- Steve Bunce
Adonis win a stunning result - for BellewSteve Bunce June 11, 2013
We get so carried away at times. One guy knocks another guy out and the world goes absolutely crazy. Adonis Stevenson stunned Chad Dawson to claim the WBC light-heavyweight title on Saturday night, landing a big left hook that sent Dawson to the canvas in the first round. A nightmare outcome for mandatory challenger Tony Bellew, right?
Rubbish. Mark my words: Stevenson beating Dawson was the best possible outcome for Bellew.
I've spoken to people since the fight telling me that things couldn't have worked out worse for Tony Bellew - I've seen it on Twitter and on the web as well. Are they all mad? It couldn't have worked out better! Before that fight I would have backed Bellew to beat Stevenson - one hundred per cent. Once that fight was over, with Chad Dawson on his feet but out, I'd still back Tony Bellew.
It was one punch, maybe the third thrown in the fight, and it needs to be put in context. Adonis Stevenson had stepped up to light-heavyweight for the fight and needs to be commended for taking the risk. He had no other options when a mandatory fight with Carl Froch fell through. However, Dawson had stepped down to take on Andre Ward at super-middleweight last year and, weight drained, took a beating and Ward looked like Rocky Marciano feeding on those left-over old heavyweights. We can't be sure how Dawson has recovered - the signs aren't promising.
Stevenson has caught Dawson with a big left on the ear - big, but sloppy. Forget the talk about how great a shot it was - it was just a big old lunge. It wasn't a clever punch - he didn't find an angle, or open one up, and he didn't put it behind the glove. He just threw a big southpaw left that caught Dawson and took him out. It was a correct stoppage - Dawson went down and got back up, but thev referee had to stop it - and in the first round the fight is over. I have read about it being a great punch - rubbish, it was a big, clean shot that took out a fighter. Simple, nothing more.
We already knew Stevenson can bang a bit - he's heavy-fisted. But he's not got great movement, there's no subtlety to his style and he can be hit. Stevenson is 35, he has lost once and 18 of his 21 victories have been quick, and 12 have come in rounds one or two. Why was Dawson anywhere near him in the opener? Dawson has been in years of good fights with some of the best boxers of the last decade: Bernard Hopkins twice, Antonio Tarver twice, Glen Johnson twice and Jean Pascal. Dawson is a good operator and he just got caught. Stevenson warmed up for Dawson by beating a guy who was on a losing streak of three and had managed 19 wins in 42 fights. Stevenson showed that he is an exciting fighter, a bit crude and a bit lively, but his converted flock are talking like Bob Foster Mk II has just entered the ring! Behave.
Tony Bellew has shown in various fights that he can fight in several ways - that testament to his amateur pedigree, not just at international level but going right back to his club boxing in Liverpool. What's more, Bellew has had his wake-up call. He needed a rematch to see off Isaac Chilemba and earn that mandatory challenger spot after a draw in their first encounter. That might be the best thing that ever happened to Bellew - if he had nicked the first fight against Chilemba, it wouldn't have helped his career. That fight ending the way it did, and Tony being angry at himself for under-performing, was a massive moment of self-awareness. He went into the second Chilemba fight a different person.
That was a really big performance against Chilemba - of course it just happened to be overshadowed by appearing on the undercard of Froch-Kessler II. If that had been a standalone fight up in Liverpool you'd have heard the talk about his performance far and wide by now. He did a great job that night, Tony - the job that we said he would do before the first fight on this show. He should never lose to Isaac Chilemba, and he hasn't. It shouldn't even be close, and in the rematch it wasn't.
He's got great training behind him, Bellew, and great pedigree. He can box sensibly and stay involved in a fight that's not great to watch as he did in his rematch with Ovill McKenzie, and he can apply constant non-stop pressure like he had to in the Chilemba rematch. Do people think that because Bellew isn't fighting Dawson that he is going to stop training, like some fool, with his gloves around his waist, and suddenly start fighting like he's never fought before?
Here's what will happen: Tony Bellew will keep his eye on that big left cross missing his nose for about six rounds - and after that, Adonis Stevenson won't know what's going on. Chad Dawson basically walked onto a shot in the opening round - and I doubt Bellew can believe his luck. Bellew against Dawson was always a difficult fight, with Dawson starting as a big favourite. Tony knew that. He got a result on Saturday night - and Barry Jones agrees with me.
Assuming Stevenson doesn't accept a rematch against Dawson - which could be worth a lot of money - and does fight Bellew next, we're set for a fantastic fight night. I'm convinced Tony will beat him, absolutely convinced.
On Buncey's Boxing Podcast this week, Irish amateur boxing legend Kenny Egan looks back on Ireland's fantastic performance at the European Championships: four finalists, two gold medals and second in the table - an unbelievable result. Olympic bantamweight champion Luke Campbell joined us as well to reflect on his own amateur career, including that victory at the 2008 Europeans, and looking ahead to making his professional debut in Hull on July 13.
Speaking of Olympians, we also had Billy Joe Saunders filling us in on his clash of the unbeatens with John Ryder for the British middleweight title - a fight that sees boxing return to the Olympics…the Copper Box, as it was known, will host boxing for the first time when they meet on September 21.
Until next week - adios.