HBO’s Boxing After Dark made its way to the Turning Stone Resort & Casino on Saturday in Verona, New York.
In the main event, two heavy-punching Middleweights took center stage as former IBF 160-pound titlist David Lemieux took on the well-known knockout artist, Curtis Stevens.
Stevens (29-6, 21 KOs) was knocked out by Lemieux (37-3, 33 KOs) in the third round of a scheduled 10-round fight.
The action in the main event was electric and the buzz about this card has continued on well into this week.
Let’s take a look at three things we learned from HBO’s Boxing After Dark.
1. David Lemieux Lands What Could Be the Best Knockout of 2017
David Lemieux and Curtis Stevens are both considered two of the hardest punchers in the Middleweight division, thus, an exciting match was expected and the possibility of a knockout was high. But nobody could have anticipated this fight would end so suddenly.
Lemieux knocked Stevens out cold in the third round with a perfectly-placed, sharp, left hook to the temple.
Stevens laid limp in the ring for several minutes, as he was attended to by medical staff and eventually carried out of the ring on a stretcher.
Stevens later posted a video to his Instagram account to let fans knows he was okay. Stevens let it be known he just “got caught,” which happens in the sport of boxing.
“I’m good, [just] got caught you know? I knock MF’ers out, but I caught the bad end of the stick tonight. But I’m good and I’ll be back,” said Stevens.
A knockout of this grand proportion just goes to show that boxing is beautiful and also very dangerous.
Lemieux controlled the majority of the three rounds with an onslaught of punches. Stevens seemed to be rallying more as the fight continued, but when Lemieux landed his well-known left hook, it was nap time instantly for Stevens.
Lemieux’s knockout victory over Stevens is without question the best knockout, to date, of 2017. Now fans will need to wait in anticipation to see if there is a better knockout this year.
2. The Return of Yuriorkis… Gam-BOO-a?
The co-featured fight of the night featured Yuriorkis Gamboa, who won a 10-round unanimous decision over Nicaragua’s Rene Alvarado.
Gamboa, the former 2004 Cuban Olympic gold medalist, was having his first bout in 15 months. The return however left fans underwhelmed and perhaps they wished he didn’t bother to come back.
The audience was unhappy with the lack of action, and booed continuously during the bout. This lack of action though is rather typical in the defensive focused, Cuban style of boxing where the motto is “hit and don’t get hit,” thus, an effective Cuban style boxer can be very boring to the average boxing fan looking for some action.
Some excitement came in the 10th round, when Alvarado knocked down Gamboa with a left hook. Gamboa beat the count and finished the bout. Gamboa won a unanimous-decision victory by scores of 97-73 and 97-92 (twice).
Gamboa got the win, but it would be hard to say that he won any large number of new fans in victory. The return of Gamboa seemed to fall under the radar and it looks like it will stay there.
3. David Lemieux Back in Title Contention
After Saturday’s demolishing of Curtis Stevens, David Lemieux has now improved his record to 37-3 with 33 knockouts and moved himself back to possible title contention.
After suffering a TKO loss to Gennady “GGG” Golovkin in October 2015, Lemieux has won three-straight fights. With such an astonishing win over Stevens, he is likely right back in the title hunt.
Lemieux indicated post-fight that he is ready for a step up. “We’re moving on to much bigger and better fights. I’m ready. Are they ready? That’s the question,” said Lemieux.
Possible fights could be made next with Billy Joe Saunders for the WBO Middleweight title or a big lucrative fight with fellow Golden Boy Promotions fighter, Canelo Alvarez.
Fans without a doubt would love to see a possible matchup between Alvarez and Lemieux. The two seem to match well in both size and style. Both fighters have a forward-moving, aggressive and heavy punching style that would make for a great showdown.
The concept of Lemieux vs. Canelo is interesting as he would be a good testing gauge for Canelo’s preparedness for a possible super fight with Golovkin.
No matter who Lemieux fights next, it seems as though he has earned a shot at a title again and he should look to capitalize.