The host of “The Bernie Miklasz Show” broadcast on 101 ESPN in St. Louis recently interviewed former unified 140-pound champion Devon Alexander and undefeated cruiserweight national champion Ryan “The Irish Outlaw” Coyne from their joint training camp in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Alexander, from St. Louis, will face dangerous knockout artist Lucas Matthysse, from Chubut, Argentina, in the main event scheduled for 10 rounds, and Coyne, from St. Charles, Mo., will make his first appearance in a world-title fight when he squares off against World Boxing Association cruiserweight champion Guillermo “El Felino” Jones, from Panama City, Panama, on June 25 at the Family Arena in St. Charles, Mo.
Miklasz, who is also an award-winning columnist at the St. Louis Post-Disptach, asked Coyne why he and Alexander picked Colorado Springs for training.
“One word, simply, altitude,” Coyne said. “Credit here all goes to Kevin Cunningham [manager and trainer of Devon Alexander]. He uses strength training coach Matt Brown, who’s actually also my strength and conditioning coach, who is working with Devon as well, so it’s a happy marriage.”
“When it was time to go to camp, Kevin said, ‘We’re going to Colorado Springs. There is no air up there boys, so if you can’t get in shape there you can’t be in shape anywhere.’ We’re at 8500-feet elevation here. Some of the training I’m doing up here is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do in my life.”
That’s saying a lot for Coyne as he faced the rigors of football training at St. Charles High School where he was named “St. Charles County Football Player of the Year” in 2001. He also played collegiate football at University of Missouri from 2001 to 2002.
Miklasz noted that Alexander has often set up his camps in the high-desert landscape of Las Vegas, and he asked the former World Boxing Council and International Boxing Federation champion about what it’s like for him to be training for the first time in Colorado Springs.
“The air is definitely different up here,” Alexander said. “Colorado has much less air and more altitude. You can walk up the steps and get winded. This is definitely going to be a good camp for me. This is going to get me to go 12 hard and strong rounds.”
Miklasz also wanted a scouting report on the Argentine knockout artist Matthysee, who has knocked out 26 of 28 opponents.
“People say he [Matthysse] is a hard puncher,” Alexander said. “He’s going to be coming to fight for the whole 12 rounds throwing hard punches. But you know what, Bernie? Everybody in this game can fight. Everybody hits hard and everybody can fight. They said that about [Juan] Urango, ‘He’s a hard puncher and [you] need to watch out.’
“This is a comeback fight for me. This fight, I don’t care if he has the power of Mike Tyson, it’s going to be a spectacular performance for me.”
Alexander’s perfect record and WBC championship were lost in his last match when he faced undefeated World Boxing Organization junior welterweight champion Timothy Bradley on Jan. 29. After numerous head butts, the referee sent the match to the scorecards in round 10 where Bradley won by decision.
“As I look at the fight [with Tim Bradley], I’m the one that didn’t follow the game plan,” Alexander said. “I’m the one who didn’t listen to my corner. Timothy Bradley didn’t do anything my coach didn’t say he was going to do. I didn’t follow the game plan. I let him control the fight.
“The Timothy Bradley fight was all my mistake. I take full responsibility and I definitely learned from that. I’m listening and now it’s time to go back to work.”
Coyne will face the toughest challenge of his career against Jones.
This is a huge opportunity, the opportunity of a lifetime,” Coyne said. “I knew this fight was coming the day that I signed with Don King, the second I cracked the top 10 with the WBA in the rankings. I knew this was going to be an opportunity. Did I know it was going to land literally in my back yard? I’d be lying to you if I told you that. This is just a huge opportunity to fight for the world title literally four miles from the house that I grew up in, so I plan on making the most of it.
“He [Guillermo Jones] is a very, very good champion, very good fighter. He’s almost so good that he’s a victim of his skills. He’s very big, very strong. He’s so good that a lot of guys don’t want to fight him. A lot of guys will look to circumvent taking a fight with him to take on an easier guy.
“I have a mammoth task in front of me to dethrone this guy. He is a little bit older, he has not been very active, but a lot of that comes from guys that will do anything they can to just not get in the ring with him.”
Miklasz himself is happy to see two fighters from the St. Louis area being able to fight in significant matches at home.
“The whole town of St. Louis will be behind this event,” Miklasz said. “I think Devon’s been downgraded a little bit by the national media—I think maybe they hyped him up too much.
“He had a very disappointing night [against Bradley]. I think the moment might have been a little too big for him especially with Timothy Bradley. Bradley is a guy who comes out and head butts you and I could see where a young fighter—[Devon] has never had to deal with that before—kind of took him off his game big time. But he’s hungry and he’ll go after it.
“You better watch out for Ryan Coyne. Don King’s behind him and he’s a crowd-pleaser. Ryan Coyne comes out and throws punches, there’s nothing finesse about him, so the former football player—now a good boxer—is going to take a title shot on June 25. This is going to be a good card. I’m looking forward to it, looking forward to covering it.”
Tickets priced at $25, $50, $125 and $300 are on sale now and can be purchased at the Family Arena Box Office, all MetroTix outlets including online at metrotix.com or charge by phone at (314) 534-1111. All tickets include parking. The event is being promoted by Don King Productions. Alexander vs. Matthysse, presented in association with Golden Boy Promotions; Cloud vs. Mack, presented in association with Bash Boxing/Lights Out Promotions; and Stiverne vs. Austin will be televised on HBO beginning at 9:45 p.m. ET/PT (8:45 p.m. CT).