By Derek Bonnett
Adonis "Superman" Stevenson added the first defense of his WBC light heavyweight title with a comprehensive defeat of former titlist Tavoris Cloud. Stevenson, well-known for his big punch long before his title-winning blitz of Chad Dawson, turned to his boxing skills to put his most recent win in the books.
The thirty-six year old champion started the opening round slowly allowing Cloud to circle him and control the pace over the first two minutes. That was the last semblance of control Cloud would experience as Stevenson rocked the challenger with a left hand with about a minute to go in the round. Cloud left the exchange with an abrasion over the left eye. Stevenson asserted himself in the role of the boxer immediately to start the second. He circled Cloud with his hands low. His straight right counters scored early as he showed patience in the delivery of his shots. The champion punctuated the round with an uppercut and a left hand. Cloud continued to follow Stevenson around the ring in the third as the round unfolded very similarly as the one which preceded it. After nine minutes, Stevenson appeared to have a three point lead.
Stevenson showed some strong lateral movement and defense in avoiding Cloud’s shrinking offense. Stevenson began focusing more on the body in the fourth, but also managed to turn the abrasion into an open cut early in the round. Cloud was noticeably wobbled by a body blow late in the round, which saw him landing only two punches. Stevenson remained in control, jabbing to the body of Cloud, 31, and pushed him to the canvas as the tied up. Cloud had his best moments of the fight in the opening seconds of the sixth when he landed a series of right hands, but it never amounted to enough of an attack to seize control. Stevenson returned fire with a pair of double left hooks, which mostly landed. After six, Stevenson seemed to keep his lead without losing a round.
At the start of the seventh, Cloud was knocked back on his heels by a left hand from the champion. Both eyes now poured blood steadily as Cloud’s chances of winning shrunk from remote to near impossible. Cloud fell back on his heels again after a strong left hook connected from the champion. Cloud landed a well-placed right, but was countered by an even better left at the end of the round. Cloud returned to his corner, which greeted him with their admission of surrender, sparing the former champion further punishment. The official time was 3:00 of round seven with Stevenson winning by retirement due to the cuts.
Fighting in front of an adoring crowd in his adopted homeland of Quebec, Canada, Stevenson raised his ledger to 22-1 (19). Cloud dipped to 24-2 (19). Superman’s career potential seems out of this world in the light heavyweight division. However, not too far below him in the rankings resides Sergey Kovalev, who seems the most likely dose of Kryptonite for the champion. Cloud’s place in the division looks quite uncertain given his lack of drive in this most recent effort combined with his previous defeat at the hands of the forty-eight year old Bernard Hopkins.
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