Tomorrow night Premier Boxing Champions returns on Spike TV with a card co-staged by Groupe Yvon Michel, the event billed as “Shootout” by the promoters because of the potential for an explosive battle in the headlining match. Adonis “Superman” Stevenson (27-1) defends his WBC and lineal light heavyweight title against hard puncher Thomas “Top Dog” Williams Jr. (20-1), and there’s no question that both men will be looking to score a stoppage win.
“The event is called ‘Shootout’ because of the aggressive style of Thomas Williams,” states Yvon Michel. “[He] is a clear and present danger, but we are convinced that Adonis is well prepared and will succeed.”
While many might regard Williams as a long-shot, fact is he might be Stevenson’s most formidable opponent since he faced Andrzej Fonfara in 2014. Williams is young, powerful, and appears highly motivated.
“You don’t know what I’ve been through to get here,” he warns one and all. “There will be a new champion.”
Bolstering this big talk is Williams’ last outing, a wild and short-lived slugfest which saw him stop top contender Edwin Rodriguez in the second round and demonstrated that, if nothing else, Williams’ has serious punching power.
Stevenson appears to respect this latest challenge, acknowledging that “Thomas Williams is a dangerous opponent with power who is young [and] hungry and has a lot of motivation.” But Adonis notes that he has motivation of his own. “I keep the same Kronk Gym mentality Emmanuel Steward taught me: we go for the knockout. It is also my daughter’s birthday and I want to get her a KO.”
The main attraction for the undercard had been a showdown between top light heavyweight contender Eleider Alvarez and former champion Chad Dawson. However, Dawson suffered an injury in training and has been replaced by New Zealand’s Robert “The Butcher” Berridge.
”The fight between Eleider Alvarez and Robert Berridge is really important for the rankings in the light heavyweight division,” states Michel. “Berridge was already in training before the withdrawal of Chad Dawson, because he was supposed to fight on HBO PPV last weekend before the bout was cancelled for administrative reasons. He is fearless and a hard hitter.”
Also on the undercard, undefeated GYM prospects Custio Clayton and Oscar Rivas are being kept busy, while PBC will broadcast a showdown between two middleweight prospects, Immanuwel Aleem and Demond Nicholson.
Bottom line is this card is worth watching for the main event as Stevenson vs Williams has the potential to be an excellent action fight with huge implications for the light heavyweight division. Williams has shown he knows how to get the early knockout and he’s very aware this is the chance of a lifetime. The guess is he starts fast and brings the fight to the champion, forcing Stevenson to box at a faster pace than he’s maybe accustomed to. It could be interesting to see someone who refuses to be intimidated by “Superman’s” power force the champion out of his comfort zone.
But the fact remains that Adonis is both talented and more experienced and he’s got that hammer of a left hand. And despite his relatively advanced years (he will be 39 next month), he has shown no clear signs of slippage. Anything can happen when you have two heavy punchers facing off, but this should be Stevenson’s fight to lose. For excitement’s sake, let’s hope there’s some thrills and spills along the way and it’s spectacular while it lasts. — Robert Portis
Weigh-in photos by Manny Montreal