Stevenson retains belt with quick KO of Gonzales
By Herb Zurkowsky, Postmedia News - canada.com
MONTREAL — In the long and storied history of professional boxing in Montreal, this will be remembered as one of the quickest knockouts ever.
Adonis Stevenson of Longueuil, Que., retained his International Boxing Federation Intercontinental super-middleweight title Saturday night after flooring Jesus Gonzales at 1:39 of the first round before about 2,000 spectators at the Bell Centre.
Stevenson, working with legendary American trainer Emanuel Steward in his corner for the first time, improved to 17-1 with 14 KOs. Of more importance, he’ll improve his IBF ranking to second in the 168-pound division, moving him closer to a potential world-title bout against champion Lucian Bute.
MONTREAL, QUE.: FEBRUARY 18, 2012-- Adonis Stevenson (R) of Longueuil, Quebec celebrates after knocking out Jesus Gonzales of Phoenix, Arizona during the first round of their 12 round super middleweight IBF Intercontinental Championship fight at the Bell Centre in Montreal on Saturday, February 18, 2012.
Photograph by: Dario Ayala , THE GAZETTE
The two opponents barely had time to work up a sweat before Stevenson dropped Gonzales with a thunderous right-left combination. Gonzales was counted out by referee Marlon Wright.
Gonzales, from Phoenix, lost for only the second time in 29 bouts.
It’s obviously premature to tell how much Stevenson has improved under Steward, who has trained many world champions in his career and earlier this week predicted Stevenson would be the next one.
Stevenson, 34, has ascended this far thanks to his punch, and this fight didn’t go long enough to see what else he might have added to his repertoire under Steward.
And the way Stevenson punches, perhaps it doesn’t matter.
There was much pre-fight animosity between Stevenson and Gonzales, and the bout was certainly expected to last longer. That, of course, is all water under the bridge, Stevenson getting the last laugh.
Stevenson accused Gonzales of being racist and claimed he was going to launch a defamation of character lawsuit against the American. Where that potential legal actions stands will be determined.
Gonzales accused Stevenson of rape, although Stevenson, in 1998, was in fact charged with managing prostitutes, assault and making threats. He served 18 months in Bordeaux prison.
In preliminary bouts, Montreal heavyweight Oscar Rivas improved to 9-0, stopping Croatia’s Ivica Perkovic at 51 seconds of the third round. It was the sixth knockout of Rivas’ career, while his opponent is now 15-13.
Perkovic was dropped twice in the second round and once in the third before the fight was mercifully stopped.
That bout was followed by another mismatch.
Longueuil welterweight Dierry Jean improved to 21-0 with a technical knockout at 1:22 of the third round against England’s Ryan Barrett.
Jean dropped his opponent twice in each of the opening two rounds and again in the third before the carnage was halted. Jean now has 14 KOs to his credit, while Barrett, who once fought Amir Khan, now has a record of 25-6-3.
Arash Usmanee survived the first knock-down of his career to record a unanimous eight-round junior-lightweight decision against Innocent Anyanwu.
Usmanee, from Montreal, was dropped from an uppercut in the fifth round, but remained unbeaten, improving to 17-0. He’s ranked 10th by the World Boxing Association. Anyanwu, from Amsterdam, is now 21-4-2.
The decision was greeted with widespread braying from the spectators.
Ottawa’s Tyler Asselstine improved to 9-0 with an eight-round unanimous decision against Italy’s Nicola Cipolletta, who lost for the first time in nine bouts.
Other winners included Ghislain Maduma, via a technical knockout at the end of the first round, against Jeremy Abbott of Dunnville, Ont., and Baha Laham, who scored a knockout at 52 seconds of the third round against Hungary’s Csaba Toth. Both Maduma and Laham remain undefeated.
A 10-round light-heavyweight bout between Eleider Alvarez and Otis Griffin was cancelled after Griffin, from Sacramento, Calif., demanded more money from promoter Yvon Michel. According to Michel, Griffin’s purse was $11,500.