Tureano Johnson had a great game plan, and for the majority of tonight's fight, he was able to walk down the favored Curtis Stevens, pinning him on the ropes, scoring damaging shots to the body and head, and eating the vaunted Stevens left hook without much trouble.
At 2:09 of round 10, though, with Johnson up 88-83 on the BLH scorecard and still fighting hard, Stevens smashed him with one of those hooks, snapping his head around violently. Moments later, with Johnson on the ropes and covering up during a Stevens charge where no punches were really landing, referee Gary Rosato stepped in to stop the bout, handing the win to Stevens in a controversial decision that had Johnson predictably upset.
Johnson (14-1, 10 KO) showed that he truly had no fear of the power of Stevens (27-4, 20 KO), which he had said all during fight week he wasn't worried about. He claimed he had the plan to fight the knockout artist, and he did. That plan was simply to walk Stevens down, put the pressure on him all night, and stay in the phone booth with a guy who can do serious damage on short hooks and uppercuts.
The fight was a war of attrition all the way, with the pace barely dipping whatsoever, probably peaking in round four, which has to be the early leader for Round of the Year, at least as far as fights I've seen so far in 2014. In fact, this is my early leader, as it stands now, for Fight of the Year, even with the questionable stoppage.
Stevens landed 210 of 470 (45%) of his power punches, and also 13 of 87 jabs, for whatever that's worth. Johnson landed 231 of 598 (39%) power punches, and four of 26 jabs. It was a hell of a battle, but being boxing, it's rare we just get something purely good. And there is some stink around the ending of this fight, sadly.
What did you think of the stoppage? Questionable, horrible, or just fine?