There’s been two major questions that I felt needed answered from Cain Velasquez before I would feel comfortable naming him as one of the world’s top heavyweight fighters.
1. Would his seven career fights be enough to take on the best the heavyweight division had to offer?
2. Did he possess the kind of power in his strikes that could end a fight definitively?
Last night in his impressive first round victory over Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Velasquez answered both questions with a resounding ‘yes!’
Nogueira had showed in his last fight with Randy Couture that his boxing could be a potent weapon, yet right from the first bell Velasquez looked the superior striker, landing first and showing a fluency to his work with combinations of solid punches and powerful kicks consistently finding their target.
When the end came just 2 minutes and 20 seconds into the first round, it provided perhaps the most jaw dropping moment of the night as Velasquez unleashed a three punch flurry that dropped a dazed Nogueira to the mat.
The right hand that did most of the damage in the exchange demonstrated the kind of power that had been lacking in his previous fights, and was followed by a series of unanswered blows to the head of his downed opponent that left the referee no choice but to call the fight to abrupt halt.
A victory over a legend like Nogueira, who had only been stopped once before inside the distance, is by far and away the biggest win of his 8-0 career, and yet he made it look easy.
With ever-improving striking and signs of genuine power adding to his already widely recognized attributes such as his speed, cardio and outstanding wrestling, Velasquez is looking an increasingly fearsome opponent – and at just 26 years old the scary thing for his future opponents at the top of the heavyweight division is that he is only going to get better.