"Basic jab, right hand, decent foot movement. He goes by the name Special K, but I don't see anything special there. I don't see extremely fast hands or see any one-punch knockout power from this guy. The name sounds good, but I don't see anything special there. He's a good, solid, young fighter, and we know he's coming to win, but there's a big difference fighting guys likes Lovemore N'Dou, Matthew Hatton, and Carson Jones. Devon Alexander is a-whole-nother world of difference from those types of opponent, and that's gonna play a major role in this fight," stated world-class trainer Kevin Cunningham, who is deep in training camp with welterweight champion Devon Alexander preparing for the upcoming title defense against Kell Brook. Check out what else he had to say about the fight and much more!
DK: Kevin, what's going on? Is training camp back in full swing with Devon now that the holidays are over?
KC: Oh yeah, man. We took a few holiday days off and enjoyed the holidays with the family, but pretty much kept everything in stride and continued to grind.
DK: What is the toughest thing about taking a layoff for a few weeks from full-on training camp after having already been in the swing of things?
KC: I mean, the good about this situation is we were going full steam for maybe 3 weeks, and then the so-called ankle injury happened with Kell Brook. So basically, it wasn't really a bad thing for us. With the holidays falling in, we got an opportunity to slow things down and enjoy the holidays with the family, and, at the same time, keep things going. We haven't missed a beat and everything is in full stride. Its full steam ahead.
DK: Not only are you training Devon for his fight on February 23rd, but you're also now working with Sakio Bika for the second time. This training camp has been a bit different for you. You've got two guys now that are training for world title bouts, at the same time, with the fights being only one week apart. How do you handle the schedule of having two fighters training at the same time?
KC: It's no problem. You know, Sakio comes in, he has his time schedule, and then Devon has his own time schedule where he comes in. It works out perfectly. Listen, I've trained over 20 fighters at the same time, so preparing two fighters to get ready for fights is nothing.
DK: Is there any time of the day that both guys are in the gym together?
KC: Oh yeah. Well, Sakio comes in earlier than Devon. When Sakio wraps up, Devon is coming in. They run into each other and there's a timeframe where they're in the gym together.
DK: You've also been working in lightweight champion Adrien Broner's corner for the past couple fights as an assist for trainer, Mike Stafford. I know you have known Broner since he was a very young man as he and Devon came up together in the amateurs. Since Bika is fighting on the Broner undercard on February 16th in Atlantic City, will you be in Broner's corner on fight night?
KC: Sure. Definitely. I'm always going to support my nephew. Twin [Broner] is my nephew and I'm always going to support him. Just speaking of Broner, I just got some fight footage on Gavin Rees, so we'll be breaking that down and me and Mike will be on the phone breaking down strategy for that fight.
DK: Can you give us a little background on both guys opponents and what you're expecting to see out of them? First, can you tell us about Bika's opponent, Nikola Sjekloca?
KC: Yeah. I've looked at a couple of his fights and he looks like, you know, he's 25-0 with 7 knockouts. He looks like he has basic fundamentals and looks like he tries to throw that overhand right a lot. He tries to land that overhand right. He seems like a decent fighter, so we're working on some things and we're putting together a game plan to utilize Sakio's strengths and expose the other guy's weaknesses.
DK: That's also a very big fight because the winner would hold Andre Ward's title belt, a man Bika was very competitive against, and might get to face Ward when he comes back from shoulder surgery. Also, reports now are that Lucian Bute will get the winner of the Bika fight. Big things lie ahead if Sakio were to earn the victory.
KC: Definitely. This is a huge opportunity for Sakio. He has waited for awhile for an opportunity like this. My job is to prepare him as well as he can be prepared so that he'll seize this opportunity and make the most of it.
DK: What about Devon's opponent, Kell Brook? He's a bit more well-known than Bika's opponent, and he has a big following in the United Kingdom, but he isn't a big name yet in the United States. What does he bring to the table?
KC: Well, kind of like the other guy. He has decent fundaments also. You know, he has a good jab. Basic jab, right hand, decent foot movement. He goes by the name Special K, but I don't see anything special there. I don't see extremely fast hands or see any one-punch knockout power from this guy. The name sounds good, but I don't see anything special there. He's a good, solid, young fighter, and we know he's coming to win, but there's a big difference fighting guys likes Lovemore N'Dou, Matthew Hatton, and Carson Jones. Devon Alexander is a-whole-nother world of difference from those types of opponent, and that's gonna play a major role in this fight.
DK: I know you don't like to look ahead, but boxing is a business and there are rumors of a Paulie Malignaggi vs. Shane Mosley title clash. You have been very vocal about wanting the winner of that fight if it happens.
KC: There's history between Devon and Paulie. They really wanted to fight each other really bad, and I think they would still love the opportunity since both are world champions, but if Paulie gets the fight with Shane and Shane happens to win, that's also a fight we would be interested in because Devon would love to get the opportunity to fight a first ballot hall-of-famer in Shane Mosley. But that's neither here nor there for us because we got a young, hungry opponent in our mandatory, Kell Brook, and that's who were focused on.
DK: Alright Kevin, I appreciate you taking some time to speak with us. Do you have any final thoughts for the fight fans out there?
KC: Tune in February 23rd. I think it's gonna be a tremendous fight. I know Kell Brook is coming to try to take Devon's title, and Devon is preparing extremely hard to defend and keep his title and move on to bigger and better things. I think it's gonna be a great fight, so tune in February 23rd.
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