There were plenty of devastating punches to choose from, but Adonis Stevenson’s head-swiveling left to the chin of Sakio Bika during the fifth round Saturday was The Moment of their 175-pound championship fight in Quebec City.
Adonis Stevenson set up the punch, which landed at the 1:40 mark of the round, with a decoy right jab. The shot hurt Sakio Bika, who grabbed onto Stevenson following the blow, causing both fighters to tumble to the canvas.
Referee Michael Griffin ruled it a slip, but it was a sign of things to come later in the fight.
Stevenson officially floored Bika in the sixth and ninth rounds with similar shots. The left hands were the calculated and imminent results of several earlier straight-line measurements from distance.
Jabbing from his southpaw stance, Stevenson repeatedly landed powerful left crosses and uppercuts against Bika, alternately firing to the head or ripping the body.
“It’s the same shot over and over again. You’ve got to start seeing those shots,” said CBS ringside analyst Paulie Malignaggi, responding to a replay of the fifth-round action. “That’s a sharp left hand by Stevenson, and that’s the one that eventually caused the knockdown, but it wasn’t ruled a knockdown.”
Bika never adjusted despite having been stunned with left hands during each of the first and second rounds. He more or less walked into a blistering left hand in the sixth, and stood directly in the line of fire for a shorter shot to the nose in the ninth.
Stevenson benefited from working with trainer Javon “Sugar” Hill, who was in Anthony Dirrell’s corner during the 168-pounder champion’s two fights against Bika, which resulted in a draw and a Dirrell victory by unanimous decision.
Bika struggled against the southpaw stance of Stevenson, just as he did in previous losses to left-handers Lucian Bute and Joe Calzaghe, both of whom delivered near shutout performances against him.
Revisit the Stevenson vs Bika fight through highlights, photos, round-by-round analysis and a look at the judges' scorecards.
RECAP: Both fighters start to loosen up. Stevenson appears to knock Bika down but it was called as a slip! #PBConCBS pic.twitter.com/ju9y8D5FXN— PBC (@premierboxing) April 4, 2015