HBO’s fight card on June 25th is going to be one of their better ones of the year with former WBC/WBO light welterweight champion Devon Alexander (21-1, 13 KO’s) facing knockout artist Lucas Matthysse (28-1, 26 KO’s), IBF junior middleweight champion Cornelus Bundrade (30-4, 18 KO’s) defending his title against challenger Sechew Powell (26-2, 15 KO’s), IBF light heavyweight champion Tavoris Cloud (22-0, 12 KO’s) making his third defense of his title against Yusaf Mack (29-3-2, 17 KO’s) and 6’6″ heavyweight contender Ray Austin (28-5-4, 18 KO’s) taking on the hard hitting Bermane Stiverne (20-1, 19 KO’s) in a WBC title eliminator bout. The fights will be taking place at the Family Center Arena, in Saint Louis, Missouri.
Alexander vs. Matthysse
The Alexander vs. Matthysse fight should be very interesting. Alexander, 24, lost his last fight to Timothy Bradley after a clash of heads in the 10th round in January. Some boxing fans felt that Alexander quit to avoid taking any more punishment. He was having problems at the time with Bradley’s aggression, power shots and pressure and seemed to not want to continue after the head butt in the 10th. Matthysse, for his part, looked great in his last fight against DeMarcus Corley in January, knocking Corley down eight times in all before the fight was halted in the 8th. In his bout before that, Matthysse fought well against Zab Judah but lost a controversial 12 round split decision. Matthysee, after a slow start in the first four rounds, he took complete control of the fight from the 5th round on and dominate the remainder of the fight. Matthysse knocked Judah down in the 10th and punishment him badly in the last two rounds of the fight. However, the fight was in Judah’s hometown and Matthysse needed to be extra special to get a win on that night.
If Matthysse can take the fight to Alexander, he could end up getting a win by causing Alexander to fold up like he did in the Bradley fight. Alexander didn’t handle Bradley’s pressure well and Matthysse could be even more of a problem for Alexander due to his better power.
Cloud vs. Johnson
The Cloud vs. Mack fight isn’t nearly as interesting as the Alexander-Matthysse bout. Mack, 31, was recently stopped in the 6th round by Glen Johnson in February 2010 in a fight where Mack was pretty much run over in. He did bounce back from that defeat to barely beat Otis Griffin by a 12 round split decision in March but it doesn’t give one a sense of confidence to see Mack getting dominated the way he was by Johnson.
Cloud, 29, is a fighter that likes to throw a lot of punches but who has terrible defensive skills. He beat Johnson by a 12 round decision last year but didn’t impress. He also didn’t look all that great in beating Clinton Woods in 2009 in capturing the vacant IBF title. In his last fight, Cloud defeated Fungencio Zuniga by a 12 round unanimous decision in December 2010. Cloud should beat Mack, but that’s not saying a whole lot.
Bundrage vs. Powell
This will be the 38-year-old Bundrage’s first defense of his International Boxing Federation title which he won last year with a 5th round TKO of champion Cory Spinks. Bundrage looked great in that fight showing excellent power. However, he hasn’t done anything since that fight and has wasted a lot of time that he could have used in defending his title. Powell is a decent fighter with wins over guys like Deandre Latimore. However, Powell has also fallen apart in his first fight with Latimore and fights against Kassim Ouma. If Bundrage can stay in there he could wear Powell down and take him out.
Austin vs. Stiverne
Somebody must really like the 40-year-old Austin because he’s getting his second consecutive WBC heavyweight title eliminator after being disqualified in the 10th round against Cuban Odlanier Solis last December. Austin was out on his feet at the time of the stoppage and should be happy that the referee disqualified him rather than letting Solis continue to pound him. Austin looked terrible in the Solis fight. His hand speed was nonexistent and his offense was pretty much limited to jabs that looked more like backhands than actual jabs. In his prime, Austin used to be able to throw some decent power shots. However, he’s aged and seems only capable of fighting for a short amount of time each round.
Stiverne, 32, can punch but is on the small side at 6’2″ and has faced limited opposition during his entire six-year pro career. Austin will be a huge step up in competition for Stiverne. Still, Stiverne should win this fight and become Vitali Klitschko’s mandatory challenger. That would be a truly ugly fight because Stiverne isn’t anywhere near Vltali’s class.