Fighting for the first time since losing his welterweight championship to Shawn Porter, Devon Alexander (26-2, 14 KOs) boxed and punched his way to a 10 round unanimous decision over Jesus Soto Karass (28-10-3, 18 KOs) last Saturday night at The StubHub Center in Carson, California.
Alexander used his superior boxing technique to consistently beat the much slower Soto Karass to the punch. The first four rounds were all Alexander.
Soto Karass, who was stopped in nine rounds last December by Keith Thurman, became more purposeful in round five. He forced Alexander into the ropes and worked him over. Surprisingly Alexander, 27, stayed in the pocket and punched. It was obvious he felt like he needed to prove something. His loss to Porter was a surprise to many, including himself. It was essential for Alexander to win impressively to set up a possible rematch with Porter.
Mission accomplished. After trading with Soto Karass for a few rounds, Alexander boxed smartly in the last stanza. The only question was how wide the margin of victory would be.
All three judges had Alexander winning the fight by scores of 97-93, 99-91 and 99-91.
"I'm my own worst critic. I wanted to shut him out,” said Alexander in the ring. “But he's a tough, tough competitor. You've seen that over the years. He's a tough, tough competitor.”
"Sometimes, I wanted to go for it and put a little hurt on him, but I listened to (my trainer) for the most part. (Soto Karass) just keeps coming. I tried to pace myself. My coach told me to relax. I could see my punches more, instead of just going out there and mixing shots."
Soto Karass was gracious in defeat.
"At times I thought I was winning the fight, but we do respect the decision of the judges," Soto Karass said through a translator. "The corner told me to pressure, that we were losing the rounds, and I just couldn't do enough."
Loser of his last two fights by knockout, former light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson (32-3, 18 KOs) opened the televised version of the card by stopping veteran George Blades in the opening stanza.
Dawson, a southpaw, set up the knockout by connecting with a hard shot to the heart. A few seconds later another body shot floored the 39-year-old Blades. The journeymen looked surprised as the referee counted over him. Up at seven, he was soon sent tumbling to the canvas from a barrage of punches. This time, Blades couldn’t beat the count.
The time was 2:35 of round one.
Dawson, 32, has been inactive since being knocked out in the first round by Adonis Stevenson last year. Before that, he was stopped by super middleweight champion Andre Ward.
Though weighing a career high 182 pounds, Dawson told this writer after the bout that he’ll be back down to the 175 pound weight limit for his next fight. He hopes to build off the Blades win.
“It’s just the beginning,” said Dawson. “I hope to get back in the ring in September.”
Dawson is back for one reason.
“I’m fighting to get a rematch with Stevenson,” Dawson said. “That’s what I want.”