David Lemieux scored a devastating one-punch knockout of Curtis Stevens at the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York. It was the sort of spectacular finish that should make it a candidate for knockout of the year.
The scheduled 10-round middleweight bout came to an abrupt halt in the third round when Lemieux backed Stevens into the ropes and connected with a flush left hook to the jaw.
The stricken boxer's body went limp as he crumpled to the floor, and referee Charlie Fitch took a quick look at Stevens and called an immediate halt to the contest at the 1:59 mark.
The 32-year-old Stevens, whose record slipped to 29-6 with 21 knockouts, remained on the canvas for several minutes before he was carried from the ring on a stretcher and taken to the hospital as a precautionary measure.
Lemieux and Stevens are considered two of the hardest punchers in the division, and an exciting match was expected. But few thought it would end so suddenly.
Lemieux, from Montreal, took the initiative from the opening bell, moving forward behind his left jab and firing rights to the head and left hooks to the body. Stevens, from Brownsville, New York, punched back with hard shots of his own but never came close to taking over the fight.
However, Stevens appeared to be rallying in the third as he slammed hard hooks into Lemieux's body, one of which made the Canadian flinch and back away. But the 28-year-old Lemieux fought back with renewed vigor, pressuring Stevens into the ropes, where he landed a right to the head, followed by the fight-ending left hook.
"I told you what I was going to do, and I did it," said Lemieux after improving his record to 37-3 with 33 knockouts. He has won three straight since suffering a TKO loss to Gennady Golovkin in October 2015 and hopes the impressive win over Stevens puts him back in the title hunt.
Gamboa beats Alvarado in subdued bout
In the junior lightweight co-feature, Yuriorkis Gamboa won a 10-round unanimous decision over Rene Alvarado by scores of 97-73 and 97-92 (twice). Gamboa, who won a gold medal for Cuba at the 2004 Olympics, was having his first bout in 15 months.
The audience was unhappy with the lack of action and booed throughout the bout. The only excitement came in the 10th round, when Alvarado, from Managua, Nicaragua, knocked down Gamboa with a left hook. Gamboa beat the count and finished the bout.
Alvarado, who has lost six of his 10 most recent fights, slipped to 24-8 with 16 KOs. Gamboa, based in Miami, raise his record to 26-1 with 17 KOs.
The 35-year-old Gamboa, whose career has been hampered with injuries and a lengthy layoff, never launched a determined attack. He seemed satisfied to stay out of trouble and peck out a decision, much to the disappointment of the crowd.