Devon Alexander poised for 147-pound tourney
Golden Boy Promotions added St. Louis' Devon Alexander to its stable of fighters Saturday, and introduced plans to create a multi-fighter tournament in the welterweight division.
Obviously, the division already has the greatest star power in boxing with Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao.
Richard Schaefer, chief executive of Golden Boy, said he will begin negotiations next week with HBO and Showtime to televise a single-elimination tournament of four to eight fighters that could start as soon as January.
"The tournament doesn't need to have a belt, but it needs a network committed to telling the backgrounds of these guys," Schaefer said. "Let's say Mayweather and Pacquiao fight each other [in 2012], we need to have some opponents -- fighters people recognize -- to challenge them."
Two of the obvious backup challengers in place to fight either Mayweather or Pacquiao should they win their next bouts -- Mayweather on Saturday against Victor Ortiz and Pacquiao vs. Juan Manuel Marquez Nov. 12 -- are long shots to participate in the Schaefer tournament.
World Boxing Assn. welterweight champion Amir Khan will fight in December against Lamont Peterson, and he'd be well-positioned to be Mayweather's next foe, perhaps at England's Wembley Stadium.
That leaves a pool of fighters in the 140- and 147-pound divisions including Alexander (22-1, 13 KOs), Marcos Maidana, Andre Berto, Lucas Matthysse, Victor Ortiz (if he loses to Mayweather Saturday night) and Paulie Malignaggi.
"We are convinced Devon will make noise and become a world champion in the 147-pound weight class," Schaefer said.
Alexander said he defected from Don King to Golden Boy because "they have the fighters to me do what I want to do at 147." Turning to Schaefer, he said, "If you want to give me a fight next week, that'll be good."
Alexander's only loss was to Bradley in January in Detroit. He came back to edge Matthysse by split decision in June.
Maidana has "indicated he's interested" in the tournament, Schaefer said.
Schaefer said a four-fighter scenario could start with two fights on one night early next year, and conclude with a final "three months later." He said even a larger pool could be concluded in "eight months."
The problem with recent tournaments is that Showtime's 168-pound, six-fighter tourney was fraught with injuries, withdrawals and new entries. Even a four-fighter bantamweight tournament was delayed by an injury to semifinal winner Joseph Agbeko.
"We could do Victor-Berto and Devon-Maidana," Schaefer said. "What's wrong with that? How difficult is that? If you don't even try, what's the point?"
-- Lance Pugmire
Photo: Devon Alexander takes on Timothy Bradley in January at the Silverdome in Pontiac, Mich. Credit:Carlos Osorio / Associated Press