Haitian-born Canadian Adonis Stevenson defends his World Boxing Council light heavyweight title for the first time today when he faces former world champion Tavoris Cloud.
Stevenson, a 36-year-old southpaw, will be counting on hometown advantage in Montreal, having fought all but two of his career fights in the Quebec region. He carries an eight-fight win streak into the matchup.
“I know he has power. He is going to come strong,” Stevenson said. “Whenever he comes, I am knocking him out.”
Stevenson, 21-1 with 18 knockouts, flattened Chad Dawson in only 76 seconds in June to capture his first world title while Cloud, a 31-year-old American who is 24-1 with 19 knockouts, tries to bounce back after the first loss of his career.
In March Cloud lost a unanimous decision and the International Boxing Federation light-heavyweight crown to 48-year-old Bernard Hopkins, the oldest world champion in boxing history, who defends that title next month against German Karo Murat.
“Poor Tavoris Cloud,” Stevenson said. “He’s a good boxer. I respect him. He has got power, but he got beat by 48-year-old Bernard Hopkins. And he’s young. That belt is going to stay in Montreal.”
Cloud took a swipe at Stevenson’s record, saying most of his foes were lackluster and dismissing his fast dispatching of Dawson, who had reclaimed the WBC title in April last year when outpointing Hopkins.
“Adonis Stevenson is a good fighter. He won the championship,” Cloud said. “Now everybody is saying he’s going to knock me out. I don’t see it that way. He hasn’t fought nobody. Everybody told him he’s a knockout artist. He beat Chad Dawson in 76 seconds. That don’t make you a good fighter.”
“I’m prepared for whatever might come, boxing, banging, whatever. I’ve trained harder than I have ever trained in my whole life and we’re going home with the belt,” he added.
It has been nearly six years since Stevenson, who left Haiti for Canada at age four, had a fight that went the distance. His only loss came at the hands of the US’ Darnell Boone in 2010, although he avenged that with a sixth-round knockout in March.
“I’m going for the knockout,” Stevenson said. “Sooner or later he will come to me and I will knock him out.”