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Alexander vs. Urango: Overview

To boxing insiders, unbeaten southpaw Devon Alexander needs no introduction.

And if anybody questions the pedigree of the recently crowned WBC super lightweight champion, the St. Louis native will get the chance to make new believers March 6 at the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Conn.

In what's expected to be his toughest test to date, Alexander (19-0, 12 KOs) faces IBF junior welterweight champion Juan "Iron Twins" Urango (22-2-1, 17 KOs) in the featured 140-pound title unification bout on HBO's Boxing After Dark (9:30 p.m. ET, PT).

"I've been working towards this my whole life,'' says Alexander, a product of the same gym in the rough and tumble Hyde Park area of St. Louis that produced former world champion Cory Spinks, his friend and mentor.

"I've seen Cory become undisputed champion and, now, here it is my turn. I can't ask for no more. Everything is falling into place. They're not calling me 'Alexander the Great' for nothing."

Alexander, who turned 23 on February 10, expects his first headlining bout on HBO to catapult him to even greater heights after winning the vacant WBC crown last August 1 by stopping former titleholder Junior "The Hitter" Witter on his stool for an eighth-round TKO.

Even before winning the title, Alexander made it apparent that he was one of boxing's brightest up-and-comers by winning a unanimous decision against former world champion DeMarcus "Chop Chop" Corley at New York's Madison Square Garden in January 2008.

Devon Alexander swinging down

Like Spinks, Alexander's path to the world championship has been guided by trainer Kevin Cunningham, a former St. Louis police officer who opened a boxing gym to provide an alternative for the neighborhood's youth, having seen so many of them succumb to gangs and the perils of the streets.

As the Gateway City's newest pugilistic star, Alexander has his trainer and all of St. Louis beaming about his rocketing stardom.

"Oh, the city is vibing,'' Cunningham says. "It's almost like the fight is happening in St. Louis. It's going to be crazy when we come back as unified champion."

Slick and fast with a penchant for elusive defense, Alexander has a boxing style much like that of Spinks. His ability to hit and avoid being hit will be tested by Urango, 29, a physically-sculpted two-time world champion from Colombia who now fights out of Cooper City, Fla.

This will mark Urango's third title fight on HBO, with his previous bouts resulting in losses against Ricky Hatton and Andre Berto -- the only defeats on his otherwise unbeaten record.

Urango won his first world title in 2006 by defeating Ben Rabah to capture the IBF 140-pound crown. In his next outing, he lost against Hatton, who was then unbeaten. But Urango rebounded to win the vacated IBF title with a unanimous decision against Herman Ngoudjo.

Searching for a bigger challenge, Urango moved up to 147 pounds to face unbeaten WBC welterweight champion Berto last May. Although he lost by decision, Urango says he wasn't as motivated for that fight as he should have been because his own 140-pound title wasn't at stake.

Last August, Urango returned to defend his junior welterweight crown, and he very nearly gave it up to the hard-hitting Randall Bailey.

Showing courage and perseverance, Urango got up from a sixth-round knockdown and floored Bailey three times before winning an 11th-round TKO when Bailey's corner threw in the towel.

Noted for his strength and power, Urango says he's squared off with better fighters than Alexander and expresses confidence that he'll emerge victorious.

"There's too much on the line (for me to lose),'' Urango says through an interpreter. "I'm 100 percent focused. May God be with him."

Both champions have their sights set on being the best in boxing's most competitive weight division. As the new kid on the block, Alexander predicts speed and slickness will meet strength and power, and he will prevail.

"I've been bred to do this,'' he says. "This fight is just another steppingstone for me to become the greatest in the game. I know he's going to come brawling. But I'm going to be ready for whatever he brings to the table."

"There's too much on the line (for me to lose),'' Urango says through an interpreter. "I'm 100 percent focused. May God be with him."

Posted 12:00 AM | Mar 1, 2010

Devon Alexander vs. Juan Urango

HBO BAD - Mar. 6, 2010

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