By Hans Olson
“I’m very happy,” said an overjoyed Adonis Stevenson walking back to his dressing room after Saturday’s post-fight press conference at the Bell Centre. “I’m ranked #2 now [by the IBF], but yeah it felt very good…”
I had asked Adonis, who fights under the moniker “Superman,” how good it felt knocking out Jesus Gonzales, a fighter that had insulted him throughout the week leading up to the fight. It wasn’t that Gonzales had brought up Stevenson’s less-than-picturesque past—Adonis served time in jail years ago for managing prostitutes and assault—it was that Gonzales went a step further, drumming up considerably worse allegations of rape and sexual assault. Emanuel Steward (Stevenson’s trainer) even noted at the post-fight presser that some of the things Gonzales said he could be sued for.
In fact, the Montreal Gazette’s Herb Zurkowsky’s said in his post-fight story “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 action stands will be determined.”
Whether any legal action is ever pursued appears to be of little consequence now, for Adonis Stevenson—at least in the ring—has already played the roles of judge, jury, and executioner.
It was the most violent one-punch knockout I’ve personally ever witnessed ringside…and a knockout that will certainly resonate in the world of boxing for some time.
“Nothing sells like knockouts,” said Steward after. “This is what sells. That was one of the best knockouts I’ve seen in 60 years.”
Adonis Stevenson appears on his way to being a star.
Taking a year off after a disappointing loss to Darnell Boone in 2010 (his lone defeat), Stevenson bounced back in 2011 winning 3 fights in impressive fashion.
First, there was a 3rd round kayo of Derek Edwards on ESPN’s “Friday Night Fights” in April underneath the evening’s featured bout, Marco Antonio Rubio vs. David Lemieux. Next, there was a 1st round destruction of Dion Savage on the undercard to Floyd Mayweather vs. Victor Ortiz in Vegas.
The brutal pounding Stevenson gave Aaron Pryor Jr. in December put an exclamation point on 2011’s acceleration in a career once seemed stuck in neutral.
Stevenson has fallen in love with the city of Detroit where he now trains, and is looking into buying a home there to be closer to Steward’s Kronk Gym. Winning a world championship would certainly help his wallet with the down-payment. With his knockout win on Saturday, he’s that much closer to it. Jesus Gonzales is no bum…far from it. The fact that Stevenson was able to eliminate him with such ease was a statement-maker to say the least.
Earning a #2 rating with the IBF in the win, Stevenson creeps closer to a potential showdown with Quebec’s biggest star, IBF champ Lucian Bute.
“You can’t affect me, you know,” Adonis shrugged with a smile when I asked him how he’s going to deal with any criticism—in boxing or personally—as his popularity increases.
“I’m stronger [now]. When I was younger…that’s a good example of me having a problem and how I worked to overcome that. I’ve trained very hard. I’m a good fighter, and I want to set an example. I have two daughters that I am now a good example for. I work very hard. I have the experiences, so talking to young people I tell them my experiences. I want to give back.”
In the post-fight press conference, Emmanuel Steward was asked what advice he gave to Adonis during the week. “Be successful,” is what Steward remarked he always gives out as advice, for being successful is the best revenge on those trying to bring you down.
Although this was only the first fight Steward and Stevenson have had together, it appears to be a match made in fight Heaven…and one that could send Hellacious consequences to future opposition.
Because based on his showing on Saturday, I can’t see any reason why Adonis Stevenson won’t be successful.
Boxing Insider’s Hans Olson can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @hansolson