Stevenson stops Gonzalez
By Dave Spencer
Photos Herby Whyne
It is a fight series is billed as “Fast and Furious” by promoter Yvon Michel and that’s exactly what was delivered by headliner Adonis “Superman” Stevenson (18-1 15KO) who stopped WBC Silver belt holder Noe Gonzalez (28-2 20KO) at 1:40 of the 2nd round in front of 2853 Bell Centre fans. After being the aggressor and establishing a solid body attack in the first round, Stevenson let his hands go in the second and didn’t stop. A left hand early in the barrage seemed to stun the Argentine fighter and from there on it was bombs away as the hometown fighter pressured and didn’t let up. After several consecutive head shots, referee Michael Griffin stepped in and stopped the action.
Gonzalez who seemed hurt several times during the barrage did little to protest the referee’s decision, walking meekly back to his corner one the contest was called.
"The punch that originally hurt his opponent wasn’t even a clean blow,” said Stevenson’s trainer Emanuel Steward. “It was a half-blocked blow and that is an attribute to the punching power of Adonis Stevenson.”
“It was my left hook I caught him with,” confirmed Stevenson, “I was like a snake. I saw him shaking and I just finished him.”
“He was always in balance and placed his punches really well,” said Steward. “He finished him off with well placed punches, very short accurate punches so he got caught with a lot of clean blows.”
It was Steward’s second fight with the Haitian born Stevenson and marked the first time the trainer has had a chance to give instructions between rounds. “It’s been two fights and he hasn’t got a drop of water on his trunks yet. I told him he was fighting a masterpiece and to continue what he was doing. He was getting anxious or overly aggressive just be patient and try to make him back up more. He wasn’t a counter puncher, he was a strong guy with his muscles all greased up to try and look impressive, but I noticed he could only fight coming forward so I said try and back him up and get him in a corner.”
With the win, Stevenson adds the WBC silver belt to his ever growing prize closet of hardware including the NABO, NABA and IBF Intercontinental. But while the WBC is a very real possibility the IBF #2 fighter still has his eyes set on fellow Montrealer Lucian Bute. Promoter Yvon Michel will keep the fighter on the shelf till at least after Bute’s May 26 bout with Carl Froch so the fighter will be available for any potential fight for mandatory challenger. “We expect a fight two days after the Froch fight to see if we’re free to fight for the number one position. The other think is that Ward already said that he is not fighting Anthony Dirrell. By having the silver if that title ever becomes vacant, he will be chosen along with Dirrell to fight for it. So right now we have a bit of a waiting game before scheduling his next fight. He’s in the position everywhere right now.”
For the fighter himself, the goal is still clear, “It doesn’t matter the WBC or the IBF, I want to fight Bute in Montreal” Stevenson said, “In Montreal you need big fights like that, me and Bute.”
Great 8 by Alvarez
Light heavyweight Eleider “Storm” Alvarez (8-0 5KO) thoroughly dominated Rayco Saunders (22-16-2 9KO) 80-72 on all three scorecards as the semi-final event at the Bell Centre in Montreal. The Colombian born former Olympian put on an impressive display of power and speed for the duration of the eight round bout but Saunders weathered the storm and kept coming forward and throwing punches until the end in hopes that Alvarez who had only been six once might slow his attack. He didn’t. Four, five and six punch combinations were the norm in an attack that was impressive and varied.
The test for light-heavyweight Eleider Alvarez wasn’t so much of who was in front of him, but how he would perform when pushed deeper into a fight than he has ever been before. Rayco Saunders has lost before, many times in fact. The 37 year-old now has 16 losses on his record but only ever stopped once and has gone against many tough opponents including Edison Miranda, Chris Henry and Ismayl Sillakh.
But how would a young fighter who had only gone past four once react? Would it be more of the same round after round? Would he pace himself? How would he react to getting hit?
Alvarez who is one of best prospects fighting out of Canada right now answered all the tests and while Saunders was never in any immediate threat of going down or being stopped but it was still a hard night for the visitor. Alvarez took little time off over the course of eight rounds using the jab to not only start things but also to exit from the pocket after landing some lethal assaults. He was unfazed by a right that caught him the 5th and had no problems coming right back so as not raise the level of hope of his opponent. In the 7th two jabs to the body was followed up by a sneaky right hand upstairs with Saunnder’s protective guard momentarily down for and instant. The fighter continually tried different ways to crack the nut that was Saunders who blocked punches well and forced Alvarez to work by continuing to come forward. Alvarez looked content to lay back a bit in the final round but he was urged forward by his corner and the fighter put in another excellent round to finish things off.
Heavyweight Eric Barrack (7-0 6KO) scored a TKO victory at 1:50 of the second round over Sandy Pembroke (2-5) of Kelowna BC. Pembroke did a good job in the first sticking to his opponent, negating the powerful hooks of Barrack and giving him little room to unload. Barrack who has bounced back and forth between boxing and MMA, including an octagon match with Butterbean took what was given to him and worked the body in the early going. Without much of a punch a walking straight in, Pembroke was caught with a right to the side of the head early in the second round.
It was all the opening that fireplug Barrack would need, unleashing a barrage until coming back with three more rights in the same spot and putting down his opponent for the first time. Pembroke would get to his feet but go down seconds later, again with a series of rights. Not showing much, referee Steve St Germain stepped in and called a halt to the contest saving Pembroke from any more punishment.
In an extremely close walk-out bout fought at extremely close quarters, Baha Laham (8-0-1 3KO) managed to squeak out a draw versus Leonus Marie Francoise (8-6-1 2KO). Scores of the bout were 57-57 across the board. Laham tried his best to make things difficult for the visiting French fighter getting right up in his grill and trying to stay close and counter with both fighters working the body well. Francoise was able to find Laham at the end of some good punches with the Montreal fighter backing straight up at times. Neither camp knew going before the 6th that it was going to be the final round.
Didn't know he was fighting until way after yesterday's weigh-in. Hasn't won a fight since 2005, a string of 26 fights, and up against a heavyweight Olympian. The odds certainly weren't exactly in Stepane Tessier's (3-28-1) favour, and things went pretty much as you might expect as he dropped a 60-52, 60-53, 60-53 decsion to Oscar Rivas (10-0 6KO). Down in the second round from a big right hand, the last minute replacement was a bloody mess by the time the bout ended.
Light-heavyweight Schiller Hyppolite (3-0 1KO) had an easy time with trial horse Martin Desjardins (7-22-5 3KO) knocking down the overmatched fighter in both the 1st and 3rd rounds. Desjardins made it to the scorecards where they all read the same thing, 40-34 for Hyppolite.