By Hans Olson
Friday night is big for Quebec-based boxer Adonis “Superman” Stevenson, who takes on Noe Gonzalez for the WBC Silver super middleweight title at the Bell Centre in Montreal, in the feature bout of ESPN’s Friday Night Fights telecast.
“Definitely for Adonis it means a lot,” said Stevenson’s Hall of Fame trainer Emanuel Steward when speaking with Boxing Insider Wednesday.
“Because you know, he kind of sort of say broke on the scene with that unbelievable devastating knockout over Jesus Gonzales.”
The first round bludgeoning of Gonzales became not only Stevenson’s biggest victory to date, but a YouTube sensation, and a clear cut leader for Knockout of the Year. It was the latest in a string of impressive outings from “Superman.”
After suffering his lone career loss two years—albeit a questionable stoppage loss—Adonis has been on a tear. Last year, victories over Derek Edwards, Dion Savage, and Aaron Pryor Jr. put him in position to challenge Jesus Gonzales for the IBF’s #2 rating.
As sensational as that victory was, Steward knows that Stevenson (17-1, 14 KOs) must stay active in a loaded 168 lb. division.
“Everyone wants to take a second look now with another qualified fighter,” continued Steward.
That qualified fighter is Noe Gonzalez, who is currently rated #2 by the WBC. Boasting a great KO% of 68.97, the Uruguayan born Argentinian would appear to be a major threat—but Steward sees those numbers a little differently.
“He’s not that big a puncher as his record shows. He basically wore down his opponents…a lot of them smaller guys. He won by stopping them and winning decisions later on. But I don’t think anyone saw him knocking out a quality guy with one single punch without having to have worn them down. It’s a big difference in the punching power.”
Steward feels that they have the perfect game-plan to avoid that very scenario.
“We worked on Adonis being in great condition because that’s the only advantage that Gonzalez would have. He can’t match Adonis with speed, not with power. The main thing is he would be expecting to wear Adonis down. The last few days Adonis was boxing 12 rounds and at a very hot, hot Kronk Gym. There was no break at all, and he wasn’t even breathing hard after 12 rounds!”
Steward, who has trained some of the greatest fighters of all time including Thomas Hearns and Wladimir Klitschko, felt an immediate connection with the Stevenson, a Haitian-born Longueuil native who now resides in Detroit.
“With Adonis, you know sometimes you run across a guy that you click with,” continued Steward. “The fact that he lives about a mile from my house–he’s stopping by–I have a really mean German Shepherd puppy that don’t like nobody … but him and Adonis gets along good!”
The family-like atmosphere is what Emanuel prefers.
“I’ve got a guy named Derrick Coleman who’s my assistant. He [also] does a lot of quality time with him. It’s a type of a situation where I’m more effective. Even with Wladimir we have a very close bond. We talk to each other nearly every day. So the connection goes beyond boxing. That’s why I don’t like to have too many fighters because you lose that personal connection when you got maybe five, six, seven, eight, ten fighters at one time.”
That isn’t to say Steward and his team aren’t busy enough as it is…
“Adonis is training here at the Kronk Gym with Andy Lee…and Ronald Hearns is fighting back at the Kronk where he started as a kid. He’s also fighting [Friday], so we had to split up the team. My nephew Sugar Hill and Andy Lee are going to Mississippi. They’re already there now, they’re working with Ronald and I needed to come up here with Derrick Coleman and Adonis.
“We’re spit-up with two fights in the same night, and all of us have been training together. And Adonis has been boxing with Ronald Hearns, because he’s fighting [Erislandy] Lara. This Friday is a very big night for all of us at Kronk.”