TORONTO — It was a dominant evening for the Premier Boxing Champions brand with Adonis Stevenson and Errol Spence posting one-sided victories over Tommy Karpency and Chris Van Heerden. Stevenson, the linear light-heavyweight champion, and Spence, a hot rising prospect turned contender, are at different stages of their careers. But these wins do the same important thing — keep them in line for big money future fights.
SPENCE TURNS INTO A CONTENDER: Van Heerden notched his first Top 10 ranking in any sanctioning body (IBF) when he defeated Cecil McCalla in January. A tall and strong welter, he was seen as a good challenge for Spence, who’s been mowing down subpar competition thus far. Instead, Spence dished out a brutal boxing lesson that reduced Van Heerden’s best moments to dancing taunts.
Spence’s best weapon tonight was a stiff jab that prevented Van Heerden from mauling. When Van Heerden did get inside, he was received heavy body shots that forced him to grab or retreat. Swelling on Van Heerden’s left eye started at the end of the first and would be a constant problem. An overhand right brought him to his knees at the end of the seventh, and an uppercut to the gut downed Van Heerden again in the middle of the eighth. A succession of unanswered power shots on the ropes ended Van Heerden’s night for good.
Spence is now a legit Top 10-15 fighter at welterweight. Van Heerden was ranked #7 by the IBF, so in theory his quickest path to a title shot should be against that organization’s champion, Kell Brook. But with boxing politics, Spence has a better chance of forcing a bout with another PBC fighter. The question is, who’ll want to face him?
As far as flaws, there are a few I noted. Spence isn’t the fastest fighter, but makes up for it with accuracy. He can plod at times, and doesn’t move his head as much as he should (which allowed Van Heerden to nail him good and send the mouthpiece flying late). He can be caught if you’re willing to exchange. But so far, he’s made everyone pay for that risk. A Thurman bout remains the most intruging due to Keith’s explosiveness.
STEVENSON CALLS OUT KOVALEV: It was no surprise that Stevenson needed less than three full rounds to lay out Tommy Karpency. The gap in skill and power was enormous — Stevenson shrugged off a few clean power shots and Karpency could not to the same with the left hands coming at him. A straight left started the first knockdown to close the second, and it was the same shot that laid out Karpency for good just 21 seconds into the third.
“C’mon Kovalev – it’s time to fight for the unified title,” said Stevenson in his post-fight interview.
Kovalev responded not long after.
I got your call Adonis “Piece of shit” Chickenson. I’m ready to fight and kick your ass already long time ago!!! Let’s do it ASAP👊🏼
— Sergey Kovalev (@KrusherKovalev) September 12, 2015
Kovalev has faced better competition recently, but both are hurting their legacies the longer this fight gets delayed. And at 37 years old, time is not on Stevenson’s side. Someone will have to bend and make the necessary concessions to make this bout a reality. Boxing fans will not tolerate another version of the 6-year delay we got with Mayweather-Pacquiao.
TIME FOR RETIREMENT: The swing bout was a sad one in faded former titlist Vivian Harris getting stopped in four by 16-0 prospect Pritchard Colon. 10 years ago, Harris was seen as a legit opponent for Mayweather. As you can see, 37 year old’s best days are far behind him. This is his second consecutive KO defeat and the fourth in his last seven fights dating back to 2012. It’s time to call it a career.