Tony Bellew can't take Adonis Stevenson for granted, says Glenn McCrory
Glenn McCrory explains why Tony Bellew mustn't take new WBC champion Adonis Stevenson lightly.
Last Updated: 19/06/13 3:25pm
Tony Bellew is the WBC light-heavyweight mandatory and was expected to be preparing to take on the man called Bad. Well, it looks like good news for Bomber! But don't be deceived. Stevenson is the big winner here, not the lad from Liverpool.
That shock win might turn Stevenson into a superstar, it might move him up a level and it might make him a much better fighter.
We've seen so many fighters improve once they have that world title so to think he is a walkover - providing your defence keeps those big shots at bay - is wrong. Bellew will not think he will be easy, because he is going into the unknown against Stevenson.
Anyone can come up with a first-round KO and he should get credit because he did what Andre Ward did but Bernard Hopkins couldn't and stop Dawson. In some style.
But I can only think mentally Bad's preparation wasn't up to scratch. Maybe he is a different fighter after that loss to Andre Ward and maybe it took more out of him than we thought. Look at Carl Froch: his loss to Ward was the making of him, where it seems like Dawson has gone the other way.
Admittedly it took a couple of fights before we were convinced about the new Froch so perhaps we need to give Dawson the benefit of doubt because if there is one thing that can cause chaos and one thing that can catch anyone out it's a first-round knockout.
You are there trying to gauge your distance, the tempo, the opponents range and you just aren't sure what is going to happen. Don't forget you don't know his plan either and if you are momentarily in a bit of doubt and the other guy is fired up a first-round knockout can come.
The good thing for Bellew is he has seen that now and he knows what Stevenson is capable of, so when he fights for that WBC title, he will be doubly careful. As I said anyone who can floor Chad Dawson is a threat. A real threat.
The one big positive is the way we have seen Bellew fight recently because he hasn't just come out throwing those bombs, trying to knock people out. Him and Stevenson going at it hammer and tongs would be brilliant, but I don't think it would last - and I am not sure that's the right way to win a world title!
Mind you, Bellew's last two fights were against a decent fighter, a difficult guy to break down and land the big shots on. Isaac Chilemba hadn't lost for six years before that as well, so it was always going to be tough.
As mandatory, Tony knew the world title was next and I remember that when I won the world title, the fight before was against Steve Mormino who was, with respect, little more than a journeyman - and I was so nervous it was a joke. And then when the world title came round and I fought Patrick Lumumba, who was 10 times better, I tried to smash his face in from the start.
I hope that's not what we see from Bellew because he is still the underdog. He's done well domestically and I have to say that I thought he's won the first one with Chilemba and yes he gave Nathan Cleverly the odd scare but in all honesty, his credentials are not up there with Dawson's - and not even Stevenson's.
I suppose the one thing you want to take Bellew into the ring is a decent defence because perhaps all Stevenson does is go for those big shots. It is something he is working on and improving but the one thing I have noticed about Bellew is he is either on the defence all the time, or on the attack all the time. He is either one or the other and he has to learn to adapt and when to jump on people.
Let's hope the penny drops because he needs that instinct. I am not sure he is as super-confident as we might think. That is what a world title can bring. Only if he avoids Stevenson's big shots and takes that WBC title off him, is Bellew the biggest winner!
If anyone was surprised by Youri Gamboa's lethargic win on the same card, don't be. Yes, he has a great record and yes, Darleys Perez's record was a bit padded but believe me, it was a typical performance from a Cuban boxer in my opinion!
Yes Gamboa won, but did he go for broke? Did he go flat out? Did he want to show the likes of Adrian Broner and Ricky Burns he means business? Of course not! That's not what Cuban boxers are about.
I trained three Cubans myself, I have spent plenty of time over there and it is a country I love - and know inside out. As a nation in a communist environment, Cuba has nothing to do with achievement, so the likes of Gamboa lack the drive because it's not instilled in them.
It's not part of the Cuban psychology, so that explains why we only saw him in brief flashes, in the first half of the fight.
Finally, I have to be honest and say I missed James DeGale at Bluewater, but I did read his remarks earlier in the week when he said he would end Carl Froch's career!
Well, there is nothing like confidence and I am not surprised that both he and George Groves want to take on the very best. But let's be honest, Froch is a step up in class right now and he won't be around forever, so I would rather see those two take over when the time is right.
But I can't criticise DeGale or Groves because I remember when I was a young upstart and was calling out a certain Mike Tyson! Well, all I got from him was some sparring. That was brilliant, but believe me, that was hard enough! There is a lesson there...