Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Devon Alexander: “We've Been Through it All”

Alexander traveled to China in 2008 and kept his unbeaten record intact with a win over South Korea's Sun-Haeng Lee.

Devon Alexander and his trainer Kevin Cunningham have been together for 15 years. When they first met, Alexander was a 7-year-old kid in the second grade and Cunningham was still a St. Louis police officer. In a little more than a week, the pair will take a shot at their first world title when they meet England's Junior Witter for the vacant WBC 140-pound belt.

“My trainer Kevin Cunningham has been with me since I was seven-years-old,” said Alexander, now 22, who will carry an undefeated 18-0, 11 knockouts record into the ring on Aug. 1st at the Agua Caliente Casino in Rancho Mirage, California. “Against Witter, I'm going to do what I do best and take him to the body and then take him to the head.”

Many know Cunningham as the trainer and manager to current IBF 154-pound titlist Cory Spinks, who also once held the championship at 147-pounds. But most are not as familiar with his work as the trainer to Alexander.

“We've been through it all for fifteen years now,” said the likable Alexander of Cunningham. “Here it is now, I'm fighting on the big stage and I really think he's the best. He's the one that started me out. He was a police officer at my elementary school and he started me out in boxing and I've been with him ever since.”

Cunningham thinks just as highly of Alexander and he believes the sky is the limit for his fighter who is ranked #2 by the WBC.

“Devon has a tremendous work ethic,” says Cunningham. “He loves what he does and he eats, sleeps and drinks boxing. And it shows when he gets in the ring because he's extremely talented. He's determined and, you know, he's going to be a great champion.”

The Don King promoted Alexander has opened as the betting favorite over Witter and most observers expect him to prove victorious.

Alexander was a kid that grew up on the disadvantaged streets of the “Gateway City” and Cunningham remembers well how and when it all began. “I opened a gym in St. Louis, north St. Louis, and you know, I opened it in a community with a lot of kids with nothin' to do and I was working as a police officer at an elementary school,” said Cunningham. “I recruited a bunch of kids from the school and Devon was one of them kids. He came in at seven-years-old and we've been together ever since.”

Should Alexander beat Witter, he already has his sights on unifying the titles at 140-pounds. The main event of the Aug. 1st card features an intriguing match between WBO titlist Timothy Bradley and former lightweight champion Nate Campbell and Alexander indicated he has no qualms about facing the winner.

A proud St. Louis native, Alexander is well on the way to boiling himself down to 140-pounds. At the WBC mandated 30 day weigh-in on July 1st, he tipped the scales at 148 pounds, which was well under the 154 he was allowed.

July 2009

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