Veteran survives heavyweight slugfest that featured alternating first-round knockdowns.
Both Travis Kauffman and Scott Alexander were on the verge of an early night, as each guy tasted the canvas in the opening round of their PBC on FS1 main event Sunday in Lancaster, California.
Kauffman put Alexander down following an overhand right halfway through the opening frame. Alexander—a late replacement for Antonio Tarver—turned the tide with a massive left hook, putting Kauffman down hard in the round's closing seconds.
Both guys made it out of the round and the fight surprisingly went the full 10 rounds, with Kauffman earning a slim majority decision over Alexander, who took the fight on a week's notice. Scores were 96-94 twice in favor of Kauffman, overruling a 95-95 score.
"I knew it was a close fight, closer than what I thought," Kauffman said after the fight. "I thought I had it by two rounds but I'm fighting a hometown kid and a very durable kid."
Alexander acquitted himself well, landing some short hooks on the inside that kept Kauffman off kilter. The two traded a high volume of punches for heavyweights, with Alexander seemingly being a bit more active.
Kauffman (32-2, 23 knockouts) did his best work when he pressed Alexander against the ropes, though he often backed up when he could have put together more offense. Perhaps Kauffman was weary of the left hand that Alexander landed in that first round.
It seemed as though Alexander (14-3-2, 8 KOs) had a decent lead past the halfway point in the fight and took the seventh round off. The two traded good shots down the stretch but it looked as though Alexander did the better overall work. The judges disagreed, and Kauffman got the win.
The two packed as much action in the 10th as they did in the opening round—minus the knockdowns. Both heavyweights traded heavy shots in the final ten seconds.
"He got up from that knockdown and I knew he was hurt, he was hurt bad," Kauffman said of the earlier knockdown. "He came back and knocked me down. I've been in with Chris Arreola who is a huge puncher and couldn't knock me down. I've been in there with Amir Mansour who is a huge puncher who couldn't knock me down."
"The kid in there had very fast hands. The whole time I'm getting ready for Antonio Tarver who is a southpaw and next thing I know 10 days before the fight I'm getting ready for an orthodox fighter who is very fast."
Kauffman was adamant before the fight that he belongs in the mix with guys like Dominic Breazeale, who was calling the fight for FS1 that night.
"I want to go home and spend some time with my kids and get back to the drawing board," Kauffman said. "I hope I'm back by October or November," the 32-year-old Kauffman said.
Washington bounces back; Hunter scores KO and Spencer puts on a quick show
Gerald Washington (19-2-1, 12 KOs) got back in the win column with a workmanlike 10-round unanimous decision over unheralded but game John Wesley Nofire (20-2, 16 KOs). Washington was coming off back-to-back losses, winning 98-91 and 97-92 twice on the cards. Washington is a former heavyweight title challenger trying to get back in the mix for a major fight
Once-beaten 2012 U.S. Olympian Michael Hunter (14-1, 9 KOs) scored a startling fifth-round knockout of Iago Kiladze (26-3, 18 KOs). It was Hunter's second fight since unsuccessfully challenging Oleksandr Usyk for the WBO cruiserweight belt last April.
Super welterweight prospect Joey Spencer (3-0, 3 KOs) scored a quick and easy first-round knockout over Tom Howard (8-8, 4 KOs), handing his opponent his seventh straight loss. The 18-year-old Spencer is just getting his career started and showed promise in getting the KO with seconds remaining in the opening round.
For a complete look at Kauffman vs Alexander, check out our fight page.