HBO results: David Lemieux delivers one-punch KO of Curtis Stevens
In a strong candidate for “KO of the Year” honors, David Lemieux delivered a tremendous one-punch knockout of Curtis Stevens on Saturday night.
The middleweight contest was the main event of an HBO “Boxing After Dark” doubleheader, and co-promoted by Golden Boy Promotions and Main Events.
Both fighters wasted no time in giving those in attendance an action fight worth making a trip to the Turning Stone Resort & Casino in the desolate city of Verona in upstate New York. Lemieux, noticeably the bigger fighter, set the pace with his willingness to shoot first. Stevens tried to hold hold his ground by glancing the blows off his arms but his counter left hook came into play, once he timed it well enough.
A right hand over the top stunned Stevens for a moment in the opening round but his left hook came in more frequently in the second. One shot to Lemieux’s body in that round had him disturbed for a moment and then Stevens started to gain confidence with his attack. Lemieux, 28, continued to set a busy pace, however, and the action fight was already delivering to the expectations set by all involved.
Stevens, Brooklyn, New York, fought even better in the third round as his left hook was let go more often. The 32-year-old was starting to get into a rhythm and he even stunned Lemieux midway through but all was changed in an instant.
In an exchange with about a minute remaining in the third, Lemieux landed a perfect left hook to the chin, while Stevens was throwing a hook of his own. Stevens, 29-6 (21), was knocked out cold and he laid there far too long to overlook. Stevens eventually regained consciousness but was carried out on a stretcher for precautionary reasons.
“I see checkmate. It’s a perfect connection,” Lemieux said when asked by HBO’s Max Kellerman to describe the knockout, when given the video replay. When asked what’s next, the Montreal native replied, “Whatever name is up there. (Billy Joe) Saunders has the (WBO) title. There’s (THE RING magazine champion) Canelo (Alvarez). We’ve been talking a lot. Canelo is a solid fighter, a great fighter. There’s the kingpin (IBF/WBA/WBC titlist Gennady) Golovkin. That, for sure, I’d love to defeat.”
Lemieux, 37-3 (33), injected some adrenaline into a career, after having lost to that middleweight kingpin, and he also invigorated an HBO telecast that had grown weary from its co-feature.
Yuriorkis Gamboa was too good for Rene Alvarado and, after 10 listless rounds in the televised opener, the Cuban earned a wide unanimous decision (97-92 twice, 97-93).
Coming off a 15-month layoff, Gamboa, 26-1 (17), showed small bursts of his fast hands in the opening round but Alvarado quickly figured out he was out-gunned. The Nicaraguan was hesitant to get caught in the barrage of Gamboa’s quick counter-punching until the seventh round. That’s where an overhand right of his stunned Gamboa for a moment but Gamboa quickly gained control with his jab alone.
Alvarado, 24-8 (16), began to look more like the come-forward opponent of which he’s known but it wasn’t nearly enough to get Gamboa in any trouble. Until the final round, where a glancing left hand pushed down an off-balanced Gamboa. It wasn’t really a knockdown but an official one nonetheless ruled by referee Benjy Esteves Jr.. Gamboa shook it off and finished the fight to a chorus of boos that started in the third round.
“Not a single spectator applauded the decision,” remarked HBO color man Jim Lampley. While Alvarado laid the bigger egg of the fight, Gamboa was pretty much blamed for the restlessness in the crowd.
Gamboa, 35, who fought for the first time since signing a contract with Golden Boy Promotions, couldn’t do much about an unwilling opponent but it certainly wasn’t a comeback bout to remember.