|By James McKnight @JamesMcKnight83|
On June 8, 2013, it took Adonis “Superman” Stevenson just 76 seconds to announce himself on the World stage; landing a devastating left hand to rip the WBC light heavyweight title from “Bad” Chad Dawson’s clutches. This Saturday night, Stevenson aims to produce the goods once again as he attempts to keep the lineal championship with victory over Tavoris “Thunder” Cloud.
Stevenson, 21(18)-1-0, made his pro debut in 2006 at the age of 29. It was a late start in to boxing but he has most certainly made up for lost time. After 13 straight wins, Stevenson suffered the first and only loss of his career to date at the hands of journeyman Darnell Boone; who knocked Stevenson out in two rounds. “Superman” wiped the dust off his cape to record six straight wins inside the distance, with two of those wins coming by way of knockout. Stevenson then avenged the defeat to Boone in March earlier this year; crushing him in six rounds.
A move up from super middleweight to light heavyweight to face Dawson for the WBC 175lb title had some people questioning Stevenson’s ability to carry his power up the weights. The southpaw, though, went from relative obscurity to champion of the world in stunning fashion; proving that he really has dynamite in his left hand. That win sent shock waves through the boxing world. The manner in which the 36-year-old native of Haiti beat the former WBC champ was frightening and impressive. Stevenson now faces Tavoris Cloud in only his second fight at light heavyweight.
Cloud, 24(19)1-0, claimed the vacant IBF 175lb strap back in 2009 after outworking a durable Clinton Woods over 12 absorbing rounds. Cloud retained the IBF belt twelve months later, seeing off the battle-hardened Glen Johnson with victory coming via unanimous decision. Just four months after beating Johnson, the 31-year-old Tallahassee, Florida-native, came up against Columbian knockout artist, Fulgencio Zuniga. The Columbian was down but not out on two occasions during the contest, but he was able to hear the final bell and was well beaten on points.
Cloud successfully defended the IBF crown for the third time in June 2011, stopping Yusaf Mack in 8 rounds. In Cloud’s fourth defense, his opponent; Spaniard, Gabriel Campillo, was on the receiving end of a controversial points defeat. Many who had observed the action believed that Campillo should have been awarded the win.
Cloud and Jean Pascal were then pencilled in to face each other last August, but Pascal withdrew due to a hand injury. Bernard Hopkins stepped in and took on Cloud at a later date which came on March 9 earlier this year. Cloud really did meet his match on this occasion. Hopkins was far too crafty and sharp over the 12 rounds and he now has possession of the IBF light heavyweight title.
Adonis Stevenson-Tavoris Cloud has the makings to be an incredibly exciting matchup. Stevenson has now proven that he can bang at 175lbs. He has said that he wasn’t surprised that he knocked out Chad Dawson, because power is power and he’s a power puncher. Stevenson, though, may need to showcase his all-round skills on the night if the fight becomes a tactical affair. Cloud has proven over the years that he has punching power too and we might just witness how good, or not, Stevenson's chin is at the weight. Cloud can also box and fights aggressively and he also has a solid chin, but if Stevenson lands something concrete on the button it’ll be interesting to see how Cloud reacts.
Cloud has fought at a higher level to Stevenson, but boxing’s all about timing and Cloud may just come up against a fighter who has reached his peak.
"Superman" returns and he is intent on proving he is "The Man of Steel"; but "Thunder" could strike!