HBO Boxing delivered big time with Saturday night’s double main event card. It had all of the aspects that modern boxing needs to thrive and keep fans hooked. The fights featured heavy punches, fundamentally sound fighting, toughness beyond measure, an underdog story, a stoppage KO, and a controversial finish.
The first of the co-main events featured light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson defending his title against past champion Tavaris Cloud. Many people entered the fight not knowing much about Adonis “Superman” Stevenson outside of his 1st round KO of Chad Dawson. Many brushed it off as just a heavy handed puncher landing the perfect shot. Stevenson erased all of those thoughts this weekend.
Stevenson out boxed and out classed Cloud. From the onset Stevenson used his ring movement to put Cloud in bad positions. He was able to punish Cloud with a mix of jabs and body punches while moving left to avoid Clouds strong right hand. Stevenson, whom has preciously attacked his opponents with flurries of punches, was patient all night and rarely left himself open to harm.
It all came together for Stevenson around the 5th round when he began dropping his hands in an attempt of taunting. His ability to dodge all of Clouds punches demoralized Tavaris and led to a hesitance to through combos. Stevenson was rewarded in the 8th round when Cloud’s corner through in the flag. Stevenson will use this performance to gain respect as a true boxer and not just a knockout artist. It’d be a great selling point moving forward if he hopes to become one of the faces of HBO Boxing.
The second match wasn’t as clean or clear cut as the first. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr was making his long awaited return to the ring against the tough nosed veteran Brian Vera. Vera has given some good fighters a test in his past but he wasn’t supposed to challenge a fighter of Chavez’s caliber. Oh were people wrong.
It didn’t take a personal trainer to see that Chavez was out of shape and flabby. Vera used that to his advantage inside the ring. Vera out worked Chavez in every round of the fight and threw over double the punches.
In fact a draw seemed likely after 10 rounds because Chavez had seemed to get the final round. No one watching that fight can honestly say that Vera wasn’t the one controlling the pace and tempo. In the eyes of the So Cal judges, and only in their eyes, did Chavez dominate this fight. That’s the only way to describe them awarding Chavez a unanimous decision victory.
I can vouch for getting caught up in the atmosphere of the fight. I don’t have a favorite fighter but can sometimes feel myself pulling for the crowd favorite or hometown hero. The difference is that I’m just there to give my opinions and view point, they actively control the outcome of the fight. The crowd never gasp or cheered for the flurries of Vera punches but were wowed by any landed Chavez punch. The fans in attendance are more to credit for this win than Chavez’s efforts in the ring.
Quiet as kept, boxing is better off with decisions such as these. The sports needs new faces to push and elevate into pay per view worthy fighters. Chavez has one of the most historically relevant names in the sport and has more earning potential than Vera. It also makes fights note worthy and leaves mainstream fans with a lasting impression; whether positive or negative.
That fight wouldn’t have been discuss as much as it’s been this weekend if it wasn’t for the astonishing decision. The old adage rings true,”There’s no such thing as bad publicity.”