Can Thomas Williams Pull Off The Upset Against Adonis Stevenson?
By: Sean Crose
Adonis Stevenson may not be popular, but; make no mistake about it, the 27-1 WBC light heavyweight champion is a dangerous and talented fighter. Just ask Chad Dawson. Or Tony Bellew. Or Darnell Boone. For all those men have been taken out by the Haitian-Canadian powerhouse. The problem, of course, is that Stevenson has been accused – fairly or not – of avoiding Sergey Kovalev. He’ s also, let’s face it, faced less than stellar competition as champ. In a world where fellow champ Kovalev is going up against pound for pound honcho Andre Ward, opponents like Sakio Bika and Dmitry Sukhotsky just don’t seem formidable.
Stevenson may be in for a real go this Friday in Quebec’s Videotron Center, however. For the 20-1 Thomas Williams Jr can pack a wallop himself. A big wallop. Just ask Edwin Rodriguez, who Williams laid out during a nationally televised bout last April. Now that he’s got a chance at the big time, Williams will undoubtedly make the most of his opportunity, even if it is in Stevenson’s adopted Canadian homeland. Does Williams have what it takes, though? He hits hard, no doubt, but he can also be sloppy in the ring.
Then again, Stevenson is pushing forty and will stand a good ten years older than his opponent this weekend. What’s more, the guy called Superman also has a chin that makes some wonder. He was dropped by Andrzej Fonfara back in 2014, after all, in a bout which ended up being far closer than most may have expected. What’s more, Stevenson has only fought once in the past year, against the less than intimidating Tommy Karpency. While Stevenson may indeed have taken it easy these past few years, going essentially unchallenged sometimes has its drawbacks. Sure enough, Stevenson hasn’t had a real challenge since Fonfara, and that fight was over two years ago.
As for Williams, it’s hard not to like the guy. After his one loss to Gabriel Campillo in front of ESPN cameras several years ago, he apologized profusely to trainer/commentator Teddy Atlas, who Williams idolizes, for letting Atlas down. Atlas gave him a pep talk that night – and did so again on ESPN this past month (livening up one of the worst televised cards in this writer’s memory) in the lead up to Friday’s fight. Still, Stevenson is no joke, and unless his skills have deteriorated considerably, Williams may be in for a tough go when he and Stevenson trade punches during the live PBC broadcast (to be aired on Spike).
Then again, who’s to say Williams won’t return home to America with more than just the luggage he left with? Boxing is a crazy sport, after all, and no one – not even Stevenson – can be guaranteed to avoid trouble forever.