by Johnny Walker
This afternoon at the Pepsi Coliseum in Quebec City, Canada, Quebec-based fighters ruled the day as lineal light-heavyweight champion Adonis “Superman” Stevenson cruised to a win over tough veteran Sakio Bika, while the most impressive performance was delivered by rapidly rising star Artur Bieterbiev, who showed supreme ring acumen and frightening power in disposing of challenger Gabriel Campillo via a crushing knockout.
In the first televised bout as CBS got back into the boxing game on Saturday afternoons, Artur Bieterbiev of Russia, now based in Montreal, made it clear why light-heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev, who has been squabbling with the Bieterbiev camp for the last few weeks in increasingly nasty back-and-forth exchanges, sees his Russian rival as such a threat.
Quite frankly, Bieterbiev (8-0, 8 KOs) looks ready to challenge anybody in the light-heavyweight division right now.
He dominated Campillo (25-7-1, 12 KOs) from the opening bell, dropping the challenger in round one via a sweeping right hand power shot. Campillo survived though veteran skill and savvy, but it was already clear that it was just a matter of time.
Astutely, after seeing that a head shot didn’t do in his opponent immediately, Bieterbiev then spent rounds two and three pounding the body of Campillo as if the latter were a heavy bag in the gym. Even the thudding sound of his shots hurt to listen to, so one can imagine being on the end of them. Campillo’s strength was rapidly ebbing as round three came to a close, Bieterbiev landing a big right hand that sent the wincing opponent to his corner. Campillo was clearly just about done.
Bieterbiev smelled blood and came out in round four determined to close the show. After a few more brutal body shots that brought Campillo’s hands down, the Russian went upstairs for a vicious right hand that knocked his opponent senseless, followed by a left that a sporting Bieterbiev appeared to partly pull as he merely turned away, his opponent’s body slumping toward the mat.
Artur Bieterbiev was declared winner by knockout at 2:23 of round four.
“I’m very happy to be on the big stage on CBS at such an early point in my professional career. This all came together very quickly and I hope to be back soon,” said the impressive Bieterbiev.
“We’re planning to fight again in May and I’ll leave whoever my opponent will be in God’s hands.”
Then came time for hometown Haitian-Canadian hero Adonis “Superman” Stevenson to make his appearance against veteran Sakio Bika.
To no one’s surprise, the always tough and awkward Bika put up a decent challenge for the champion, who is actually two years older than Bika.
But the pupil of the late Emanuel Steward and product of Kronk Gym in Detroit mostly has it his own way for the 12 round affair.
Stevenson (26-1, 21 KOs) had hoped to be the first man to knock Bika (32-7-3, 21 KOs) out, but had to settle for knocking him down twice, once albeit more a slip than a knockdown.
After an even opening round, Stevenson gradually managed to warm-up and staggered Bika with a patented left hand power shot in round two. Bika rallied in round three, landing some solid left jabs and a hard right, these perhaps nullified by a wicked left hand scored by “Superman” at the bell to end the round.
Stevenson was in his comfort zone by round four, landing huge left hands for fun and totally outclassing the game Bika.
In round five, Bika was clearly shaken by a left hand and went to the mat in what was called a slip. He was soon hurt again and Stevenson was enjoying himself enough to do some Ali-style clowning with a “bolo-punch” wind-up at the round’s end. The next round played out much the same way, with Bika attempting to rally, only to be cut short by another hard left from Adonis, in which Bika hit the mat in another “slip.” After scoring with some huge body shots, a confident Stevenson then did his version of the “Ali-shuffle” to entertain the fans.
Stevenson took a round off in stanza seven, and Bika did his best to take advantage of that occurrence, scoring with nice right hook and doing enough to perhaps win a round.
Bika tried to keep that momentum in round eight, trading some hard left hand shots with Stevenson, and again, maybe stealing a round from the champ.
Stevenson got his second wind in round nine. After landing some nifty combinations, “Superman” softened Bika up with a massive shot to the body, bringing the latter’s hands down just in time for a short hard left to connect with his chin, and Bika was now on the mat with a legitmate knockdown.
Round 10 saw Stevenson with visions of being the first man to stop the rugged Bika dancing in his head, and he scored at will with combinations and huge left hands, but Bika hung in there, as is his trademark, and even staged a mini-comeback in round 11, scoring with a big left-right combo of his own.
Round 12 was an entertaining exercise in machismo, as after a period spent mugging each other on the ropes, Stevenson basically offered up his supposedly fragile chin for Bika to smack, and proved that even a solid connect by his opponent only brought laughter from the champ. Both men than engaged in some gunslinger antics, egging each other on in toughman contest style. After absorbing a big right hand from Bika, a bemused Stevenson offered up another version of the “Ali Shuffle” (the “Superman Shuffle”?) to end the fight.
The scores were a bit closer than might have been anticipated in the champion’s home province: 115-111, 116-110, and 115-110, all for the winner, Adonis Stevenson.
“He’s a tough fighter,” “Superman” said of Bika after the match. “I dropped him, but he’s a tough competitor.
“Being involved with Premier Boxing Champions and fighting on CBS has been a great experience. This is fantastic for boxing and we’re hoping more and more kids will start getting involved in the sport.
“As far as what’s next, I’ll wait and see what Al (Haymon) has for me. I’ll be ready to go again by June or July.”
Stevenson also thanked his late Hall of Fame trainer, Emanuel Steward, following his victory.
By Ivan G. Goldman
When it comes to scoring a knockout, Floyd Mayweather is a longer shot at the sports books than Manny Pacquiao.
At the Bovada offshore betting site, a bet on Mayweather winning before the bell rings to end the 12th round at is set at +550 in their May 2 mega-match in Las Vegas. An early Pacquiao victory is +400. That means $100 will win you $550 on Mayweather but only $400 on Pacquiao.
Yet Mayweather remains the overall favorite. Odds have settled in at +170 Pacquiao, -210 Mayweather, a fight that will almost certainly attract record action before it’s over.
The line reflects everything that’s known about these two fighters, and it’s no secret that Mayweather has been more likely to settle for a points victory while Pacquiao more likely to take risks in order to put his opponent on the canvas.
Yet on the over-under, a distance fight is still favored by -300 to +230 over a stoppage by either fighter. That’s to be expected when you have two welters who’ve scored only three stoppages in their last 20 outings.
Talk to ten people in the know and you’ll get ten answers on where the odds will end up, but Mayweather was a 3-1 favorite before the fight was actually signed, and the number slimmed down in reported heavy action.
Looking for a close fight and can’t decide who will pull out the victory? You’re not alone. Well, you could look for a draw. It pays 16-1.
In other interesting situations that pop up on the Bovada offshore site, look at light heavyweights Adonis Stevenson versus Sakio Bika Saturday in Quebec City. Not surprisingly, it’s -1600 Stevenson and +800 Bika. But a stoppage by Stevenson, the hometown favorite, is favored at -150. A Stevenson win by decision actually pays a premium at +140. That’s how certain bettors are that Bika, 32-6-3 (21 KOs), won’t make it to the final bell against a knockout artist who’s 25-1 (21 KOs).
But over on 5Dimes, another offshore site, you can get +150 betting the bout won’t make it past 7 and 1/2 rounds. I find that an intriguing bet. The over is -170.
On April 11, gamblers give Irish southpaw Andy Lee only a puncher’s chance against Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin in Brooklyn, -325 Quillin, to +250 Lee.
Lots of bettors can’t make up their minds on what promises to be an action-filled tussle April 18 between junior welter powerhouses Lucas Matthyse, -140, and Ruslan Provodnkiov, +110 in Verona, New York.
Look at Vasyl Lomachenko, a staggering -2500 versus Gamalier Rodriguez, +1000 on the Mayweather-Pacquiao undercard at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. At 5dimes it’s +1900, -3800. When the spread is that wide it indicates the house doesn’t really want the action but will grudgingly book your bet. Within those odds is one of the looniest bets on the board. Would you really be willing to risk $3,800 just to win $100 on Lomachenko? But if you do want to bet Rodriguez, clearly 5dimes is the place to do it.
Finally we come to the 5dimes view of Willie Monroe versus crushing middleweight phenom Gennady Golovkin May 16 in Inglewood, California. It’s +2500 Monroe versus -7500 Golovkin. Now there’s a site that doesn’t want to bet against Triple G. A crazier wager you can’t find. Yes, Triple G is a lock, but you’ve still got to be nuts to risk $7,500 to win a mere $100.
Ivan G. Goldman’s 5th novel The Debtor Class is a ‘gripping …triumphant read,’ says Publishers Weekly. A future cult classic with ‘howlingly funny dialogue,’ says Booklist. Available in April from Permanent Press wherever fine books are sold. Goldman is a New York Times best-selling author.
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By: William Holmes
Boxing returns to network television on Saturday afternoon as Adonis “Superman” Stevenson defends his WBC Light Heavyweight title against the always dangerous Sakio Bika in Quebec City, Canada.
Stevenson is considered by many to be one of the top two light heavyweights along with his rival Sergey Kovalev and most boxing fans are hoping that fight can be made if Stevenson can defeat Bika. However, another light heavyweight contender in Artur Beterbiev will look to throw his name into the light heavyweight mix as he takes on Gabriel Campillo in an IBF Light Heavyweight eliminator.
The following is a preview of both televised bouts:
Artur Beterbiev (7-0) vs. Gabriel Campillo (25-6-1); IBF Light Heavyweight Eliminator
Artur Beterbiev is a young undefeated prospect with a very high ceiling and a very successful amateur career. He represented Russia in the 2008 Olmypics, and won the gold medal in the 2009 World Amateur Championships as a light heavyweight.
All seven of Beterbiev’s opponents have lost to him by stoppage and nobody that he has ever faced has managed to make it past the fourth round.
Campillo is best known for two fights in which he officially lost but most observers felt he won. He was on the wrong end of a controversial decision at least twice, to former light heavyweight champion Tavoris Cloud and to Beibut Shumenov.
Beterbiev is six years younger than Campillo at thirty years old, but he will be giving up about three inches in height and about three inches in reach. Beterbiev has a knockout ration of 100% at this point in his young career, while Campillo has only stopped twelve of his opponents out of twenty-five bouts.
Despite the fact he has only fought as a professional for less than two years, Beterbiev has been tested inside the ring both as an amateur and as a professional. In addition to his amateur accomplishments, he has already stopped former champion Cloud in the second round and also stopped the then undefeated Jeff Page Jr. in the second round.
Campillo lost some questionable decisions, but he has also lost to some notable competition. His losses have come against Andrzej Fonfara, Sergey Kovalev, Tavoris Cloud, Karo Murat, Beibut Shumenov. His most notable wins have come against Thomas Williams Jr. and Beibut Shumenov.
Beterbiev has a very high level ceiling and is currently in negotiations to be represented by Al Haymon. Beterbiev is a talent and this writer expects him to win convincingly and impressively on Saturday night, putting himself in a position for a legitimate world title shot before his tenth professional fight.
Adonis Stevenson (25-1) vs. Sakio Bika (32-6-3); WBC Light Heavyweight Title
If you just look at their ages you would be surprised that Stevenson and Bika are fighting as the main event on network television. Stevenson is thirty-seven and Bika is thirty-five going on thirty-six. Both, at a glance, would appear to be clearly past their prime.
However, both boxers have not shown much of a decline in recent fights and are considered by most to be amongst the best in the light heavyweight division.
Stevenson started boxing late in comparison to most other professional boxers, and won the Canadian national amateur title twice. Bika was a member of the 2000 Cameroonian Olympic Team, but did not medal in the Olympics.
Stevenson and Bika are close in age and in height, but Stevenson has an imposing six inch reach advantage over Bika. Additionally, Bika started off his career as a junior middleweight and is naturally the smaller man.
Stevenson’s southpaw style gives most of his opponents problems and he has shown that he has incredible knockout power. Stevenson has stopped twenty one of his opponents, including four of his past five wins. Bika has also stopped twenty one of his opponents, but he has had more fights and only has one stoppage victory in his past five fights.
Stevenson’s lone loss came against the always tricky Darnell Boone in 2010, a loss he later avenged with a sixth round knockout. He has also defeated the likes of Aaron Pryor Jr., Chad Dawson, Tavoris Cloud, Tony Bellew, Andrzej Fonfara, and Dmitry Sukhotsky.
Bika’s most famous accomplishment was winning The Contender in 2007. He has also defeated the likes of Marco Periban, Nikola Sjekloca, Dyah Davis, Peter Manfredo Jr., and Sam Soliman. Bika does have six losses and they have come against top notch competition such as Lucian Bute, Andre Ward, Jean-Paul Mendy, and Anthony Dirrell.
Bika will make this a tough and rough fight for Stevenson, but he usually struggles against slick and talented boxers. Bika has a sturdy chin and has never been stopped in his career, so it’s likely he’ll go the distance on Saturday, but unlikely he’ll be able to beat the current WBC Light Heavyweight Champion.
Stevenson should win on Saturday against the smaller opponent and will hopefully give fans the fight they’ve been clamoring for, a light heavyweight unification bout against Sergey Kovalev.
By Sean Crose
Adonis “Superman” Stevenson may well have been one of the most criticized men in boxing over the last year or so.
Fans and analysts alike (this author included), have taken their shots at the lineal light heavyweight champ’s seeming reluctance to fight an opponent of real note. After all, Sergey Kovalev, Jean Pascal and Bernard Hopkins were all in line to face the Canadian slugger, but none of those bouts came to fruition.
Stevenson has also, unfairly, been criticized for his criminal past. Nothing good comes from that sort of thing, of course. Stevenson – literally – did time for his crimes and has come clean, so why be onforgiving about it?
Boxing, after all, makes for great redemption stories: just take a look at convicted rapist Mike Tyson circa 2015.
With this in mind, it’s worth noting that Stevenson recently took part in serving the homeless at a local soup kitchen in the lead-up to this weekend’s bout with the awkward and challenging Sakio Bika. “In what has become a tradition before his fights at Pepsi Coliseum,” a press release stated, “Stevenson served food at La Maison de Lauberivière, a local shelter and soup kitchen for homeless men and women.”
The more cynical of boxing fans may take this as a publicity stunt, but then again, when NBA players make much out of such community service, no one questions it. Sometimes it’s good to take such things at face value. Stevenson, like so many boxers, came from humble origins, after all. Sometimes it’s just nice to see people give back.
That being said, Stevenson can’t be so kind this coming Saturday in Montreal. Bika, 35, may be moving up in weight, but the guy has a very nice 32-6-3 (21 KOs) resume for himself. In fact, Bika’s only lost to top level competition. In today’s record-obsessed fight scene, six loses may seem like a lot. When those losses come to names Like Ward, Dirrell, Calzaghe, and Bute, however, they seem a lot more understandable.
“I expect a really long fight,” Stevenson admitted. “Bika has never been stopped and when he lost, it was always against world champions. He is tough and he has heart. He was also a world champion. I will have to be patient, fast and move out of range to win,” says the graduate of the Kronk gym in Detroit and pupil of the late, great Hall of Fame trainer, Emanuel Steward.
If there’s ever been an indicator of Stevenson’s toned down lifestyle, it’s his training period. Speaking of his new gym, Stevenson claims there’s more to like than just its convenient location. “It will also allow me to spend more time with my kids and family,” he says. “I want to help the kids in the gym, too.”
“After training, we go back to his home,” says Stevenson’s new trainer, Javan “Sugar” Hill, “which is only a couple of minutes from the gym, where he stays relaxed and enjoys playing on his computer.”
The best way for “Superman” to endear himself to fans once again, however, will be for Stevenson to finally get it on with the ferocious Kovalev. Stevenson says he wants the fight, which has now more or less been ordered by the WBC. By putting his name on a contract to fight fellow champ Kovalev, Stevenson may quickly find all animosity forgotten.
First, though, the Haitian-Canadian has to get past Bika, which may not be as easy as everyone and his brother seems to think it is.
Bika throws hard, with all his weight. Indeed, to watch the man fight is kind of like watching someone chop down a tree. This bout, simply put, has the potential to be exciting.
This can prove good for Stevenson in more ways than one, as the fight will be the main event of Premiere Boxing Champion’s maiden voyage on CBS. It’s been a long time since the network has regularly shown boxing on Saturday afternoons.
Stevenson has the potential here to earn himself a bevy new fans if he not only wins, but does so in thrilling fashion.
by Tyson Bruce
When lineal light-heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson, (25-1-0, 21 KOs), announced that his first bout of 2015 was going to be against former super middleweight champ Sakio Bika, (32-6-3, 21 KOs), the vast majority of the boxing public cringed. After all, Bika has never fought at 175, and after losing his most recent bout against Anthony Dirrell, is considered by many to be past his prime.
So why is the fight happening?
The reason is pretty simple: both men are represented by boxing mystery mogul Al Haymon, so the match was easy and very likely inexpensive to make.
Bika is a fighter that never gives anything but his most sincere effort in the ring and has made a career out of giving top fighters hell, so completely counting him out would be foolish. That being said, Stevenson will enter the fight as the prohibitive favorite, in a match-up that doesn’t exactly whet one’s appetite.
It became much easier to be less cynical about the match-up (and Stevenson in general) when it was announced by the WBC (the title held by Stevenson) that it was enforcing WBO/IBF champion Sergey Kovalev, as its mandatory challenger. A sanctioning body announcing a rival alphabet champion as a mandatory challenger is a highly unconventional move, and a breath of fresh air from their usual nefarious behavior.
Stevenson–who is widely perceived to have avoided Kovalev since joining Al Haymon–and his promoter Yvon Michel of GYM Promotions have responded positively to the challenge. If Stevenson can defeat Bika and Kovalev can defeat his next mandatory challenger, Nadjib Mohammedi, the fight that looked like it would never happen should be a go. Issues with managerial rivalries and exclusive network contracts will almost guarantee that the fight will go to a purse bid, but it still paves the way to one of the most stylistically explosive matches in all of boxing.
The one man that can make this entire plan fall on its head is Sakio Bika. Everything about Bika’s career from his fighting style, record and origins is unconventional. Bika is a native of Cameroon, but chose to fight professionally in Australia: a strange move for a guy with ambitions of making a living from prize fighting. Bika fought in a twelve round contest in just his twelfth pro fight.
Bika is one of those rare fighters who managed to become a champion despite his obvious limitations. Bika doesn’t have the skills, speed or athleticism that is usually required to have the kind of career that he’s had, but he made up for it through his determination, awkward style and his unique ability to successful bend the Queensberry Rules. Bika’s head essentially operates as a third fist and his supreme physical strength allows him to bully almost every opponent he faces.
Just ask Joe Calazghe and Andre Ward, two of the greatest super middleweights of all time, about how tough Bika is. He arguably gave both men their toughest fights.
Bika clearly isn’t the same fighter he was a couple years ago, as was proven in the second Anthony Dirrell fight, which was dramatically more one- sided than their first encounter. If he is to have any chance against Stevenson, who has a significant speed and skills advantage, Bika will have to drag Stevenson into a gutter brawl where he can expose the Haitian-Canadian champ’s questionable stamina and toughness. Mentally speaking, Bika is in the enviable position of having nothing to lose and everything to gain.
The fighter with a hell of a lot more to lose on Saturday is unquestionably Adonis Stevenson. Stevenson, who will making the fifth defense of his lineal title, is expected to dominate and anything less than a stellar performance will be widely scorned by fans and media alike. It is paramount that Stevenson stay focused on the task at hand—not an easy challenge considering the massive fight that lies ahead for him. Other than getting Stevenson from point A to point B, a victory over Bika will do literally nothing other than earn him a sizable paycheck. Those are not enviable conditions to enter a fight with.
It, however, is the first step in repairing Stevenson’s reputation with the boxing community. After bursting onto the scene in 2013 with a string of vicious knockouts over reigning champion Chad Dawson and top contenders Tony Bellew and Tavoris Cloud, Stevenson was one of the hottest new properties in boxing. Stevenson, like many Haymon fighters, had his reputation massacred in 2014 by dramatically lowering his quality of opposition and turning down big fights.
While some of the brutal criticism thrown at Stevenson is warranted, however, some of it is simply preposterous.
Stevenson deserved the public wrath for backing out of a fight with Kovalev that was basically all but signed. However, the flack he took for fighting Andrzej Fonfara, a fighter that earned a title shot on merit, was ridiculous. Many boxing “experts” merely compared the match to Kovalev’s fight against Blake Caparello, which was simply wrong and unfair.
Fonfara was a worthy contender because he beat solid fighters like Gabriel Campillo and Caparello was not because he doesn’t have a single victory over a ranked opponent. The same can be said of Tony Bellew, another perfectly feasible opponent that Stevenson was ripped for fighting.
In fact, Stevenson’s opposition as champion has actually been quite solid. It’s only when you compare what he has done recently to what Kovalev has done that one can question his merit as the lineal champion. Kovalev has made Stevenson look like a paper tiger because virtually no one seems to believe that Stevenson is still the division’s best fighter.
This writer will wait for the actual fight before leaping to any dramatic conclusions. After all, Stevenson’s straight left hand, an absolute cannon of a punch that was enough to convince his late Hall of Fame trainer Emanuel Steward of “Superman’s” championship caliber, can win any fight on earth for him at any time if it lands right.
If Stevenson is to find a silver lining in his fight against Bika, it will also come courtesy of his power.
Despite his fighting some of the top fighters of his generation, no one has managed to stop Bika—or even really come close.
If Stevenson can knock Bika out in dominant fashion, then some of the many critics now chasing him with pitchforks make again call themselves fans.
By Hans Olson
Hot off his recent first round knockout of Arizona’s Jesus Gonzales, Adonis “Superman” Stevenson’s popularity continues to swell.
On Sunday, the southpaw from Longueuil hit the talk-show circuit, stopping by CBC’s Tout le monde en parle.
Stevenson on Tout le monde en parle
For those not fluent in French, Daniel Cloutier provided English translation to some key quotes Adonis made in his recent column on Pound4Pound.
“Lucian cannot avoid me now,” said Stevenson. “He is supposed to fight Carl Froch in May in England, and I will be the next to face him. If the Bute-Froch [fight] is cancelled for one reason or another, I think that the IBF championship committee will force him to fight me. Trust me, I will be the next IBF champion this year.”
Confidence is clearly not something Adonis is lacking.
“I am 100% sure that I will beat him,” continued “Superman.”
“When I was member of the amateur Canadian national boxing team, I got the chance to spar with Bute. I was preparing myself for the Commonwealth Games, and Bute was training for a fight. I floored him with a body punch, and I saw [how] his face changed. I hurt him so bad that he refused to spar with me after. I am [convinced] that he is afraid to face me. Watch me if he takes the risk to face me!”
It Happened on Twitter
The bold enthusiasm from Quebec’s latest talk of the town made its way from chat-show to Twitter on Monday.
Tweeting Lucian’s renowned trainer Stephan Larouche, Stevenson said (translated from French), “Golovkin stopped him as an amateur, I stopped him in sparring, Andrade stopped him in front of 16,000 fans, which I’ll re-do.”
This was in response to an earlier tweet by Larouche where he wrote (originally in French), “The only time @InterBoxBute was the floor, it was in front of 16,000 people, against Andrade. Pathetic lies.”
This could get interesting…
Finally, according to numerous sources, the tentative date for Stevenson’s return to the ring is April 14. No opponent has yet been named.
This weekend at the Hotel des Seigneurs in Saint-Hyacinthe, 4-0 prospect Mick “L’Unique” Gadbois takes on Robert “Don’t Lose” DaLuz in a featured 6-round bout.
Gadbois in action last September against Lithuania’s Vladimiras Balaklijec
“It will be a good fight,” Gadbois told Boxing Insider on Tuesday. “DaLuz has a lot of experience, he knows how to take punches…I’m not looking for a home run hit. I will box him, I will make him pay. There will be good rounds…I will be active. I will have the advantage to be bigger and I’m going to use it.”
Trained by Marc Seyer, Alain St-Amand and Pierre Bouchard, Mick began boxing at the relatively late age of 18—though he’s determined to make up for lost time.
“I wanna fight, first because I love this game. I don’t care right now about any title. For sure, to be world champion is something big…but before that I just wanna fight. I know Interbox has eyes on me, so maybe having a contract could [make that] closer to the reality right now.”
Rounding out the card will be Alexandre Hamel vs. Patrick Tessier, Francis Hamel vs. Emanuel Guzman, and Eric Barrak vs. Cullen Rogers.
Boxing Insider’s Hans Olson can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @hansolson