Someone is getting stopped in the main event Nov. 2 at the Madison Square Garden Theater in NYC. Be it Gennady Golovkin, 27-0 with 24-0 KOs, or Curtis Stevens, 25-3 with 18 KOs, everyone involved with the promotions, titled "Monsters Collide," thinks someone's going to sleep.
That perception got me thinking that this fight promises the likelihood of someone getting stopped as much or more so than any match made between world class fighters of late. That line of thinking led me to HBO's Harold Lederman, who provides his scoring during HBO-televised bouts, and has a pretty darned encyclopedic memory of fights and fighters going back into the early 60s. Lederman told me that yes indeed, this Golovkin-Stevens bout, and the promise of it not going the 12 round distance, reminds him of another match, one made back in 1980, between Thomas Hearns and Mexican masher Pipino Cuevas. "Man, Cuevas could PUNCH," Lederman told me, his mind flashing back to some of those bombs Cuevas used to render foes out of it, at the Tuesday NYC presser.
Ultra-violence, then, now, was expected, promised, certain.
Then known as "The Motor City Cobra," Hearns, later known as "Hitman," came into the Detroit bout with a 28-0 mark, with 26 KOs, 20 of them before round four. The WBA welter champ Cuevas (27-5 with 23 KOs) entered the bout scoffing at Hearns' pop. "Do not worry, I have never been off my feet," he said. Never left the building when Hearns landed a long, clean right on the chin to Cuevas, who'd been in retreat since the first bell, and added a right follow to make sure. The Mexican fell face first to the floor, rose, at a count of six, but his trainer leapt into the ring to preserve him. The end came at 2:39 elapsed in the second round.
Seems like most everyone I speak to is seeing Golovkin as the Hearns in this equation and believe Stevens will feel that fate that Cuevas did. Stevens, when told that Golovkin has never been so much as off his feet, in more 400 fights, including in the street, answered me calmly: "There's a first time for everything."
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Who will win? Wladimir Klitschko or Tyson Fury?