Adonis Stevenson vs. Thomas Williams, Jr. Fight Preview and Prediction to Win
When: Friday, July 29, 2016
Where: Centre Videotron, Quebec City, Canada
TV: Spike TV
Weight Class: Light Heavyweights: 12 Rounds
Titles: WBC Light Heavyweight Championship
By Loot, Boxing Handicapper, Lootmeister.com
Adonis Stevenson, 27-1 (21 KOs), Blainville, Quebec, Canada
Thomas Williams, Jr., 20-1 (14 KOs), Ft. Washington, Maryland
Betting Odds: Adonis Stevenson -500, Thomas Williams, Jr. +350
WBC Light Heavyweight Champion Adonis Stevenson defends his title against challenger Thomas Williams, Jr. at the Centre Videotron in Quebec City on July 29. Stevenson, 38, is making the 7th defense of the WBC title he won by starching Chad Dawson in the first round in 2013. While he and Sergey Kovalev have been the clear top two in the division for a few years and the fans want the fight, we continue to see both men in what seems like an unending succession of these types of fights—non-demanding defenses against less than scintillating opposition.
Stevenson is an interesting study. Legal issues led to him turning pro close to his 30th birthday. He worked with esteemed trainer Emanuel Steward and flashed offensive skills that suggested a future champion. But a brutal 2010 KO loss to journeyman Darnell Boone led to people relegating him to the scrap heap. But he rebounded, exacted revenge on Boone, and earned a title shot against Chad Dawson that he won in most emphatic fashion. And while he has caught some flack for his opposition, he has managed to beat good fighters like Tony Bellew and Andrzej Fonfara in his title reign.
There's always an air of uncertainty and vulnerability surrounding Stevenson. When you look at him when he lets the punches go, he looks like an A+ fighter. But his dicey chin, age, and sometimes-porous defense always gives fighters at least some daylight. Fonfara was able to test him to a degree and there is no mistaking the fact that when he gets tagged solidly on the chin, interesting things can happen. But still, he's one of the most dangerous southpaws in the game—a superior and explosive hitter with good hand speed.
The announcement of Thomas Williams, Jr. as Stevenson's next opponent was met with a collective sigh from the boxing community. And while he is far from an ideal opponent for a champion of Stevenson's pedigree, he might not be as bad as is being made out to be. Williams, Jr. looked like a good up-and-comer for a while—a skilled southpaw with good skills and power and a diamond-in-the-rough prospect to be sure. But in a test he was supposed to pass with ease, he came up dramatically short to aging ex-champ Gabriel Campillo in 2014, retiring on his stool after five rounds of action. While Campillo is a cutie and a skilled one at that, he had been in losing form lately and watching Williams, Jr. succumb to his power was a discouraging development to say the least.
Williams, Jr., 28, has since registered three wins following the Campillo setback. And by scoring a pair of second-round knockouts over the talented duo of light heavyweights in Umberto Savigne and Edwin Rodriguez, some confidence has been restored. And in the Rodriguez fight, he showed another dimension—the ability to emerge victorious in a frenzied war. Both men shellacked each other in their abbreviated battle, with Williams, Jr. having to overcome some powerful shots to starch the once-beaten Rodriguez, whose only other loss was a decision to Andre Ward. While Williams, Jr. took some punishment in that fight that makes you wonder what would happen if it were Stevenson in the other corner, he showed that he is a dangerous fighter who might not be the easy pickings for Stevenson that some are forecasting.
Williams, Jr. would need to produce a career-best performance and hope some of Stevenson's liabilities manifest to have a good chance in this fight. Fighters can age overnight and Williams, Jr. can hold out hope that something like that happens to Stevenson. He can perhaps hurt Stevenson, who has a chin that can be vulnerable, particularly in the early rounds. And Stevenson is sometimes a guy who fights in spurts. He can be on the losing side of a round and explode with a few combinations that throw the stanza in his column. In addition, his offense can end a fight in an instant. But there can be long stretches in a fight where there are gaps for an opponent to exploit.
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Some fighters have milked it far too long before taking on their most-compelling opponent. While it may be unfair to attribute the failure to make the Kovalev fight solely on Stevenson, it seems that he is either not in a hurry to fight him or is trying to build up the drama. If anything, the fight is losing steam, as fans have grown a bit disinterested as the pair fight everyone but each other. At least Kovalev has fought some top guys and he has been somehow more compelling in his performances. Stevenson, also known as "Superman," has perhaps gotten to a point where he will get a bit stale. It's just a bit odd to see a KO artist like Stevenson fall into disfavor with fans even though the Fonfara and Bellew wins are quality triumphs. For a title reign that is 3.5 years long, that's not hardly enough.
Any form of sports betting really comes down to value. If you deem something will happen more often than what the odds indicate, that's good value. You might not expect to win, but over the long haul, that type of play is likely to show a profit. Adonis Stevenson is unquestionably a quality fighter and one of the more dangerous punchers in the sport. But he is not invulnerable. And to be such a big favorite over the likes of Williams, Jr., one should be closer to perfect than Adonis is.
Loot's Pick to Win the Fight: I'm betting on Thomas Williams, Jr. at +350. Bet this fight for FREE by taking advantage of a massive 100% sign-up bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $500 at GTBets!