The Week That Was (September 23-29, 2013)

By Teron Briggs on September 30, 2013
The Week That Was (September 23-29, 2013)
Adonis Stevenson was dancing around the ring and peppering Cloud with accurate jabs.

Superman’s subtle horizontal movement puzzled Cloud who couldn’t set his feet and unload his shots…

Bell Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Superman huffs and puffs and blows away Cloud

Following his unexpected seven-round domination of former titleholder Tavoris Cloud (24-2, 19 KOs), Adonis “Superman” Stevenson (22-1, 19 KOs) downplayed his recent impressive run by stating, “I’ve beat two champions in four months at light heavyweight.” Superman hasn’t just beaten them, he’s done what Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos have done to recent opposition—he’s annihilated them.

In front of 9,000-plus fans at the raucous Bell Centre in Quebec, Canada, Stevenson’s adapted home, the WBC light heavyweight champion made the first defense of the belt he violently took from former champ Chad Dawson by first round knockout in June of this year. The Haitian-born fighter clad in the iconic Kronk gold trunks entered the ring with an entourage larger than a rapper and a heavyweight champion combined. Cloud, who lost his IBF title to the ageless wonder Bernard Hopkins in March of this year, came into the fight a live underdog and with something to prove following his first career loss.

It became clear in the first round that Cloud was in for a long night, as the fearsome puncher Stevenson clearly surprised him by boxing instead of slugging. Superman, who had steamrolled so many of his opponents with his sheer brute power, was actually dancing around the ring and peppering Cloud with accurate jabs. The latter, who received what many considered to be a gift decision versus southpaw light heavyweight Gabriel Campillo in February of last year, simply doesn’t know how to defend himself against an unorthodox fighter’s left hand. Stevenson tagged him with the straight left and hook at will, when Cloud tried to land his own shots, or even when he was in a defensive posture.

By the second round Cloud’s right eye was starting to close from Superman’s punishing shots. Cloud, who is a high volume slugger, didn’t throw many punches because he simply couldn’t find the WBC champ. Stevenson’s subtle horizontal movement puzzled Cloud who couldn’t set his feet and unload his shots. For the next few rounds Cloud would follow Stevenson around the rind while eating pinpoint jabs and power shots.

Maybe after getting tired of Stevenson mocking him, by playing to the crowd and waving his arms, Cloud had his best round of the fight in the fifth as he finally landed some punches of note. Unfortunately for him, whenever he had any positive moments, Stevenson quickly stymied his momentum with sharp counterpunches.

In the seventh round Stevenson’s head and body attack were taking a severe toll on the normally sturdy Cloud. Both of Cloud’s eyes were cut and swelling up and Stevenson seemed on a verge of another stoppage win. In-between the seventh and eighth round Cloud’s corner mercifully threw in the towel and called a stop to the assault.

The 31-year-old Don King-promoted Cloud suffered a major setback in his career. Due to his affiliation with King he’s barely fought in recent years and when he has, he’s looked like a shell of the fighter who tore through the division a few years ago. Though his stock is clearly on the decline, because of his relatively fan-friendly style he’ll probably get another shot on the big stage if he can put some wins together. Stevenson is tentatively scheduled for a November 30th match with mandatory challenger Tony Bellew in Montreal. Whether he comes out slugging or boxing, the 36-year-old’s recent run has made him must-see TV.

StubHub Center, Carson, California, USA

Chavez Jr. barely ekes out close decision over game Vera.

After a more than one-year hiatus from the sport, former boxing superstar Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (47-1-1, 32 KOs) returned to the ring with little fanfare against the tough but limited challenger Brian Vera (23-7, 14 KOs). A controversial 10-round unanimous decision victory in his favor probably won’t increase the demand from boxing fans to see the much-maligned Son of a Legend.

Prior to Saturday night, the last image many fans of the sport have of Junior is of him desperately chasing middleweight king Sergio Martinez around the ring in the dramatic final round of their championship match in September of last year. Though Chavez was outclassed for much of the fight he lost a lopsided unanimous decision, he knocked down and almost knocked out Martinez in the 12th round. After that near special ending, everything that has followed has only further stained the damaged reputation of Chavez.

After testing positive for marijuana following the Martinez fight, Junior was suspended from the sport for nine months. He was supposed to fight Vera on September 7th at 163 pounds after struggling for years to make the 160-pound middleweight limit. The fight was then rescheduled for the 28th of the month when Junior suffered a seemingly innocuous cut in sparring and the weight was increased to 168 lbs. Unsubstantiated rumors circulated that Chavez had ballooned in weight during his time away and was nowhere near 163 pounds, which was the actual reason for the rescheduling. Then, during the week of the fight, Chavez’s team reached out to Vera’s people to inform them he wouldn’t be able to now make 168 and needed a catchweight. After a lot of haggling, and an estimated six-figure consolation prize to Vera, and a new weight of 173 pounds was set. Chavez weighed in at 172.4, while Vera came in at 171.2 a day before the fight.

Standing across from his opponent at the start of the fight, Chavez looked like a cruiserweight in comparison to the career middleweight Vera. The bout was changed to 10 rounds, from 12, at Vera’s trainer Ronnie Shields insistence following the Weightgate fiasco, in the belief that it would allow them a better chance to win the majority of the rounds, since Junior is a notorious slow starter. Vera came out ripping AK-47 like rapid-fire jabs as he continually tried to walk down the bigger man. Vera’s sheer volume of punches at times seemed to overwhelm the hulking Chavez. Chavez as usual found success with his wicked left hook to the chin and body. As the crowd favorite, whenever Chavez connected on a punch, he rarely landed combinations, the fans went wild.

In the middle rounds Junior started to have more success as he tried to slow down Vera by attacking his midsection. Chavez even found a home for a short uppercut when the two traded punches inside. Maybe sensing that it would be too difficult to hurt the hardheaded Chavez with headshots, Vera turned his attention to the younger man’s body. Almost immediately Junior began complaining to the referee about blows below the belt, though it was clear most of Vera’s body punches landed above the waistline. In the sixth round Chavez buckled Vera’s legs with a straight right hand but the Texas native was undaunted.

The seventh round provided some of the best action of the fight as both fighters had success landing their power punches. Though Chavez wasn’t throwing nearly as many shots as Vera, his punches did seem to be harder and he got the better of the round. When Junior connected on his big punches he clearly hurt his foe, while the same can’t be said for Vera. The late rounds were very close and it appeared that Vera did enough to the take the final frame. The judges scored the bout unanimously in Chavez’s favor by surprising scores of 98-92, 96-94 and 97-93.

The CompuBox punch numbers favor Vera, but they are somewhat misleading. Vera threw 734 punches to Chavez’s 328. Vera landed 176 of his punches, for a percentage of 24%, while Junior landed 38% (125) of his shots. The stat that probably weighed heaviest on the judge’s decision was the power numbers. Chavez landed more than 50% of his power shots, 98, while Vera landed only 10 more of those shots while throwing 157 more. I scored the fight six rounds to four for Vera, but it was a very close fight, despite what the ridiculous scorecards indicated.

Though it was a disheartening loss for Vera it was a career high payday for him, in excess of 400 grand, and he performed well. He might never be a world champion but he’s one of the toughest challengers in the sport. Junior’s fight against Martinez last year sold out the Thomas & Mack Arena in Las Vegas and did close to a half a million pay-per-view buys, generating in excess of $24 million dollars. The fight with Vera generated little buzz and Junior, a Mexican household name, barely drew 5,000 fans in a state with a huge Mexican population, California. Fans are clearly tiring of his antics, however at only 27 and with the backing of Top Rank it might not be too late for him to turn things around. If only he can find the discipline to commit himself to the sport that he seems to take for granted.

Polideportivo Dentenario, Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico

Soto wins WBC International Silver junior welterweight belt by decision

Former world champion Humberto Soto (62-8-2, 35 KOs) recorded a 12-round unanimous decision over the unknown Manhonri Montes (28-3-1, 21 KOs) in Los Mocis, Sinaloa, Mexico.

It marked the fourth straight win for the former world titleholder Soto, who was stopped in five rounds by Lucas Matthysee in June of last year. He’s now ranked number three by the WBC at junior welterweight and could earn a shot at the title before the year is out, especially if the champion Danny Garcia moves up to welterweight as expected. In the meantime, he’ll have to settle for this alphabet trinket called the International Silver belt, which only the WBC can explain the existence of.

Bally’s Event Center, Atlantic City, New Jersey

Jersey Boy Glen Tapia scores another knockout win in Atlantic City

Fast rising light middleweight prospect Glen “Jersey Boy” Tapia (20-0, 12 KOs) remained undefeated as he stopped veteran Elco Garcia (27-9, 13 KOs) in five brutal rounds. Tapia controlled the action before eventually beating down Garcia in the fifth. Following the only knockdown of the fight, in the fifth frame, referee Benjy Estevez Jr. waived off the bout at 2:59 minute mark as the badly hurt Garcia was clearly unable to continue.

Top Rank, which has helped him build a solid following in his home state, promotes Tapia and he is clearly someone to watch going forward as his level of competition continues to gradually rise.

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

Adonis Stevenson vs Tavoris Cloud 28.09.2013 full fight

Julio Cesar Chavez Jr vs Brian Vera 28.09.2013 full fight

Glen Tapia vs. Elco Garcia- 9/28/13

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  1. Ted 03:40pm, 10/04/2013

    Iris, there is also his girlfriend’s father who you do not want to f—k with.

    It’s the Junior Fan Club and I am a proud member along with bk don

  2. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 03:23pm, 10/02/2013

    Ted- It looks like it’s you and bk don….and oh wait… y sus padres….and then there’s Bob Arum and Jose Sulaiman….not too shabby….not too shabby indeed!

  3. bk don 06:44am, 10/02/2013

    Nope, Ted. I enjoy watching him as well. The vera fight was fun as are most of the fights he’s involved in. The circus around him is absurd but he’s not the first or last star fighter to play by his own set of rules.

  4. Ted 05:41am, 10/02/2013

    Am I the only on who like Junior?

  5. Thresher 08:17am, 10/01/2013

    Hell yes. I watched it and I enjoyed it. Ugly is not always bad. Mollo vs The Pin is a great example of that.

    Rios is ugly, Rigo is not. Do the logic.

  6. bk don 07:46am, 10/01/2013

    Thresher apparently boxing fans love the “ugly” b/c Junior’s fight has reportedly generated the highest televised boxing rating of the year.

  7. Darrell 04:48pm, 09/30/2013

    I saw my first fuu game of American football that didn’t actually have players in lingerie the other night. Peyton Manning is SO controlled, SO organised & SO much of a leader. It was actually gripping & compelling viewing. That line of bruisers protecting him seem to trust his judgement completely….the Eagles had no chance.

    There was some boxing, I hear?

  8. Thresher 11:37am, 09/30/2013

    The Good (Stevenson), the bad (Cloud), and the ugly (Junior).

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