Despite Devon Alexander being a legitimate draw in his home city of St. Louis, Missouri, it appears that his next fight will be taking place somewhere else according to ESPN's Dan Rafael. Las Vegas looks like it will be the city of choice when Alexander takes on his IBF mandatory challenger Kell Brook on January 19. The bout will be televised by Showtime
Taking a page from the Randall Bailey school of thought, Brook and his team did not want to face Alexander in his own backyard. In fact, they even had it put into the contract to ensure the event would not take place in Missouri. Understandable, seeing what happened to Lucas Matthysse and Andriy Kotelnik when they fought Alexander, and were each on the receiving end of a questionable decision. I was cynical towards Bailey refusing to fight in Missouri because, frankly, he wouldn't defeat Alexander on points if the fight took place on Jupiter. Brook, on the other hand, makes more sense because there is a good chance it will be a very close, technical bout.
For Alexander's part, they did not want to make the journey to England. Here's what Alexander's trainer, Kevin Cunningham, had to say:
"There's no reason to have to leave the country to fight a guy who no one in America has ever heard of. That was not going to happen. I'm just happy that I have a team and a promoter that was willing to step up and make this thing happen in the States and now we're just going to work to make sure this title stays in the States."
Even though Brook is not a big name in the U.S. at this point, he is steadily growing in popularity in England. In fact, his promoter, Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing, said that he expects more than 1,000 English fans will make the flight to America to support Brook.
Having this fight in Las Vegas likely means two things. The first is that Brook should receive fair treatment from the judges. Well, fair in the sense that if he does get robbed, it at least won't be due to home cooking. It will just be your typically incompetent boxing judges.
The second thing is that the live crowd could leave much to be desired. Alexander, while a very good draw in St. Louis, simply does not move the needle anywhere else. And if you're a citizen of Las Vegas going through tough economic times, are you really going to spend your hard earned money on the guy you just watched waltz with Randal Bailey for 36 excruciating minutes? Probably not. In other words, I wouldn't be shocked at all if there are more Brook fans at this show than Alexander ones. It will be interesting, that's for sure.