Michael Rosenthal

Stevenson puts on a show

We knew Adonis Stevenson could punch. Now we know he can box. The combination is impressive.

Stevenson dominated former titleholder Tavoris Cloud with a little bit of everything, which prompted Cloud’s corner to stop the mismatch after seven rounds on Saturday night in Stevenson’s adopted hometown of Montreal.

But Stevenson’s boxing skills were the story – and Cloud’s bane – on this night. THE RING light heavyweight champ obviously watched Cloud’s fight against Bernard Hopkins, whose ability and movement proved too much for the plodding Cloud to overcome.

Stevenson used that blueprint – contrary to his reputation as a puncher – but also picked Cloud apart with hard shots that cut him above both eyes and hurt him on several occasions. More important, he seemed to take Cloud’s heart.

Thus, with blood streaming down Cloud’s face and little hope that he could turn the tide, Cloud’s corner stopped the fight to save him from further punishment.

In the end, a fight many expected to be competitive evolved into a showcase for Stevenson, whose flashy performance and clowning as Cloud stood helpless before him seemed to delight his fans. Everyone except Cloud and Co. had fun.

And this showcase followed another showcase, Stevenson’s stunning one-punch, first-round knockout of Chad Dawson in June that confirmed Stevenson as a thunderous puncher.

Those two victories have turned the 36-year-old native of Haiti from a fighter with great potential into a fighter to be feared, as well as fighter who is suddenly very marketable. Fans will want to see him fight going forward, particularly if he tangles with one particular opponent.

Sergey Kovalev is creating his own buzz among 175-pounders. The hard-punching Russian reduced then-unbeaten Nathan Cleverly into his personal piñata last month, scoring a fourth-round knockout and thrilling everyone who saw it.

Stevenson vs. Kovalev would be a dream come true for those who crave action fights between tough, skillful opponents.

Of course, there are no guarantees that fight will happen. Hopkins is a viable candidate to fight Stevenson. A matchup with fellow Canadian Jean Pascal is a natural for Montreal. And there are a number of qualified super middleweights.

The only thing we know is that there are no more doubts about Stevenson. Whomever he fights will have to be at his best to beat him.

Cloud?

The Floridian was the IBF 175-pound titleholder and seemingly on the cusp of stardom as recently as last year. Then, when he escaped with a controversial split-decision over Gabriel Campillo in February 2012, the doubts started.

Consecutive one-sided losses to Hopkins, who beat him by a unanimous decision, and now Stevenson confirmed those doubts and leave his career as an elite fighter in serious jeopardy.

Indeed, a great night for Stevenson was a horrible night for Cloud. Two fighters are heading in opposite directions.

 

 

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