For the most part, 2013 has been a year to forget for Devon Alexander. Though he still holds the IBF welterweight title, which he won in a lousy fight last October from Randall Bailey, he opened the year with a series of postponed and ultimately canceled dates against Kell Brook, and has fought just one time. Even that was a disappointment.
Not only was Alexander (25-1, 14 KO) facing a mediocre substitute opponent in Lee Purdy when he fought on May 18, but Purdy missed weight for the fight. That means that Saturday's bout with Shawn Porter will be the first time that Alexander has defended the belt he won 14 months -- knock on wood.
Perhaps sensing the possibility of a complacent vulnerability, Alexander says he's not going to take his underdog challenger lightly, and will instead try to fight like the challenger himself.
"This time, I'm putting myself in Porter's shoes," Alexander said on Tuesday at a media workout. "I know what it's like to get excited for a world title match."
The St. Louis native wasn't exactly complimentary of his foe's ability, though. "His skills are limited and I'm going to come to fight."
Expected to have a speed advantage, plus his slick southpaw style, Alexander says he'll show up fit and ready for the bout.
"I've been in camp all this time. I'm back to normal and Saturday night you'll see it," he said. "You can expect me to win and be explosive. I'm going to be smart and get the win. I know Shawn is hungry. I was in that position and now I'm in this position.
"I'm already there and I'm not losing to anybody."
If he wins as expected, Alexander would be in a prime position for a potential big fight at 147, though like everything else in American boxing, his options are limited due to the war between HBO/Top Rank and Showtime/Golden Boy. A fight with Brook could be revisited, though it would be understandable if neither side were aching to go there again. A fight with Amir Khan, which was negotiated for but fell through, could also be possible, though Khan is currently the suspected frontrunner to face Floyd Mayweather.
That said, if Alexander looks really special against Porter, maybe he would be in the mix to face Floyd on May 3, 2014, when Mayweather returns to the ring. That very idea was floated earlier this year when "The Money Team" put the word out that Mayweather would face Alexander and not Robert Guerrero, but it wound up being Guerrero. Some thought that the Mayweather team's move there was a way to make a Guerrero fight seem better.
Now, Alexander might be about as good an option as is available, if he beats Porter, and if he looks spectacular doing so. For his part, Alexander is just saying what he should say: that he'll worry about the next fight after this one.
"After this fight we can expect bigger and better things. I'll be a major player at 147," he said. "Whoever steps up to the plate next I'll fight them too. Whichever fight is available after this, that's the one I'm taking."