“I’m going for the knockout. Knockouts sell. I want to win by knockout,” said Stevenson, who is 21-1 with 18 knockouts, and will be in pursuit of his ninth straight stoppage victory against Cloud.
“In boxing, people want to see that. The knockout. It’s good to go 12 rounds, but everybody wants to see a knockout. All of my fights, I want to win by knockout.”
Stevenson had primarily campaigned as a 168-pounder before scoring June’s 76-second stoppage over left-hander Chad Dawson in Montreal, winning his current titles in the process.
Stevenson said that he nailed Dawson with a blow called “the overhead hook,” which he said was “the punch for the southpaw.”
“That’s my Superman punch,” said Stevenson during a conference call on Thursday in which he vowed to fight with “fire in his eyes.”
Nicknamed “Thunder,” Cloud (24-1, 19 KOs) earned the IBF light heavyweight belt with a unanimous decision over Clinton Woods in August of 2009.
Cloud trailed on one card before stopping Mack in the eighth round, and appeared to have been roundly out-boxed by Campillo after having scored two first-round knockdowns on the way to disputed split-decision victory.
“First of all, tell me if Cloud has ever fought a pure power-puncher. He fought Yusaf Mack. He’s a power-puncher? No. He fought Campillo. He’s a power-puncher? No. He fights Bernard Hopkins. He’s a power-puncher? No. He’s a good strategist and he’s a good boxer, Bernard Hopkkins. But Bernard is not a power-puncher. Now he’s facing a power-puncher,” said Stevenson.
“There’s a big difference. Plus, I can box. So I can box, and I have movement, so it’s not going to be the same. Sooner or later, Tavoris Cloud is going to make a mistake, and I’m going to catch him, just like Chad Dawson. Chad Dawson is a good technician, he made a mistake, and I caught him. It’s going to be the same thing for Tavoris Cloud.”
Should he have to go the distance, however, Stevenson said he is prepared to do so.
“It’s no problem to go 12 rounds. I’m in shape, you know? I’m in shape to go 12 rounds, and if he doesn’t get knocked out, then he’s going to be punished,” said Stevenson. “I’ve got a plan ‘A, B, C, D..’ So, as soon as I get into the ring, I’ll be a chess master.”
While Stevenson was in training at Detroit’s famous Kronk Gym for his bout against Donovan George, whom the Canadian dropped five times on the way to a 12th-round knockout last Oct.12, Hall of Fame trainer Emanuel “Manny” Steward was gravely ill.
Steward died on Oct. 25, but not before declaring Stevenson a future star, and having mentored the anvil-fisted fighter through two previous stoppage victories over Jesus Gonzalez and Noe Gonzales Alcoba.
Steward’s nephew, Sugar Hill, is Steven’s primary trainer, and said that his uncle would approve of the fighter’s development.
“He was able to display some of those skills with Donovan George, where he went 12 rounds with a very, very tough competitor. He did most of that with just his right hand. He didn’t really throw the left hand that much, because of a previous injury,” said Hill.
“But he still had five knockdowns in that fight just boxing. Going into the 12th round, he just wanted to finish him, so he went out and used more pressure on him and used both hands and finished the fight. Since that fight, his footwork and his boxing skills have gotten a lot better.”
Dawson, said promoter Yvon Michel, was unappreciative of Stevenson’s skills.
“Chad Dawson didn’t believe the hype behind Adonis. He was smiling, relaxed, comfortable. Happy to be there,” said Michel. “When the first bell started, he went to Adonis. Adonis said, ‘wow, he’s coming to me. It’s going to be easier.’ So he never believed how strong of a puncher Adonis was until he got hit.”
Dawson’s promoter, Gary Shaw, concurred.
“Yvon,” said Shaw, during the conference call, “you should have told me about that before the fight.”
Photos by Richard Wolowicz, Gettyimages
Lem Satterfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org