A quest for redemption accompanied former champion Devon Alexander into the ring Saturday night in his first fight since losing five months ago to Timothy Bradley for the unified junior welterweight title.
"I wanted to show people I'm a warrior,'' Alexander said after narrowly escaping with a 10-round split decision against hard-hitting Lucas Matthysee.
"People said I quit in the Bradley fight. I wanted to show that I've got heart and I am still one of the best 140 pounders."
A hometown crowd at the Family Arena in St. Charles, Mo. couldn't argue with the grit the St. Louis-bred Alexander (22-1, 13 KOs) showed in getting up from the first knockdown of his career to win the main event of an HBO Boxing After Dark tripleheader.
However, Matthysee (28-2, 26 KOs) came away convinced he did plenty enough with his superior power to have won the decision. The Argentinean's only other loss was also a split decision against Zab Judah in November.
"It was a rough fight but I think I won it," Matthysse said. "Once again they robbed me in the United States. Look at my face and look at his face."
Indeed, Mathysse landed the harder punches in the fight, which ended with each fighter getting a 96-93 nod from two judges' scorecards, while the third judge scored it 95-94 for Alexander to give him a one-point victory.
"He was a good fighter,'' said Alexander, acknowledging the closeness of the fight. "I take nothing from him. He pressured me like crazy. But I was in good shape from all the training."
Alexander downplayed being knocked down for the first time in his career when Matthysse landed a straight right hand to the face in the fourth round . It was the only knockdown of the ebb-and-flow fight.
"I wasn't hurt at all," Alexander said. "It was a flash knock down and I got back up."
In another fight, IBF light heavyweight champion Tavoris Cloud (23-0, 19 KOs) stayed unbeaten and defended his title by stopping challenger Yusaf Mack by TKO at 2:57 of the eighth round. Cloud, from Tallahassee, Fla., rocked Mack (29-4-2, 17 KOs) with a left hook and finished the job with a wicked body shot.
In the heavyweight feature, hard-hitting prospect Bermane Stiverne increased his stock with a TKO at :43 seconds of the 10th round against veteran Ray Austin.
Stiverne (21-1-1, 20 KOs) trailed on two of three judges' scorecards when the Haitian slugger, who fights out of Miami, toppled Austin (28-6-4, 198 KOs) with a right to the head. Austin, whose stiff jab and height advantage controlled much of the scheduled 12-rounder, managed to get up to his feet at the count of 10. However, referee Mike England quickly deemed the Cleveland journeyman unable to continue.