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Alexander vs. Urango: Can Devon out-slick Juan?

By Eric Thomas: The young WBC light welterweight champion Devon Alexander (19-0, 12 KO’s) has a formidable task of facing pressure fighter International Boxing Federation light welterweight champion Juan Urango (22-2-1, 17 KO’s) in a unification match on Saturday night at the Mohegan Sun Casino, in Uncasville, Connecticut. Alexander, 23, is a boxer/puncher who can both punch and box incredibly well interchangeably. However, Alexander hasn’t faced a puncher like Urango before, and it’s going to be interesting to see how Alexander stands up to the kind of power and pressure that Urango puts on him tomorrow night.

Perhaps the closest thing that Alexander has gotten to being in with a big puncher like Urango was when Alexander defeated the big hitter DeMarcus Corley by a 12 round unanimous decision two years ago in January 2008. However, that fight really didn’t give an accurate gauge of how good or not good Alexander is because Corley looked and fought like he didn’t want to be there on that night, throwing few punches at all and looking unmotivated.

Urango will be anything but unmotivated as he goes after Alexander, and unless Devon has good wheels working for him on Saturday night, his chin could be severely tested by the Colombian Urango. It’s not like Urango can’t be out-boxed, because even slugger Ricky Hatton was able to outbox Urango by a lopsided 12 round decision in January 2007.

Hatton briefly tried to slug with Urango in the 1st round and then thought better of it and immediately got on his bike for the rest of the fight. Recently, World Boxing Council welterweight champion Andre Berto had Urango move up in weight to fight him for Berto’s WBC title. Berto, too, opted for the safe approach and spent the better part of the fight hitting and immediately wrapping Urango up in a tight clinch to prevent him from throwing punches.

The big knockout puncher Randall Bailey made the mistake recently of trying to slug with Urango and ended up getting stopped in the 11th round in August 2009. It just doesn’t pay to try and slug with Urango, not unless you have a really good chin. I don’t expect Alexander to stand in front of Urango and try risking getting knocked out, so we should see Alexander using a lot of movement tomorrow night in grinding out a decision.

I think Alexander will be too quick and clever for Urango to stop. However, I see Alexander taking punishment in this fight and ending up a little beat up by the end of the fight. Alexander is a good fighter, but he’s not the number #1 fighter in the division in my estimation and has a lot of work ahead of him if he wants to get as good as WBO lightweight champion Timothy Bradley some day.

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