Adonis Stevenson vs Thomas Willliams Jr, Immanuwel Aleem vs Nicholson, Eleider Alvarez vs Berridge
BY KID HERSH
PBC on Spike TV live from Quebec City, Quebec Canada on a Friday evening. First up was Eleider Alvarez (19-0, 10KO's) vs Robert Berridge (27-4-1, 21KO's). Marlon B. Wright was the referee. In the first round both men were cautious and carried that cautiousness into the second round. Alvarez was pumping his jab and looking for openings for the right hand while Berridge was very cautious of the right hand but getting outboxed in the mean while. Alvarez was picking his spots in the coming rounds while Berridge was rushing in and throwing looping lefts while smothering any power he was hoping to generate. It was interesting because while Alvarez was winning every single round he was not impressive at all. Really all he was doing was jabbing and keeping Berridge on his back foot with said jab and in a shell to win the rounds. As announcer Antonio Tarver pointed out; he was very predictable and "honest", which I would agree with. Berridge was getting broken down when the late rounds came as he was bleeding and breathing very heavily. Despite Alvarez having a full tank he is just isn't a killer and cannot take his man out. It's weird because I am not even sure if he is trying. it seems like he is but it's hard to tell with a guy like Alvarez because while he is coming forward and seems to have urgency he just does not have that extra gear. It went the distance and Alvarez won the decision 98-92 across the board.
Next up was Immanuwel Aleem (16-0, 9KO's) vs Demond Nicholson (17-1, 16KO's). In the first round you could tell that both fighters are well schooled with amateur backgrounds. Aleem was showing his athleticism while outworking Nicholson, who was looking to either counter or for an opening for a big right hand. Nicholson did not even throw a single right hand in the first round but you can tell that he is really looking to set it up and surprise Aleem. in the second round the action started to heat up just a little bit as Nicholson was pressing harder and unloading some right hands. Aleem's movement was still confusing Nicholson, however, and his jab combined with his great footwork was the story of the round. Aleems speed was proving to be too much for Nicholson as he got on his wheels when needed but also fired off blazing fast combinations and then ducked out of range of the bigger man. It was really a showcase in the first half of the fight for Aleem. Then suddenly in the second half of the fight he was given advice by his corner to stand his ground and trade with Nicholson. Wow, what terrible advice! He started to get hit and was allowing Nicholson to get his punches off unlike in the previous rounds. The fifth was a disaster for Aleem - not because he got supremely beat up but because it was such a 180 from the first four rounds that he had great success in and looked fantastic in with his boxing. He changed his tactics back in the sixth round and success again though as he moved about the ring once again and would plant and catch Nicholson with punches that he did not see coming while utilizing his great speed. In the seventh round Aleem was doing more great boxing and Nicholson was getting more aggressive when at the end of the round Aleem slipped a jab and landed a beauty of a right hand that caused Nicholson to hold on. Nicholson held on tight - so tight that he drug Aleem to the canvas with him as his legs were completely failing him. It was not ruled a knockdown when it most definitely was one but it seemed to matter not as Aleem surely had the fight in the bag. Aleem had shades of Meldrick Taylor throughout the fight and we had ourselves a slugfest between two young and hungry prospects in the eighth and final round as they stood in range and slugged it out. The scorecards came in a complete shocker; 77-75, 76-76, and 76-76 for the majority draw. I think this is one of the worst decisions on the year and only really saw two rounds tops you could give to Nicholson.
Main event time featuring Adonis "Superman" Stevenson (27-1 22KO's) vs Thomas "Top Dog" Williams Jr (20-1, 14KO's). There is a decade of age difference between the two fighters but Stevenson has really looked his best of late, being a late bloomer it would seem. Williams is the latest in the line of fighters that really do not belong in the same ring as a lineal champion but they are getting their opportunities with the network feuding and title belt ranking politics. In the first round Superman was landing left hands flush right away, not a good sign for Williams. He took the lefts just fine but got caught with one that was behind the ear/to the back of the head territory at the end of the round that put him down to the canvas for an official knockdown. He rose and made it through the short remainder of the round but one could see how the fight was going already: as expected. The second round was a very interesting one as Williams threw caution to the wind and came forward looking for the knockout. This was still expected, because Williams has shown this trait before in many past fights where he ditched his game plan for brawling it out. He had success in the round as he caught Stevenson with unexpected punches while throwing fast, hard combinations. The slugfest continued into the third round but Top Dog was missing more than hitting this round and was hurt by an uppercut from Stevenson at the end of the round. Williams was looking more broken down in the fourth round and while he was still landing some powerful blows on Stevenson he was clearly on the way out. A short left hand nearing the end of the round spelled the end as Williams went to the canvas hard and was not able to get up before the ten count.