HBO’s Jim Lampley calls a matchup of hard-hitting light heavyweight titleholders Adonis “Superman” Stevenson and newly crowned WBO titeholder Sergey Kovalev “a dream fight” after having watched each them score sensational knockouts recently.
On Saturday night, Kovalev (22-0-1, 20 knockouts) hurt Nathan Cleverly (26-1, 12 KOs) in the second round, dropped him twice in the third and floored him once more in the fourth and final round of a technical knockout before Cleverly’s partisan fans at Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff, Wales.
Promoted by Kathy Duva of Main Events, Kovalev improved to 10-0-1, with 10 knockouts over his past 11 fights.
In June, Stevenson (21-1, 17 knockouts) came up with a 76-second stoppage that dethroned Chad Dawson as RING champion and WBC titleholder, earning the 10th first-round knockout victory of his career.
“Let’s see Stevenson get past a very tough opponent in his next fight. But if Stevenson can get past Cloud, and that’s no easy out, for sure, because Cloud is a real fighter, but if Stevenson can get past him, then all I can say is that it’s a dream matchup,” said Lampley.
“I don’t know of a reason to wait. I think that if they can get it done, and if both sides can come to an agreement, then it’s a fight that everyone would want to see. That is, if, in fact, Stevenson can get past Cloud. Let’s not jump the gun, because Tavoris, I’m respectful of him.”
As for Kovalev’s performance, Lampley was profusive in his compliments, comparing him to WBA middleweight beltholder Gennady Golovkin.
“That was quite impressive. Devastating. He tore him to pieces. It could have been a third-round KO, but the referee gave Cleverly quite a break at the end of the third round, and he was actually in the process of waving his arms to stop it,” said Lampley. “He figured out that the bell was coming, and he let the bell ring and allowed Cleverly to come out for the fourth round, which only meant another 30 seconds or so of punishment for Cleverly, and that was that. In his way, doing what he does, he’s every bit as impressive as Gennady Golovkin. It’s the same kind of thing. Fabulous footwork, goes to the body as well as to the head, every punch means something.
“He outworked Cleverly from the opening bell, and Roy Jones was right on this. Cleverly just absorbed so much punishment in the first couple of rounds that any plan to outlast Kovalev was gone at that point. There was no way that he was going to outlast Kovalev over the distance after being rocked as he was over the first couple of rounds. It looked as though Kovalev might punch himself out, because his energy level seemed to be going down. But then, late in the third round, he caught Cleverly with a left hook that really hurt him, and after that point, it was just a matter of time and a matter of just how he was going to finish Cleverly. He has finishing skills, he knows what he’s doing, and he went to the body after he hurt him to the head. He’s a really good fighter.”
Photo / Scott Heavey-Getty Images
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org