scores of 115-113, 116-112, and 116-112 were read and the welterweight division had a new titlist, Shawn Porter.
It seems years ago that Porter was a fast rising fighter honing his craft on the station’s ShoBox series. This victory should put him in a higher tax bracket, and if it is true that a fighter improves once he becomes a “champion”, Porter could be a nice B-Side against the winner of the evening’s main event between Judah and Malignaggi, or even against the winner of next weekend’s Broner-Maidana clash.
For Alexander a disappointment turned into a nightmare. However, his career has been spent spinning its tires. From years of dying on the vine waiting for Don King to actually promote him, to suffering his loss to Timothy Bradley, and then finally failing to land a big fight despite holding a title.
Here’s hoping this loss will make Alexander go for broke. Take risks, sit down on your punches, and make a final run at a career defining fight.
Jason Pribila is a full voting member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He could be reached for questions or comments at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter.com @PribsBoxing.