By Derek Gionta: 2017 was an eventful year for boxing that included a number of exciting fights, newly crowned champions, as well as prospects and contenders now on the world’s radar. No matter what stage fighters are performing on and where they stand among the sport’s elite, knockouts will almost always be the most talked about occurrence in the sweet science.
Secondsout.com’s panel of writers voted among the years best knockouts, with tallies giving the nod to David Lemieux’s knockout over Curtis Stevens this past March at the Turning Stone Casino in Verona, New York.
Lemieux entered the bout with a glossy KO rate, having stopped 32 opponents in his 36 wins.
A one-time IBF middleweight champion, Lemieux found himself under the bright lights of HBO, knowing he was likely on his way to another world title challenge if he took care of business.
Brownsville, New York’s Curtis Stevens, known as the "Cerebral Assassin," filled the spot as Lemieux’s opponent. This was an anticipated war the moment the fight was announced.
With 21 KO’s of his own in 29 wins, the outcome was certain to end before the allotted 12 rounds.
Lemieux began the fight applying pressure and throwing heat every chance he got. Stevens countered well on the retreat, applying pressure of his own in spurts. The signature left hook of Stevens was active to the head and body of Lemieux. The work rate of Lemieux continued throughout the second stanza. Stevens looked for openings and did his best to return leather. With two rounds in the bag, Lemieux looked poised and ready to end the fight.
In a brief trade against the ropes in the third, Lemieux caught Stevens square on the chin with a left hook. Crashing to the canvas and nearly off the ring apron, the medical staff stormed the ring along with his team.
Sprawled out on the canvas, the fighter once known as "Showtime" was completely out. Referee Charlie Fitch waved the fight off moments after keeping Stevens from falling out of the ring with just over one minute left in the round.
Many times a knockout comes when you least expect it.
That wasn’t the case on this night.
Two brave fighters with a history of pleasing the crowd did just that. In a losing effort, Stevens put up a valiant attempt to create the same fireworks that ended his night. A lot of opponents would have played it safe against Lemieux, which doesn’t always translate to the desired result. However, when you allow two bulls to clash, you can always expect this type of result.
David Lemieux, trained by Montreal based Marc Ramsay, has since gone on to win his next fight by decision before losing a decision in a WBO middleweight title challenge against the UK’s Billy Joe Saunders near the year’s end.
Who knows what the future holds for the Canadian slugger. At 38-4 with 33 knockouts, and having just turned 29 on December 22nd, he still has some time left in the sport.
Maybe he’s got a few more big knockouts left to display. Either way, his March 2017 knockout of Curtis Stevens will remain a big moment in his career, cemented as a great victory and Secondsout.com’s 2017 Knockout of the Year.