Monday, 30 September 2013

Adonis Stevenson v Tavoris Cloud

If not often that a fighter claims a "Lineal" title by opening round KO and leaves us with a lot of questions. That, however, is what Adonis Stevenson (22-1, 19) did earlier this year when he landed a single money maker on to the then defending world champion Chad Dawson.

All we really learned from the Stevenson/Dawson fight was that Stevenson's power was legitimate and that it carried up from Super Middleweight, where he had been seen as a promising contender, to Light Heavyweight.

Thankfully Stevenson did answer a number of questions this past Saturday as he defeated former IBF Light Heavyweight champion Tavoris Cloud (24-2, 19) in what can only be described as an impressive performance.

Against Dawson all it took was a single shot to shock the boxing public. This time around Stevenson knew he was fighting a tougher man, both mentally and physically and that one shot, even with his power, was never going to do the job. Instead Stevenson took control with unexpectedly sharp boxing, using his reach and speed to pepper the apprehensive looking Cloud from range with stiff, hurtful shots and beautiful counters.

Cloud, for his part, played the role of a tough but over-matched fighter. The energy and work rate that he once made his name on had vanished, the confidence he had had just a few fights back had dissipated and it seemed that as long as he wasn't getting to hurt by any single shot he was happy to let Stevenson do as he wished.

Unfortunately when you're fighting a guy like Stevenson punches will do damage. Not every shot needs to be concussive to do damage and due to the weight of the shots and the accumulation of them Cloud's face slowly turned from unmarked to cut showing the effects of the shots. It was the cuts, and the sheer fact that Stevenson turned out to be a talented boxer as well as a big banger, that saw Cloud retiring on his stool at the end of the 7th round.

For Cloud this really could be the end. He has now been out boxed by Gabriel Campillo, Bernard Hopkins and Adonis Stevenson and looks like another fighter who has been effectively "found out". On the other hand Stevenson has now proven himself to be a genuinely talented boxer with serious bang.

I now expect that Stevenson will face mandatory Tony Bellew, in what will likely be a painful nights work for Bellew, then their will be serious talk about a WBC/WBO unification bout with Sergey Kovalev who has also proven to have dynamite fists and under-rated boxing ability.

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