COMMENTARY | Newly-crowned IBF welterweight titlist, Devon Alexander, is looking to parlay his victory in one of the flattest welterweight title fights in recent memory into a big ticket blockbuster with either Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao. And while day dreaming of mid-seven figure paydays, the St. Louis native seems to be overlooking his mandatory challenger-- the UK's Kell Brook.
One can only assume that the new IBF champ is still in a state of exhaustion after all of the running and swatting at air he did last Saturday against former champ, Randall Bailey.
"I'm looking for bigger and better fights like Mayweather and Pacman," Alexander told World Boxing News. "I don't know who my mandatory is and who's not, but I will see what's next pretty soon. I'm not sure what the plan is, but I don't count anybody out at this stage."
Instead of a PEDs test, somebody please get this kid a Rorschach test and a couple of attending psychologists. There has to be something wrong with someone who thinks that a performance like he had last Saturday at the new Barclays Center in Brooklyn could be used as a stepping stone to a major title fight with one of the sport's biggest stars.
If Alexander had looked dominant, there might be the slightest hint of a case to be made for a major bout. Even a flat performance against a division star could be justified in the pursuit of a bigger fight and bigger payday next time.
But Alexander looked flat against Randall Bailey, a fighter who, himself, was only world champ by the grace of two big shots landed on Mike Jones in a bout for the vacant IBF strap-- a contest Jones was clearly winning until he was dropped in the tenth round and stopped in the eleventh.
The 38-year-old Bailey was there to be hit by Alexander. He was there to be stopped. If there ever was a matchmaking set-up, this was it.
Instead, Alexander played track star and fought in abject terror, as though Bailey were made of angry bees, boring the ringside fans and creating a 40-minute bathroom break for those watching at home. And now the 25-year-old feels like the win should elevate him to the division's main stage?
Realistically, there are some decent bouts for him, although it would be interesting to see how a Devon Alexander vs. anyone fight could be sold to the public after his Ambien-coated anti-classic with Bailey. In terms of competitive ability, he could be matched favorably against WBA champ, Paulie Malignaggi or against the winner of Robert Guerrero-Andre Berto.
But the new champ has a mandatory defense hanging over his head and it doesn't look as though the IBF's top challenger, Kell Brook or his management team would be willing to step aside so Alexander could pursue a more lucrative bout.
"We have now entered an official negotiation period with his team and if we can't find a middle ground then we will go to purse bids," said Brook's promoter, Eddie Hearn If I win the purse bids then Alexander has no choice but to come and fight in England or vacate the title."
Experience tells us that, unless Brook and his team decide to bend, Alexander will likely vacate as soon as there's the faintest hint of a bigger opponent than Brook on the horizon. Brook will then be signed by the IBF against the highest available ranked challenger in a bout likely held in the UK.
With or without the title belt, the big question circles around how to repackage Alexander and his busted reputation into something fans will be willing to watch again. With four of his last five fights ending in one (or two) of the three: controversy, a loss, or tepid in-ring performance, the sales job from his promoter, Golden Boy, will have to be outstanding.
Alexander will no doubt get another big fight-- well-connected fighters invariably do. Hopefully, though, he remembers that the reason he can keep making money is because, at the other end of the sport's business structure, fans are willing to see him perform.
Forget about Mayweather and Pacquiao-- Alexander should focus on making Devon Alexander someone worth watching. The kid can fight-- he just, way too often, doesn't.
Paul Magno was a licensed official in the state of Michoacan, Mexico, and a close follower of the sport for more than 30 years. His work can also be found on Fox Sports and The BoxingTribune. In the past, Paul has done work for Inside Fights, The Queensberry Rules and Eastside Boxing.
Phil D. Jay, Alexander: I want bigger fights like Mayweather or Pacquiao, World Boxing News
Boxingscene, Hearn To Cunningham: Not Up To You on Brook Fight