After nearly taking down Robert Guerrero, Aron Martinez figures to provide a stiff test for Devon Alexander

Devon Alexander got a preview of what to expect from Aron Martinez thanks to the Mexican-American’s disputed split-decision loss to Robert Guerrero in June.

Devon Alexander and Aron Martinez

Both Devon Alexander, left, and Aron Martinez have something to prove in their 147-pound bout tonight in Glendale, Arizona. (Lucas Noonan/Premier Boxing Champions)

Martinez traded toe-to-toe with Guerrero, often forcing the former world champion to the ropes. There, Martinez’s combinations raised swelling beneath Guerrero’s left eye after two rounds; his crisp uppercuts caused a third-round nosebleed; and his bludgeoning head and body blows floored Guerrero in the fourth.

It was an impressive showing by Martinez, who had been out of the ring for more than 13 months following his April 2014 loss to Josesito Lopez by fifth-round TKO. But apparently not impressive enough for two of the three judges, who scored the 10-round fight in Guerrero’s favor by scores of 95-94 and 97-92. The third judge gave the nod to Martinez, 95-94.

“It felt good to knock down Guerrero. Everyone underestimates my power,” said the 33-year-old Martinez, previously known for counterpunching from a retreating posture. “I believe I beat him. I haven’t met one single person who didn’t think I won.”

Aron Martinez (19-4-1, 4 KOs) will get another shot at upsetting a marquee opponent tonight when he squares off against Devon Alexander (26-3, 14 KOs), loser of two of his past three fights entering their main-event clash at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona (ESPN, 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).

I believe I beat Robert Guerrero. I haven’t met one single person who didn’t think I won. Aron Martinez, who lost a split decision to Guerrero in June

Rest assured that Alexander saw what Martinez did to Guerrero, and thus has the utmost respect for his opponent.

“After he lost to Lopez, it definitely helped to study Martinez’s strength, motivation and aggression against Guerrero,” said Alexander, 28, a two-division title winner. “I'm not taking him lightly. I expect a good fight.”

So does Alexander’s trainer.

“I’ve watched some of Martinez’s other fights, and he didn’t bring the action as much but tried to box from the outside,” said Kevin Cunningham, who has worked with Alexander his entire career. “I guess he felt comfortable stepping to Guerrero. I thought he won that fight.”

Martinez certainly should enter tonight's bout with supreme confidence, not only because of what he did to Guerrero but because he knows his opponent can be defeated: Alexander has dropped two of his last three bouts—a pair of one-sided unanimous decisions against Shawn Porter in December 2013 and to Amir Kahn in December.

“I have to take care of Alexander,” said Martinez, a Mexico native who now resides in East Los Angeles. “My style is to fight. Hopefully he stands and exchanges with me, but if he doesn't we have a good game plan to box him.”

Likewise, Cunningham said Alexander will be ready for whatever Martinez brings to the ring.

“Martinez showed [against Guerrero] that he can give you serious problems, but we’ll see how he fights backing up, because Devon won’t be,” Cunningham said. “With Devon having been off for 10 months after the loss to Khan, he needs a solid win to make a statement and get right back into the mix with the other top [147-pound] fighters.”

Indeed, Alexander is hoping to resurrect the fighter whose résumé includes back-to-back decisions over Argentine sluggers Lucas Matthysse and Marcos Maidana within an eight-month span—June 2011 and February 2012, respectively.

“Losing’s not an option,” said Alexander, who held a 140-pound world title from August 2009 until falling to Timothy Bradley in January 2011 in his first loss as a pro. “I want to leave a good impression in the people’s minds and make a statement by mixing it up with my speed and power.

“The fast, elusive, powerful Devon Alexander is back. When I'm focused like this, nobody can beat me.”

For complete coverage of Alexander vs Martinez, check out our fight page.

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