Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images
HBO’s Boxing After Dark began with a Heavyweight bout between two undefeated fighters, Magomed “Mago” Abdusalamov (18-0, 18 KOs) and Mike Perez (19-0, 12 KOs).
As the birthday boy Michael Buffer announced before the fight, “Someone’s “O” has got to Go!”
Unfortunately for Abdusalamov, his “O” went in what was a slugfest via unanimous decision.
Abdusalamov’s record, which had boasted a 100 percent knockout ratio before the fight, looked bloated in a bout in which he landed 240 punches. Both fighters traded early and throughout the fight with their hands down.
Perez started the bout quickly, and it seemed as if he had broken Abdusalamov’s nose.
Despite this, because of Perez’s lack of footwork and defense, he allowed Abdusalamov to gain momentum in certain parts during the fight.
He will need to improve his defense if he wants to survive with amongst the upper echelon of the Heavyweight division.
In the main event of the evening, Curtis Stevens gave what can be seen as the most spirited effort against Gennady Golovkin in his title reign.
The fight began with a determined Stevens coming forward, whose body language demonstrated that he was not intimidated by the hype surrounding Golovkin.
He traded quick jabs and hooks that were sharp, despite eating a few jabs in the process.
However, that all changed when Golovkin landed the bomb that knocked Stevens down.
It was a visage that will remain unforgettable.
Stevens was hurt enough to be stiffened out with his eyes wide open, but was also conscious enough to give an expression of disbelief–an expression that was as disturbing as it was shocking.
Stevens’ confidence disappeared as he retreated into a defensive curl throughout the rest of the fight.
He tried counterpunching in the center of the ring and eventually moved to the ropes, hoping to catch Golovkin as he opened up.
Although Stevens managed to get a few hard punches in, Golovkin was unmoved.
He kept moving forward as a discouraged Stevens retreated to the ropes. By the eighth round, Stevens was hardly responding while on the ropes.
Many punches were landing on the gloves, but Golovkin grew even more comfortable and was able to throw at will without risking being caught.
The fight was stopped at the end of the 8th round and Golovkin adds another knockout to a growing list of victims.
He is the real deal and it will be interesting to see him face top-ten opponents in the future.