“Classic puncher’s dual,” says Cliff Rold of BoxingScene.com regarding Saturday’s light heavyweight bout between RING and WBC champion Adonis “Superman” Stevenson and former IBF beltholder Tavoris “Thunder” Cloud that will take in Montreal and on HBO.
“This will be a very exciting fight, for how long it lasts,” says Joseph Santoliquito of THE RING and CBS Sports. “This doesn’t go the distance.”
Stevenson (21-1, 17 knockouts) had primarily campaigned as a 168-pounder before scoring June’s 76-second stoppage that dethroned RING 175-pound champion Chad Dawson in Montreal, while Cloud (24-1, 19 KOs) was derailed as IBF beltholder via unanimous decision loss to 48-year-old Bernard Hopkins in March.
The Haitian-born Canadian Stevenson turned 36 on Sept. 22 and didn’t begin his boxing career until just shy of 30 years old. His longest fight lasted into the 12th round, where he stopped Donovan George after dropping him five times in October of last year.
Other than the George fight, however, Stevenson’s longest bouts were a 10-round unanimous decision over David Whittom in December of 2007, a ninth-round stoppage of Aaron Pryor Jr. in December of 2011, and an eight-round unanimous decision over Marlon Hayes in August of 2007.
Cloud will be bringing a similar knockout ratio to the fight, though. During a recent interview with Anson Wainwright of RingTV.com, Cloud advised Stevenson, “Don’t blink,” implying he expects to take care of business quickly.
“I don’t really think he’s that good of a boxer, but he has power, and that always makes a fight exciting. Because when either fighter can punch, the fight could be over in one round, with one punch…If I have to go in there and punch with him, I’ll punch with him. If I have to box, I can box. If I have to do both I can do both…I’m just going to win the fight by any means necessary,” Cloud told Wainwright.
For his part, Stevenson has made it clear that he is going for the stoppage against Cloud, whom he has vowed to take out with his “Superman punch.”
“I’m going for the knockout. Knockouts sell. I want to win by knockout,” said Stevenson, who will be in pursuit of his ninth straight knockout victory. “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.”
Cloud earned the IBF light heavyweight belt with a unanimous decision over Clinton Woods in August of 2009. He made four defenses before being dethroned by Hopkins. Prior to that, Cloud had trouble with skillful boxers Yusaf Mack and ex-beltholder Gabriel Campillo.
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 Hopkins. But Bernard is not a power-puncher. Now he’s facing a power-puncher,” said Stevenson.
“Sooner or later, Tavoris Cloud is going to make a mistake, and I’m going to catch him, just like Chad Dawson.”
Cloud has acknowledged that he expecting “a dangerous fight” — but for Stevenson.
Whatever happens, Stevenson-Cloud has the ingredients of a fan-friendly night of boxing.
RingTV.com sought the opinions of 19 boxing insiders about who wins on Saturday.
Stevenson’s sudden stoppage of Chad Dawson was an exhibition of almost frightening power. Cloud looked hittable in a loss to Bernard Hopkins. It only takes one from Stevenson.
Record: 15-7 [Last pick: Mayweather UD 12 Alvarez]
Adonis Stevenson W 12 Tavoris Cloud - Matched otherwise evenly on paper, this fight comes down to confidence and power. Adonis “Superman” Stevenson is riding a wave of both after beating the man — Chad Dawson — who beat the old man — Bernard Hopkins — who beat Tavoris Cloud.
Cloud’s confidence — and ability to win big fights — has to be in question after an embarrassing loss to the 48-year old B-Hop earlier this year following a dubious 2012 performance against Gabriel Campillo.
Cloud’s best chance is to capitalize on the age and relative inexperience of Stevenson, particularly at light heavyweight. If either fighter is to be knocked out or stopped, it will be Cloud seeing stars. More likely is a Stevenson points win at home by close but unanimous decision.
Record: 11-8 [Mayweather W 12 Alvarez]
Adonis Stevenson UD 12 Tavoris Cloud: It’s amazing how one punch can change everyone’s perception of a fighter in an eye blink. Adonis Stevenson’s crushing 76-second knockout of Chad Dawson was incredible, but if they fight 10 times, how often does he produce that result?
Prior to that upset Stevenson was considered fringe at 168 pounds. But now he’s Mike Tyson reincarnate at light heavy? Sorry. I remain unconvinced and a decision win over a disinterested Tavoris Cloud should bring Superman and his growing fan club back down to earth.
Record: 6-5 [Mayweather UD 12 Alvarez]
Adonis Stevenson UD 12 Tavoris Cloud: Punch for punch, Adonis Stevenson is much the harder hitter and since the fight is in Canada it’s very likely he’ll be the one to push the action. That means points and if he grabs enough of the close rounds he’ll end up on top.
This one should go rounds because Tavoris Cloud is a durable man and he’ll stand up to “Superman’s” bombs. That said, the high-octane volume that made Cloud a potentially special fighter has gone way down in recent years.
To me, he looks a bit past his peak while Stevenson, even in his mid-30s, appears to be at his zenith. That dynamic — and home ring advantage — will prove decisive.
Record: 12-7 [Mayweather W 12 Alvarez]
Adonis Stevenson TKO 7 Tavoris Cloud: It would be a lot easier to pick Tavoris Cloud if he didn’t look so horrible against Bernard Hopkins and Gabriel Campillo. Cloud is the better infighter and has a rock hard chin but getting inside against the southpaw might prove to be difficult.
Adonis Stevenson isn’t a great boxer, leans toward the firefight and has been knocked out by Darnell Boone, who has far less power than Cloud. However, that power he possess should be a game changer as Cloud hasn’t fought anybody that hits that hard.
Ask Chad Dawson if he’s shaken the cobwebs from that left hook. If, and this is a big if, Stevenson is able to keep the fight on the outside, he’ll win this fight. He probably won’t and will end up in at least one monster exchange where someone will get hurt. I’m just expecting that hurt person to be Cloud.
Adonis Stevenson UD 12 over Tavoris Cloud: Adonis Stevenson can punch, but Tavoris Cloud has shown a reliable chin throughout his career and isn’t likely to go away easily.
Stevenson has never gone the distance in a 12-round fight, but he’ll figure out a way to out-point Cloud, whose power should test Stevenson’s chin, too.
Record: 11-4 [Mayweather UD 12 Alvarez]
Adonis Stevenson W 12 Tavoris Cloud: Adonis Stevenson has taken the light heavyweight crown by force given his impressive display of power against former champ Chad Dawson.
However, I think Tavoris Cloud will give him a tougher time than expected, throwing short shots on the inside and extending the bout the distance–but ultimately, Stevenson will outwork and out-slug him to the decision.
Record: 9-7 [Mayweather UD 12 Alvarez]