Camden Courier-Post – October 12, 2007
By DON BENEVENTO
Max Alexander admits he made an earlier than expected departure from the ESPN show “The Contender.”
As the competition went on, it appeared the Camden super middleweight had become one of the more popular boxers and it was thought he would remain in the spotlight at least for a while longer.
But Alexander said he has no regrets, despite being taken out of contention in the third week of the show by the veteran Sam Soliman.
Plus, Alexander believes the experience can serve as a springboard for his career.
“It was an amazing experience for me,” Alexander said. “I fought a world-class guy, and I came close to beating him.”
Even though Alexander lost on all three judges’ cards in a five-round decision, he thought he fought a close bout.
Alexander admitted to having some problems because of Soliman’s awkward style, but he thinks he learned from the experience.
“The show brought a lot of positives to me,” Alexander said. “This gave me world-wide experience. I learned a lot of things I should be working on.”
Alexander‘s adviser Robert Bryant also thought the fighter did well in terms of gaining some experience and getting his name out before the public.
“The people he worked with, people like Sugar Ray Leonard and the trainers there had some good things to say about Max,” Bryant said. “So it was good exposure for him. The fact that he lost to a world class opponent, even though he wasn’t at his best, I don’t think that he should judged too harshly.”
Still, the loss to Soliman went down as the first setback of Alexander‘s four-year professional career. Going into the competition he had 14 wins with one no-decision. By contrast, Soliman is a 10-year veteran with a 34-9 record.
Since his defeat, Alexander has returned to his South Jersey base where he has been training, hoping to be invited to fight on the undercard of “The Contender” finale in Boston on Nov. 6.
Another factor that Alexander has to deal with is his weight.
He has fought the bulk of his career as a light heavyweight, with a 175-pound weight limit. But he had to get down to 168 pounds for his work in “The Contender.”
That factor alone provided Alexander with a challenge.
“People saw I can fight,” he said. “They said, “You were winning that fight, but you got a little tired.’ They don’t realize how hard I had to push my body to get down to 168. I really had to fight two fights, and the first one was against the scale.”
That’s a problem he hopes to rectify in bouts to come.