By Phil Doherty
Thursday afternoon’s media teleconference for next Saturday’s WBC light heavyweight world title showdown between current champion Adonis “Superman” Stevenson (21-1, 18 KOs) and former IBF champ Tavoris “Thunder” Cloud (24-1, 19 KOs) lacked only one element…Cloud himself.
Promoters Yvon Michel and Gary Shaw explained the absence was due to a “miscommunication” and that Cloud’s camp was given ample notice but informed them “just before the call” that they were still in training, preferring a 3:00 start time rather than the noon timeslot. Shaw went on to say that this was the second such snub during the promotion. (The first apparently being due to Cloud missing a Canadian press conference because of a missing passport.)
Stevenson, the Haitian-born thirty-five year old southpaw former super middleweight who scored a stunning first round knockout against Chad Dawson in June, promised to do the same to the thirty-one year old former titleholder from Tallahassee. Quoting his former trainer, beloved Hall of Famer Emanuel Steward, Stevenson proclaimed: “knockouts sell….and I will knock Cloud out.”
Shaw seconded the sentiment, adding: “This will be the first time Cloud is in with someone who can punch…This will be an easy night.” Stevenson’s eagerly anticipated first defense will be broadcast live September 28th on HBO in front of Stevenson’s adoptive and adoring hometown French Canadian fans from the Bell Center in Montreal as part of a three-venue card.
However, Cloud and his reunited trainer Al Bonanni offered their own take on what and who will go down in the Bell Center.
Bonanni responded from Cloud’s training camp in Ocala Florida, (while the former champ could be heard working the speed bag in the background.) “What does Gary Shaw know? This conference was changed twice. First they said they wanted to do the conference early morning and Don King asked if it could be changed around the training schedule.
Cloud really did lose his passport so we did the interview on Skype. Anybody can punch hard and we’re gonna punch back. I don’t care if he punches, boxes, skips or jumps, we’re just coming to fight and we’re coming to win. We’ve been working with four southpaws in camp and as a matter of fact we’re still sparring. He’s boxed a lot of rounds here at Danny Santiago’s gym in beautiful horse country where the thoroughbreds run. My guy’s a thoroughbred too.”
Cloud expressed his position in less poetic terms when advised of Stevenson’s comments. He replied: “All that trash talk is good, maybe he’s trying to sell more tickets but he’s got a lot to learn as a fighter.
Right now he’s all pumped up but the ones that are really good don’t need to talk about it. It’s like killers versus pimps. Killers don’t tell you what they’re gonna do, while pimps can’t stop talkin bout how they gonna mess you up.
Well, I’m a killer and it can’t be explained, it has to be seen.”