By Lem Satterfield
Southpaw Adonis Stevenson and Deontay Wilder are two of boxing’s fiercest and most powerful knockout artists, and “Superman” and “The Bronze Bomber” will defend their respective WBC 175-pound and WBC heavyweight crowns from separate sites on Saturday night.
The 41-year-old Stevenson (29-1-1, 24 KOs) pursues his 10th defense and seventh knockout during that time against Ukrainian Oleksander Govzdyk (15-0, 12 KOs) at Centre Videotron in Quebec City on Showtime (7:45 ET/ 4:45 PT).
Boxing’s oldest and reigning champion, Stevenson is 16-0-1 with 14 KOs since his lone loss — by second-round stoppage to Darnell Boone in April 2010 that he avenged by sixth-round KO in March 2013. “Superman” is 9-0-1 with seven KOs in championship bouts, including his title-winning 76-second stoppage of Chad Dawson in June 2013.
The 33-year-old Wilder (40-0, 39 KOs) has flattened every man he has fought and will be after his eighth straight knockout in as many defenses against 6-foot-9 lineal champion Tyson Fury (27-0, 19 KOs) at The Staples Center in Los Angeles on Showtime Pay-Per-View (9 p.m. ET/ 6 p.m. ET).
Wilder dethroned Stevenson’s Haitian countryman Bermane Stiverne on January 17, 2015 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on the late Muhammad Ali’s 73rd birthday, making him America’s first heavyweight titleholder since Shannon Briggs in 2007.
Wilder’s sixth defense was a three-knockdown first-round stoppage of Stiverne in November 2017, and he’s coming off a three-knockdown, 10th-round TKO of previously unbeaten Cuban southpaw Luis Ortiz in March.
Known for his left-handed “Superman punch,” Stevenson’s swiftest title defense was a June 2017 one-knockdown, first-round stoppage of Andrzej Fonfara in his eighth defense.
The bout was a rematch of Stevenson’s unanimous decision and third defense in May 2014, when Fonfara was floored in the third and fifth rounds but dropped Stevenson in Round 9.
Asked who which of the two punches hardest, Stevenson answered emphatically and colorfully.
“Who punches harder? Are you f***ing kidding me?” said Stevenson to BoxingScene.com. “Wilder punches harder – he’s a f***king heavyweight. S*******”
Stevenson points to his buddy Stiverne as conclusive evidence.
“I’ve watched all of his fights, and I watched him against Bermane Stiverne, and Bermane’s a power puncher, too. But with the way Deontay finished Stiverne, man, I’ve never seen power like that,” said Stevenson.
“It was basically over the first time he landed and touched Bermane. Plus, Deontay’s got a very awkward and unpredictable style that makes it hard to box him. Deontay Wilder’s the baddest man in boxing, so I definitely have to give it to him, man, and say that he’s a harder puncher than I am.”