Bigger meant better for Devon Alexander in the former junior welterweight champion's successful 147-pound debut.
Displaying the sharpness and stamina that had been lacking in his recent fights, Alexander was faster and clearly superior Saturday night in overwhelming Marcos Maidana to win a unanimous 10-round welterweight decision.
An HBO World Championship Boxing audience saw Alexander (23-1, 13 KOs) skillfully dominate Maidana (31-3, 28 KOs) from start to finish as the St. Louis fighter used his speed and counter-punching precision to pile up points and win every round on two of the three judges' scorecards.
Cesar Ramos and Glenn Feldman scored the fight an Alexander shutout 100-90, while judge John Keane allowed Maidana one round in scoring the fight 99-91.
"Me and my coach trained hard for this fight," Alexander said. "I analyzed myself and what I was doing wrong, and we got the victory."
In delighting a hometown crowd at the Scott Trade Center, Alexander did much to regain the rising superstar stature that had begun to fade after his 140-pound title unification loss to Timothy Bradley three fights ago. Alexander said the move up in weight was the biggest correction that he made.
"I've been fighting at 140 since I was 15 years old and it was getting kind of hard for me to get down to that weight," he said. "We got that problem situated by moving up, and now we're back on top."
Heeding the urgings between rounds from trainer Kevin Cunningham to "just relax," Alexander resisted getting into a brawl with Maidana and instead took his time to deal with the Argentinean's rough, physical, charging style.
"I was relaxed some of the fight, but that's a continuous thing I need to learn,'' Alexander said. "I'm so anxious wanting to hurt the guy. But that's something I've got to work on."
As the fight progressed, Alexander increasingly used his speed and punching precision to pick apart the Argentinean.
"He's very fast and he's a lefty," said Maidana, who also was moving up to 147 but likely won't stay there, having been dominated like never before. "It wasn't my division but I did what I could do," he said.
In the fourth round, Alexander's straight left appeared to knock down Maidana, who fell to the canvas with the help of Alexander's weight bearing down on him.
Although referee Steve Smoger didn't call it, "that was a knock down," Alexander said. "I hit him with a clean shot,. My power is there at 147. It was a left hand,. He didn't see it. Speed kills in any sport.
Alexander spent a good part of the fight with a slight cut over his right eye that required attention between each round. But he said he learned from the Bradley fight how to weather through tough situations."
"I want to become of the best in the world and I've got to work through that,'' he said. "Things happen in a fight, but you've got to stay strong right until the end."
In a co-featured fight, unbeaten Adrien Broner (23-0, 19 KOs) made a successful first defense of his WBO 130-pound title by stopping Eloy Perez (23-1-2, 7 KOs) at 2:24 of the fourth round.
Broner, from Cincinnati, landed a straight right hand to drop Eloy, who quickly rose to his feet but staggered forward and was falling again when referee Genaro Rodriguez called a halt to the scheduled 12-rounder.
"I wasn't even trying to knock him out,'' said Broner, whose reputation for brashness and backing up his boasts is growing. "I was just trying to beat him up, tender the meat and fry him later in the fight. But he was right there and ran into right."