Once a fearsome puncher, an exciting fan-friendly warrior and an undefeated IBF champion, light-heavyweight Tavoris Cloud vanished from view back in 2014, after the Floridian had suffered back-to-back defeats at the hands of Bernard Hopkins, Adonis Stevenson and then Artur Beterbiev. That last fight of Cloud’s, a bad second-round stoppage loss, looked to have signalled the end for the man who became IBF champ in 2009.
But now, according to the always reliable BoxRec, Cloud, 24-3(19) will return to action in Indianapolis on February 16th – against the dreaded TBA. Cloud turns 37 in January and it’s not clear how much, if anything, he has to offer any longer, but we have seen far less realistic and ill-fated comebacks before now. Cloud was a relentless, all-action powerhouse back in his prime years, back when he was tearing his way through Clinton Woods (to win the vacant IBF belt), Glen Johnson and Yusaf Mack and, pre-title, Julio Gonzalez and Mike Wood.
But then, as he did to a number of other fine fighters, the sublime Bernard Hopkins took something away from Cloud, when he defeated him by wide decision in March of 2013. Yes, Cloud had been pushed hard by the tricky Gabriel Campillo before the loss to B-Hop, when he won via split decision in what was his fourth title defence, but Hopkins took all the fighting spirit out of Cloud, or so it appeared.
It was certainly all downhill for “Thunder” after that March night with “The Executioner” in Brooklyn, as Cloud was then beaten badly by Adonis Stevenson (may he get well soon) and by Beterbiev; both stoppage losses. And then. Nothing. Cloud, at the young age of 32 and having had the comparatively low number of 27 fights, spread out over a decade, was gone. It seemed Cloud had retired, with no real notice given to the event. But now he seems set to return.
Who knows what kind of shape Cloud is in today, having had over four years out. But if the rest has done Cloud good, if he has regained his former desire, then maybe he can give a few current light-heavyweight fighters a run for their money. It’s a pretty big long-shot that Cloud will be able to do too much upon his return (and of course we don’t know the main motivation behind it), but the former champ might be young enough, and rested enough, to be able to do some damage.
Let’s just hope it’s not to himself.