SAN DIEGO, April 4, 2015 – CBS, it’s good to see boxing back on your airwaves.
As expected, light heavyweight Adonis Stevenson of Canada (27-1, 21 KO) retained his WBC title against a game but overwhelmed Sakio Bika of Australia (32-7-3, 21 KO) on Stevenson’s home turf in Quebec City. The unanimous decision scores were closer than the fight appeared, 116-110, 115-111, and 115-110 for Stevenson.
The Canadian fans loved the beatdown administered by Stevenson, though “Superman’s” showboating wasn’t so super at times. He put Bika on the canvas twice, once each in rounds six and nine, but Stevenson couldn’t shut the fight down and it went the distance, a credit to Bika’s incredible toughness.
Stevenson’s five-inch reach advantage was put to good use. He was able to control the distance throughout the fight. Bika couldn’t get anywhere near Stevenson without eating a left hand to the head, or wicked body shots. It wasn’t enough for Bika to know those punches were coming; he was unable to do anything about it until the final round when he had to throw caution to the wind, rough house with Stevenson and stay inside to try and get a knockout victory. But it was not to be.
Stevenson landed 36% of his total punches (229 or 635), and 56% of his power punches (164 of 292) according to CompuBox. Bike only landed half the punches (113 of 390) and a mere 44 power punches. Without a knockout you can’t win with these numbers.
It was target practice for Stevenson, and the inevitable questions surface about the boxer in this weight division who hold the other championship belts, Sergey Kovalev. It brewed on Twitter among fans the entire fight enough to trend nationally. In the post-fight interview, Brent Stover of CBS passed up the chance to ask Stevenson about it. He would have gotten the usual “I’ll fight anyone” talking points, so perhaps he decided not to waste anyone’s time asking.
We should find out more on April 17 which is the day the World Boxing Council (WBC) has ordered a purse bid in Mexico to determine the promoter for a Stevenson vs. Kovalev belt unification bout. In the meantime, Kovalev has 90 days to arrange a mandatory defense of his IBF belt against Frenchman Nadjib Mohammedi (37-3, 23 KOs) at a venue to be determined.
Unbeaten light heavyweight Artur Beterbiev (8-0, 8 KOs) kept his perfect record intact with a fourth round knockout victory over former cruiserweight champion Gabriel Campillo (25-7-1, 12 KOs). Beterbiev was in control from the opening seconds, using Campillo for target practice. The Russian has never been in the ring longer than four rounds, and although it’s still early in his career, he appears to be the real deal, joining the line of Eastern European starts like Gennady Golovkin and Sergey Kovalev. Will he got a shot against Kovalev? It would be wise for him to tackle a few more of the light heavyweights on the top ten list before taking his shot at Krusher. It will be fun to watch him work his way toward such a fight.
The best performance of the night goes to the broadcast team, veteran CBS play-by-play announcer Kevin Harlan, Showtime’s color analyst Paulie Malignaggi, and veteran trainer Virgil Hunter. Harlan directed traffic with a deft touch, getting in and doing business, then stepping out of Malignaggi’s way and bringing in Hunter, the least experienced of the trio. Harlan obviously did his homework, and he is a great listener, asking smart questions on behalf of the viewer. He’s so good you hardly notice him. Malignaggi is smart and fun; Hunter offers valuable insight for first-time viewers and fight freaks alike. Working this well together on their first time out, this team can only get even better in the weeks to come. They return on Saturday, May 9 to CBS at 4:30 p.m. ET/1:30 p.m. from Hidalgo, Texas.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +
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