ST. LOUIS During a conference call with reporters Monday, Devon Alexander dodged the Floyd Mayweather question like a lazy left hook.
"Let me get past Lee Purdy first," Alexander said. "We'll talk about the future, but I want to focus on him first."
While Alexander refrains from publicly looking past Purdy, the British fighter who will try to take his IBF welterweight title Saturday in Atlantic City, Mayweather is still the elephant in the ring. And he will continue to be, as long as Alexander (24-1) disposes of Purdy (23-3-1).
In early February, Mayweather sent a tweet to his 4-million-plus followers. It said Alexander was leading the race to land his next fight. While that didn't turn out to be the case Mayweather (44-0) fought and defeated Robert Guerrero to defend his WBC welterweight title on May 4 there's still a chance for a Mayweather-Alexander matchup. A good one, according to Alexander's trainer Kevin Cunningham.
"He Mayweather called me personally, and we talked about it," Cunningham told FOX Sports Midwest this week.
Cunningam said Mayweather contacted him in February to discuss the possibility of fighting Alexander. Mayweather's interest, Cunningham said, hinges on the undefeated fighter's desire to claim as many titles as he can.
"He Mayweather is the WBC champion, and Devon is the IBF champion," Cunningham said. "He wants to fight the best guys, and Devon is one of the best guys in the division. And they're both champions. What he said to me was, he would like to unify titles ... Fighting Devon would be a title unification. Fighting these other guys would just be Floyd defending his title. But, if he fights Devon, both titles are on the line."
For things to progress, Alexander must beat Purdy, who jumped at the chance to replace an often-inured Kell Brook after Brook pulled from Saturday's fight due to a foot injury. Alexander will almost certainly lose Mayweather's interest if he fights poorly, and especially if he loses his status as the IBF title-holder. According to Cunningham, a convincing wins means Alexander will continue to be in the mix with two-to-three other fighters in consideration for a ring date with Mayweather.
"That's history," Cunningham said. "Floyd is going to go down in history as one of the greatest tightest ever. So, anybody that fights him goes down in history as one of the guys that fought one of the greatest fighters ever. That's super-huge, to get an opportunity. And, being that it would be the biggest payday you can possibly get in the sport, it's a win-win all around."
Guerrero received a reported 3 million for losing to Mayweather. While that doesn't come close to the reported 32 million Mayweather walked away with, it's still more than Alexander has ever earned for a fight. In financial terms, even a loss to Mayweather would pay off. But, as boxing trainers tend to do, Cunningham likes his guys' chances.
"I think it would be a great match," Cunningham said. "If Floyd is to ever lose, the guy that beats Floyd is going to have to match Floyd with wit, brain smarts, ring savvy, quick hands and quick feet. And Devon has all those attributes."
"Floyd Mayweather will never lose to a slow, plodding fighter," Cunningham added. "A slow plodder will never beat Floyd Mayweather. If they want to continue to match those kind of opponents up with Floyd, Floyd is never going to lose."
So, while Alexander stays focused on Purdy, it's correct to assume his fight Saturday is being looked at as a potential stepping stone to the best fighter fighting today.
"That's what every fighter dreams of, fighting the best in the world," Cunningham said. "Devon Alexander fighting Floyd Mayweather would be like the Rams going to the Super Bowl."
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