Devon, The Not Great

By Michael Schmidt on June 26, 2011
Devon, The Not Great
Did Alexander win? Perhaps yes, perhaps no. It was close.

This was a tough fight for Alexander, against another one of those tough Argentinian fighters, coming off the “my eye, it’s burning” affair…

This is a postscript rather than an introduction. The original title to be was “Saint Charles, Mo.” Saint Charles, a place where I have been before as I have relatives here, is straight out of Norman Rockwell Americana. If you like to do up Christmas in a big way then there is probably no better place in the world than “Down on Main Street,” as Bob Seger would sing, for Saint Charles’ “Christmas Traditions Festival.”

This is a postscript rather than an introduction because today, June 25th, 2011, in Saint Charles at the Family Arena, the boxing family listened to boxing’s version of the 21-gun salute as the bell rang 10 for Nick Charles, a boxing brother lost. No feeling of Christmas in any way, any way at all. I did not have the pleasure of meeting and knowing Nick Charles. The title herein has been changed out of utmost respect. Perhaps it would be taken as too much, over the top, and even more so from one that did not know Nick Charles personally. There are others who did, and will write of Nick Charles and the wonderful human being he was, and the fact that boxing did not define him, that he was much more about his defining of boxing. For those of us who have watched the slow disintegration of a loved one to cancer it is a tough thing to deal with. The Nick Charles I knew, as many of you knew, was the “TV Nick Charles.” Of that Nick Charles these past two years we saw what we saw all these years and then more: class, dignity, warmth, passion, comradery and courage; most certainly courage. I could add on and on to that aforementioned list. To Nick Charles then…

Early in the boxing day, an inquisitive young blonde girl in her 20s asked me what I was reading. Mickey Spillane was what I was reading, the Mickey Spillane of the “Mike Hammer” tough guy detective, pimps, prostitutes, gamblers and hoodlums genre, who happened to be one of the bestselling authors of all time. As I think of it, darn surprising Mr. Spillane never did an over-the-top boxing novel! (At least to my recollection he didn’t.) Our young blonde did not have a clue of who this Mickey Spillane was, but did have the mental adroitness to ask when he was in his prime, so to speak. I answered, “Probably late 1940s thru to the early ‘60s.” Yes, to wit, the answer I get from our young blonde: “Wow, you are that old! You don’t look that old.” FANTASTIC. Old Schmidty for those in the know, and that will be all of you now, is 50. My only response to our blonde friend as I walk away with a little dignity.“Aye, I am as old as me tongue and a little older dan me teeth.” The vacuous look on her face is all I need, thank you, yes indeed.

To my tough guy friends down Brooklyn way, let’s do some Mickey Spillane boxing favorite titles to this fight night because they fit.

1. I, the Jury. Tough guy Hammer takes matters into his own hands. No judge, no jury needed. Or perhaps Survival ZERO. Either way, to Valery Brudov, Omar Henry, Chaen Chess, Yuri Ramanau, Bermane Stiverne and Tavoris Cloud please take your I, the Jury, Survival ZERO awards for your knockouts. No judges needed! Cloud is a very strong light heavyweight and he once again used that strength to impose himself on his opponent. He would be an interesting opponent for Mr. Hopkins.

2. Vengeance is Mine. To Cornelius Bundage, who lost to Sechew Powell by TKO in one round back in 2005, and tonight beat Powell in a rematch.

3. One Lonely Night. To Corey Spinks winning against a now 16-10 fighter. It was not that long ago Spinks was a headliner. Fortunes turn fast in this boxing business. And One Lonely Night to Ryan Coyne who did not get to dance with his partner, for the WBA cruiserweight title, Mr. Jones, but won here tonight nonetheless.

This brings us to Devon Alexander “The Great” as goes his ring name. The Alexander the Great of my high school history lessons was the undefeated Greek King of Macedon. He was a war legend of mythical status. That would not be our Devon Alexander, and certainly not tonight. This was supposed to be Mickey Spillane’s My Gun is Quick with Alexander using his speed but it was more, in the end result, The Twisted Thing. Lucas Matthysse gave Alexander all he could handle dropping him in the fourth and bouncing Alexander around hard in rounds seven and eight. Matthysse was landing well placed, thudding Chavez-like left hooks to the body. He also showed that he was a very well schooled fighter. Too many fighters try to target the head and that is a difficult thing to do with a mover like Alexander. Matthysse was mixing his hard left hooks to the body, Mickey Spillane’s The Body Lovers, with straight hard right hands aimed to the middle of Alexander’s chest and they were finding the mark. Unfortunately for Matthysse, and perhaps more so for those that form part of his team, he seems to have that “sparring partner” type of mentality of not raising his game higher, keeping busier, when needed, than his opponent. He did just enough to be close but perhaps was not busy enough, raising his level, as Alexander did in the end, to get the decision. Did Alexander win? Perhaps yes, perhaps no. It was close. More importantly, in Alexander, is a 24-year-old fighter that has had back-to-back-to-back tough fights. He took a physical beating again in this fight. In fairness to him, and as Larry Merchant pointed out in round eight, you had to “give him credit, he is fighting back.” Further, in fairness to Alexander, this was a tough fight to take, against another one of those tough Argentinian fighters, coming off the “my eye, it’s burning” affair. The Twisted Thing will be what to put Alexander into next. He is a top rated fighter, he showed huge heart against Matthysse, but he took punishment and lots of it. He is good, very good, top rated good, but no, he is not, “introducing, Devon Alexander…The Great.” We are now done, for the moment, with our Mickey Spillane Mike Hammer collection. To Nick Charles, his family and his friends, we offer our own thoughts in utmost respect.

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  1. Kam Steele 08:35am, 07/01/2011

    Devon needs to change his nickname. He certainly was not “great” last week. And we all saw what it takes to beat him, and as far as I am concerned Christmas came early for Devon Alexander because no way he won that fight. Again controversy surrounds a DON KING promoted fight.

  2. "Old Yank" Schneider 09:04pm, 06/27/2011

    Alexander the “not so great” got a gift.

  3. Joe 03:33am, 06/27/2011

    Main Events first, now DKP.  Lucas knew the deal coming in - KO or lose.

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