by David P. Greisman
In reality, nothing needed to stand between Adonis Stevenson and his next big fight. But there was some unfinished business he wanted to take care of first.
Three years ago he had suffered his only pro loss, a shocking second-round stoppage at the hands of dangerous journeyman Darnell Boone. The bouts that followed were meant to rebuild, to bring the heavy-handed prospect back on the path on which he had been before.
That process succeeded. Last October, he stopped Donovan George in an elimination bout and earned a shot at super middleweight titleholder Carl Froch. Froch, however, is due to have a rematch on May 25 with Mikkel Kessler.
A different bout scheduled to take place that day ended up providing Stevenson with another opportunity. Jean Pascal will face Lucian Bute that evening in Montreal. And Stevenson will end up challenging the man who was initially supposed to be in the main event against Pascal — meeting light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson on June 8 in Montreal.
"Dawson is another step. We will come up with a game plan for that," Stevenson said after the fight is over.
Stevenson didn’t need to win another bout to earn that fight with Dawson. Nevertheless, he stepped into the Bell Centre in Montreal on Friday night for a rematch with Boone — and this time it was Boone who was left down and out on the canvas.
Stevenson was able to conquer his boogeyman with ease, dominating Boone for six rounds before dispatching him with a decisive combination.
Stevenson invested early in a body attack, while Boone often moved backward and covered up, only occasionally jumping forward with wild, unconventional right hands and left hooks. One of those missed hooks from Boone ended with him delivering himself to the mat in the second round. A wild right in that same round left Boone open to, and then wobbled by a pair of Stevenson left hands upstairs.
Stevenson was controlling the fight, and doing so in a controlled manner. This approach came despite the fact that he had scored knockouts in 16 of his 19 previous wins — and that 14 of those 16 knockouts came within the first five rounds.
He couldn’t leave himself open to a perfect shot, as he had done against Boone when they first met. While Boone’s offense was both unorthodox and ineffective, this unpredictable wildness meant Stevenson needed to be cautious.
He didn’t need to be frightened, though — not so long as he stuck to his game plan.
Stevenson continued to lace hard shots around Boone’s guard, digging repeatedly past his elbows and into the body, and also coming around the gloves to his head. He was able to withstand a brief flurry from Boone in the fourth, and had little difficulty avoiding the wild home run swings occasionally launched in his direction.
The sustained body attack eventually paid off. Boone went down from a body shot about a minute into the sixth. He rose, but would soon be down for good. Stevenson landed a left uppercut that left Boone stunned, his hands down at his sides, nothing standing in the way of the hard southpaw cross that followed and finished him.
The end came 2 minutes and 43 seconds into the round.
Stevenson, a 35-year-old originally from Haiti but now fighting out of Longueuil, Quebec, improves to 20-1 with 17 knockouts. Boone, 33, falls to 19-21-3 (8 KOs).
David P. Greisman is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow David on Twitter @fightingwords2 or send questions/comments via email at [email protected]