WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis ‘Superman’ Stevenson (29-1-1, 24 KOs) retained his title by rallying to hold challenger Badou Jack (22-1-3, 13 KOs) to a 12 round majority draw on Saturday night at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Stevenson, 40, appeared to do just enough to deserve a victory, but the judges scored it a draw by the following scores: 114-114, 115-113 for Jack and 114-114. Boxing News 24 scored the fight to Stevenson by 115-113.
Stevenson looked like he was seven rounds. Both fighters were hurt multiple times during the fight. Jack didn’t do enough in the first 6 rounds for him to get the decision. Jack, 34, was the younger guy by six rounds, but Stevenson was able to find some of his youth in the last three rounds to keep from losing.
The 40-year-old Stevenson faded after the 6th round, and gave away rounds 7, 8 and 9 to Jack. However, in the 10th, Stevenson hurt Jack with a hard body shot late in the round that had him holding on.
Stevenson continued to hit with body shots in the 11th, and got the better of him. In round 12, Jack came on strong and punished Stevenson with hard head shots for the entire round. Stevenson did little more than hold to try and stall out the round.
Jack appeared to win 4 out of the last 6 rounds. Jack also fought well enough to win round 1. Stevenson outworked Jack in rounds 2 through 6, and he looked he was hunting for a knockout. Going into the 7th, Jack was trailing badly and he looked over-matched. However, Stevenson gassed out in the 7th and stayed tired until the 10th, when he hurt Jack with a body shot.
It was a good rally for Jack in coming on in the second half of the fight, but he blew his chance of winning the fight by getting hurt in the 10th and doing enough in the 11th. Those were both Stevenson rounds. Jack only has himself to blame for losing the fight. He should have started off faster in the first six rounds.
Stevenson showed his age tonight in taking a lot of punishment from Jack in the second half of the contest. It’s doubtful that Jack will get a rematch after this fight though, as the World Boxing Council will likely order Stevenson to face his mandatory challenger, which he hasn’t done since 2013. That would be Oleksandr Gvozdyk.
I’m not sure that he’ll do any better than Jack though, but he’ll some wear and tear on Stevenson. At this point, Stevenson’s biggest enemy is father time. With Stevenson getting older and fighting so rarely, he’s his own worst enemy. In tonight’s fight, Stevenson was coming off of an 11-month layoff. He took a year off after his 2nd round knockout win over Andrzej Fonfara last June. It’s not as if Stevenson had a reason to rest for an entire year. Coming back from a long layoff like that to fight Jack had to have been a really difficult thing for Stevenson. If he takes another year off and then comes back to fight Gvozdyk, it might be the end of him as a champion.
The way Stevenson fought tonight, he’d be food for guys like WBA champion Dmitry Bivol and IBF champion Artur Beterbiev. Those guys would be too strong for him and would likely tear him apart. Stevenson was lucky that Jack isn’t a puncher, because if he had the power of Bivol or Beterbiev, he would have been knocked out.