After a no-doubt first-round knockout just three months ago, Adonis Stevenson followed it up with a second round stoppage over Noe Gonzalez in the main event of ESPN’s Friday Night Fights.
This one wasn’t quite as spectacular as the February flattening of Jesus Gonzales. In fact the crowd at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec seemed to boo and jeer when referee Michael Griffin called a halt to the super middleweight bout.
After a feeling out first round, Stevenson (18-1, 15 knockouts) trapped Gonzalez along the ropes and uncorked a hard straight left hand that sent him reeling into the corner. There, Stevenson landed an uppercut and several more lefts that snapped Gonzalez’s head back violently, most likely causing the official’s reaction.
While the fight surely could have continued, one can argue that Gonzalez (28-2, 20 KOs) was one punch away from a true knockout, given that his legs were buckling already. In addition, the hometown slugger had no difficulty finding him for huge blows, suggesting that if the ending wasn’t immediate, it would have been imminent.
Following the contest, Stevenson, 34, again called out IBF titlist and fellow Quebec resident Lucian Bute, for whom he is the No. 2 contender according to the sanctioning body’s rankings. With the victory, he captured the WBC’s “Silver” title, which theoretically makes him the No. 1 contender for the “full” version of the strap held by Andre Ward.
Whether he is ready for that level of competition or not remains to be seen, but after two quick evenings against very credible opposition, it’s likely that fans are ready to welcome him back to network television.
In the broadcast opener, 175-pound prospect Eleider Alvarez won an uneventful unanimous decision over Rayco “War” Saunders by scores of 80-72 across the board.
Saunders’ nickname was only fitting tonight in the sense that warfare is about survival, because that seemed to be his only plan in this bout. With his lead leg bent, torso reclined and gloves held high, the 37 year old spent the better part of eight rounds simply trying to block punches from his heavy-handed opponent.
Alvarez (8-0, 5 KOs), for his part, stayed active with the jab even when it wasn’t necessary in order to win the rounds. Despite his passive opposition, the Colombian-born Canadian attempted to put his punches together. Unfortunately, a fighter can only create so many openings, and Saunders wasn’t giving any favours in Montreal.
That he didn’t stop the journeyman is not an indictment of Alvarez whatsoever. Saunders (22-16-2, 9 KOs) has gone the distance with plenty of solid fighters between super middleweight and cruiserweight, notably rising light heavyweight contender Ismayl Sillakh.
Following the main event, a swing bout was staged between super featherweights Baha Laham (9-0, 3 KOs) of Montreal and Leonus Marie Francoise (8-6, 2 KOs) of France. The two fought to a spirited draw that featured non-stop infighting for six rounds.