Devon Alexander got back in the win column tonight, but once again it wasn't without controversy. Alexander defeated Lucas Matthysse on split decision scores of 96-93, 95-94 and 93-96 tonight while fighting in his backyard, his second straight debatable hometown victory, sandwiching his clear loss to Timothy Bradley in January. Bad Left Hook scored it 97-92 for Matthysse, and I have no problem saying I thought this was a robbery and that Matthysse got shafted for the second time on HBO.
Usually I talk more about the facts and all that, but look, here's the thing. Alexander (22-1, 13 KO) just does not land significant punches. His jab especially is constantly short, and counting it is a mistake many made in August against Andriy Kotelnik, when I thought Kotelnik schooled Alexander badly. Tonight, Matthysse knocked Alexander down in the fourth round, and in my view clearly won the fight by doing more damage and landing far better blows, but didn't do quite as much as Kotelnik did, so of course he didn't win.
I thought this was two times the "robbery" that Sturm vs Macklin was this afternoon, yet many who scored Sturm vs Macklin for Macklin and cried robbery scored this fight for Alexander. I don't mean that the fights were similar, because they weren't. But I think those guys scored for Macklin and cried robbery in large part because the fight was in Germany with Felix Sturm, known as a jabber who doesn't inflict damage. What really happened was that Sturm wound up standing toe-to-toe with Macklin in a great fight.
That one I could have seen going either way. I had it close for Sturm for better quality of punches in many rounds, particularly in the second half of the fight. This one, Alexander very rarely landed better punches. So what gave him the fight? Was it his four inches short jab? Was it how he says "hiya!" all the time when he throws a punch? Or was it just because he was in his backyard and his fans got loud whenever he landed a decent punch, which Matthysse almost always answered?
Matthysse was the better fighter tonight. I cannot see it the other way, same as I couldn't with Kotelnik. I take my hat off to Devon Alexander for a few things. He fought a real fighter in his "comeback" from a first official loss, and another top ten fighter. He faces real competition. And he was lively all night, trying to win the fight. I just didn't think he was better than Matthysse tonight, and I think he was gifted another win in his hometown.
What's next for him? If it's in St. Louis or thereabouts, I know that unless he's knocked out, you can tip the scales heavily in his favor.