In the first round, it appeared that Stevens was heading toward an early knockout win over Brinkley. Stevens connected with some left hooks that almost floored him. Brinkley recovered, and used his jab more in round two. Stevens was pressing the action, but without the presence of an effective left jab. Brinkley got his punches off first, and as a result Stevens hit him much less in the round.
By round three, Brinkley found his range and repeatedly struck Stevens with hard, accurate punches.
Both men stepped up the pace in round five and battled courageously. Toward the end of the round, Brinkley hurt Stevens with a left hook to the head. Stevens fired back, but was met with a flurry of punches from Brinkley. They continued swinging well after the bell had sounded to end the round.
Brinkley continued to punish Stevens in round six, and put him down after landing a series of rock-solid right hands. Stevens was tough, but minimized his chances to win with little head movement and the lack of an effective jab.
Stevens landed a sharp left hook in the eighth round, although Brinkley absorbed the punch well. Stevens' punches only reached the target one at a time, while Brinkley was landing combinations. Brinkley also hit Stevens with some punishing hooks to the body.
In the twelfth round, referee Vic Drakulich gave Stevens a standing eight count after Brinkley landed a barrage of punches. Brinkley could have used the ring to his advantage in the remaining minutes, but he elected to go for the knockout. Both men continued to swing until the final bell. Brinkley got the better of the exchanges, although he did not put Stevens down again.
With the victory, Brinkley could face undefeated IBF Super-Middleweight Champion Lucian Bute next. Stevens fought with great heart, but came up short suffering his third professional defeat. During the course of any fight, Stevens possesses the power to hurt his opponents. On the other hand, he cannot afford to pressure them without fighting behind a solid jab. Again, Stevens had trouble moving his head to slip punches. For Stevens to bounce back from his latest defeat, he must learn how to slip punches better and work his way into range by jabbing.
Serrano Remains Unbeaten
In a welterweight showdown, Raymond Serrano (12-0, 6 KO's) defeated Ronnie Warrior Jr. (13-3-1, 4 KO's) by an eight-round unanimous decision. All three official judges scored the fight 79-73.
Serrano started fast, landing right hand leads and beat Warrior to the punch repeatedly. Warrior, a southpaw, seemed overwhelmed by Serrano's blazing hand speed. Serrano was consistently pounding Warrior with crisp combinations, while Warrior was unable to counter with meaningful punches. Warrior's hand speed was too inefficient to keep up with the 20-year-old prospect from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Serrano displayed great maturity, balance and composure for a young fighter. He never stood in front of Warrior too long, gave many angles and was very accurate placing his punches. Warrior never disrupted Serrano's rhythm. Serrano found his range and used lots of lateral movement to frustrate Warrior the entire bout.