Light-Heavyweight Tavoris Cloud Arrives - Stops Teak-Tough Julio Gonzalez In Ten

By James Slater: Last night, at The Aragon Ballroom in Chicago, undefeated light-heavyweight contender Tavoris Cloud of Tallahassee, Florida scored the biggest win of his career. Becoming the very first man to stop the teak-tough, granite-jawed former linear champion at 175-pounds, in Julio Gonzalez, the 26-year-old Cloud arrived on the big stage. The end came at 2 mins and 50 seconds of the 10th round, as Gonzalez, hurt and under heavy fire, was pulled out by the referee.

The fight was an IBF elimination bout, and in winning it in style power-puncher Cloud can look forward to a world title fight in the near future. The winner improved his perfect record to 19-0(18). The now surely finished (at top level anyway) Gonzalez fell to 41-6(25).

Right from the start, Cloud took the fight to the Mexican warrior and became the aggressor. It was pretty much all Cloud early on, and by the 5th and 6th rounds Gonzalez was taking incredible punishment. Even for someone as hard-headed as he still is, it was astonishing how Gonzalez survived the middle stages of last night's battle. Referee John O'Brien, who was having a good look at the 32-year-old as he was being hit flush again and again, decided to let the fight go on - perhaps because of the Mexican's reputation as a durable and hardened operator more than anything. It would not have been amiss, however, had the ref stopped the fight.

After somehow making it out of the 5th and 6th rounds, Gonzalez must have been pleased when the pace slowed. Boxing well at times, especially in the 9th, Cloud was about to score a big finish. His big right hand hurting Gonzalez badly in the 10th round, sending him into the ropes, Cloud gave referee O'Brien no other alternative but to dive in and call a halt to the fight. Gonzalez was still upright, but a beaten man. He did incredibly well to last as long as he did.

With a number of veterans currently dominating the light-heavyweight picture - Joe Calzaghe, Antonio Tarver, Bernard Hopkins et all - it is good to see another young puncher come along to join Chad Dawson. Arguably the hardest hitter in the division right now, Tavoris Cloud has an excellent future ahead of him. Sure, the Julio Gonzalez he met last night was a faded version, but in becoming the only man to stop him, Cloud did as much as he possibly could have.

Article posted on 09.08.2008

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