Devon Alexander and Maidana get this privilege Saturday despite not setting the boxing world on fire in the ring lately.
Alexander has only one loss on his record, a TD to undefeated Timothy Bradley back in January of 2011. However, Alexander's performances have been much more flawed than his fantastic winning percentage.
Most boxing observers had him losing handily to Andriy Kotelnyk in 2010. Alexander himself revealed on Zutes Boxing Talk, shortly after that fight, he felt added pressure during that fight because it took place in his hometown of Saint Louis Missouri.
Alexander fights Maidana in that very same arena, the Scottrade Center, this Saturday night. This will be the first time Alexander will fight in this arena since the controversial Andreas Kotelnik fight.
Alexander's last fight took place at the Family Arena, in Saint Charles Missouri, against Lucas Matthysse. On that night, Alexander performed better in front of home cookin' and showed heart, rebounding from a 4th round knockdown, en route to a split decision victory.
Although once again victorious, a fair amount of boxing observers felt Alexander was not the true winner in the bout.
Devon Alexander must win decisively against a very tough Maidana; not only to great credibility back, but to remain on the radar of HBO.
Marcos Maidana is also in a position where there must be no questions marks to keep his premium channel status.
Maidana is the antithesis of Devon Alexander. Win lose or draw, excitement is never a problem with the power puncher from Argentina.
Unlike Alexander, Maidana has been on the wrong end of close decisions in a lot of his big fights. Close loses to Andriy Kotelnyk and Amir Kahn has put a halt on Maidana being a top tier fighter in a lot of the boxing public's eyes. A tougher than expected fight with aging Erik Morales in April of 2011 added to this belief.
While everyone runs to see him fight, few people hold Maidana in high regard as a top tier/skilled fighter. Before his fight with Robert 'The Ghost" Guerrero was cancelled, many boxing insiders where writing Maidana's obituary.
Marcos Maidana is going to have to win decisively against Devon Alexander if he is going to be considered more than elegant window dressing on boxing's premium network.
The facts that both fighters need this fight for their elite status, as well as their wallets, make it an intriguing match up for the boys and HBO, and for boxing fans.
Devon Alexander and Marcos Maidana have been good for the sport. They are willing to accept any challenge and have worked hard for everything they have.
When these fighters meet in the ring tonight they will meet at a crossroads. Hopefully, a crossroad that is packed with blistering combinations and a lot of thrills.