David Lemieux delivered an early candidate for knockout-of-the-year when he landed a perfectly timed powerful short left hook on Curtis “Cerebral Assassin” Stevens’ jaw that brutally knocked him out unconscious onto the canvas, which prompted referee Charlie Fitch to immediately stop the fight at 1:59 in the third round. Stevens remained motionless while flat on his back for several scary minutes until he was taken out of the arena while strapped to a stretcher, but by that time, he was conscious.
This main event bout was televised on HBO’s “Boxing After Dark” at Turning Stone Resort and Casino in Verona, New York.
These two hard hitting middleweights who expressed a strong dislike for one another leading up to this bout initially went after each other for the first minute of the fight and connected on several hard punches. After that, Lemieux took over the round as he outworked and out landed Stevens and aggressively chased him around the ring. Lemieux connected on several power shots, including three left hooks that buckled Stevens’ knees at the end of the round, as he desperately tried for the early knockout. Stevens fought at much slower pace than Lemieux, as he tried to weather the offensive onslaught. He covered up a lot and did not throw as many punches as he did in the first minute.
Stevens had a much better second round as came out with more of a sense of urgency on offense. He was more active, especially at the end of the round, when he landed several hard shots on Lemieux and connected on a powerful right hook that backed him up. Lemieux fought at a slower pace than the first round, but still landed more punches, especially power shots than Stevens and appeared to cause more damage to his opponent. The third round was competitive with great back and forth action from both fighters until Lemieux ended the fight with a sensational one-punch knockout.
According to CompuBox statistics, Lemieux landed 93 of 266 punches (35 per cent) while Stevens connected on 36 of 105 shots (34 per cent). Lemieux landed more power shots 67 to 56 and at a higher connect percentage: 56 to 39.
Lemieux, the former IBF world champion, improved to 37-3, 33 KOs and won for the third consecutive time, two by knockout, since his loss to Gennady Golovkin. He also obtained the vacant WBO Inter-Continental and the WBO Continental Americans middleweight title. Stevens, meanwhile, dropped to 29-6, 21 KOs and had his two bout winning streak stopped.
Lemieux has the experience, skills, and power to compete with anyone in the middleweight division, not named Golovkin, the consensus best fighter in the weight class. He really wants to obtain a rematch with Golovkin, to avenge his eighth-round technical knockout loss, although there might not be enough interest from either the public or GGG for another return bout, especially since the last one was so one-sided. It would be exciting to see him box either WBO middleweight title holder Billy Joe Saunders, Canelo Alvarez, or anyone else in his division that is willing to fight him.
It is a great to hear that Stevens is fine after going through several medical tests at a local hospital. He stated a day after the fight that he will be back in the ring; however, he will have his work cut out for him to land another significant bout in the near future. He can still beat any fighter outside the top ten, but once he boxes an elite top-tier fighter, he comes up short.