Noted Greek historian Plutarch, as vaguely quoted by infamous German philosopher and socio-financial activist Hans Gruber, said that when Alexander the Great saw the breadth of his domain he wept because there were no more worlds left to conquer.
Devon Alexander started making strides in his campaign against the 140-pound division at age 22—just about the same age as the other Alexander was marching on Persia. It’s the fight that got the ball rolling on Alexander’s Greatest Hits.
Now that he’s ensconced at 147 pounds, he’s got a few more worlds left to conquer after all, and he looks to resume his mission Wednesday against Aron Martinez at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona (ESPN and ESPN Deportes, 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).
3 vs Junior Witter, August 1, 2009, at Agua Caliente Casino in Rancho Mirage, California
“When I was a kid I had pointed to a picture my coach had in the gym,” Alexander said. “It was a picture of [former two-division champion] Azumah Nelson. He had the green belt on. I said that was the belt I wanted.”
Some of us wanted to play center field for the Yankees when we were kids, but unless Bernie Williams or Jacoby Ellsbury is reading this, none of us made that dream come true. Different story for Alexander.
Through eight rounds he hammered away at Junior Witter. It was a battle Alexander was winning, but the war was far from over. Until Witter walked across the canvas to let Alexander know the fight was over. Witter hurt his left hand and was unable to continue, making Alexander a world champion for the first time.
“I was focused on what I was doing and what he was trying to do a little bit,” Alexander said. “The eighth round came and I was still focused on the game plan. He just came over and touched me and I said ‘OK, cool.’ After the fight was over, I figured he knew he couldn’t do too much to me. I was just right there all night and he wasn’t going to do anything.”
2 vs Juan Urango, March 6, 2010, at Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut
After Alexander secured his first world championship against Witter, he could have tallied up a few comfortable title defenses before diving right back in against top competition.
Then again, he could try to collect another title, this one belonging to Juan Urango.
“Me and my coach never believed in soft touches or taking the easy way out,” Alexander said. “I don’t believe in tuneups and get-bys. I want a fight that’s going to be meaningful. I’m a throwback fighter. Throwback fighters, they fight anybody.”
Alexander was having success landing his uppercut against Urango all night, and it paid off in spades in the eighth round. Alexander caught the Colombian with one midway through the round that put him down bloody and dazed.
Urango climbed to his feet and stood with his arms raised, as if to show the shot didn’t make him any less of a champion. Six seconds later, Alexander caught him again.
“That’s the punch I knew was going to be able to hurt him or slow him down,” Alexander said. “I set it up with the one-two and came up with the uppercut. It was something he didn’t see, because it was fast. It raised him up off the ground.”
Urango again got to his feet after the second knockdown, but referee Benjy Esteves Jr. wasn’t about to chance a third uppercut and waved off the fight, giving Alexander his second world title at 140.
1 vs Marcos Maidana, February 25, 2012, at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis
In January 2011, Alexander suffered his first career loss in a title fight against Tim Bradley. Alexander couldn’t keep going after an accidental clash of heads in the 10th round, and he came up short on the technical decision.
He bounced right back with a split-decision win over tough Lucas Matthysse, and completed a Murderer’s Row of fights with a showdown against Argentinian powerhouse Marcos Maidana in a 147-pound bout.
“I was coming off a couple of lackluster performances,” Alexander said. “People were kind of like ‘OK, what happened to the Devon Alexander we knew. What happened to the fast, elusive Devon Alexander?’ Everybody thought I was going to get killed. When I fought Matthysse, they said the same thing.”
What followed was a schooling, with Alexander stymieing Maidana with crisp counters and slick defense. It was a dominant performance, earning him 100-90 marks on two cards and 99-91 on the third. As for Maidana’s vaunted power? Alexander was demure in his analysis.
“What somebody else feels might be different from what I feel, but in my opinion he had some decent power, but I wasn’t right there for him to hit me with it, so I don’t know how hard he hit. I guess he had some power, but I never felt it.”
For complete coverage of Alexander vs Martinez, visit our fight page.