Does Adonis Stevenson deserve the winner of Ward vs. Kovalev 2? (Radio)Written by Joseph Herron
It's been a strange five-year stretch for the current WBC and former lineal, Ring Magazine Light Heavyweight Champion Adonis Stevenson.
Since capturing Championship gold by stretching Chad Dawson in one round, and earning "2013 Fighter of the Year" honors, the 39 year old Haitian-born puncher has seemingly fallen off of the pugilistic map, and out of the consciousness of every avid fight fan...even in his adopted home of Quebec, Canada.
After moving from the premium platform of HBO Boxing to Showtime Sports, and hiring influential manager Al Haymon, Stevenson has become virtually a forgotten soul within the boxing industry. Those most knowledgeable of his peculiar situation understand why the crafty southpaw turned down an ostensibly imminent showdown with Sergey Kovalev.
Instead of being strongarmed by the brass at Home Box Office into a unification contest with the formerly undefeated Russian in 2014, Stevenson and his advisor decided to sever ties with the network responsible for making him a budding star, and move to a rival network for a less dangerous match-up and more money.
While the maneuver sounded good in theory to those in Stevenson's inner circle, the decision was an unpopular one to the real bosses of boxing, the paying customers and die-hard sports fans.
But rather than understanding the aforementioned match-up between Adonis and Sergey hadn't fully matured to its maximum money-making potential and was being forced prematurely, fans and critics of the sport virtually ostracized the current WBC Champion, blaming him and his team for depriving them of the opportunity to see the highly clamored Light Heavyweight showdown.
To be fair, Adonis hasn't exactly helped his own cause since leaving HBO in 2014, fighting only six times in three and half years. And his competition wasn't exactly the beasts of the 175 pound weight division. Although Fonfara eventually and temporarily cracked the top 5 of the division, the tough, former title challenger wasn't ranked as high while their two respective clashes took place.
Aside from the two victories over the "Polish Prince", Adonis has fought Sakio Bika, Dmitry Sukhotkiy, Tommy Karpency and Thomas Williams Jr during the aforementioned time period.
Immediately following his two round destruction of Fonfara this past Saturday night on Showtime Sports, the Haitian native called out the eventual winner of the June 17th rematch between Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev.
Would the winner of the highly anticipated return bout be interested in a unification bout with Stevenson at this juncture? Would the fans be interested to see the once scintillating match-up?
At this point in all three fighters' respective careers, neither Sergey nor Andre need the still very dangerous pairing against the murderous puncher from Haiti. And because Stevenson's stock has plummeted so drastically, the current WBC champ would be considered "too much risk for the reward"...even with a respected major world title around his waist.
So what's next for Adonis?
The former lineal champion should do everything he can to land a major fight with one of the two Light Heavyweight draws...regardless of the outcome on June 17th.
Even in the event of a loss in less than two weeks, a meeting with either Ward or Kovalev would be the biggest potential money fight available for Stevenson. While the Kronk Gym protege's popularity was sliding, Ward and Kovalev were doing a decent job of increasing their levels of popularity within the U.S. fight market. Although neither fighter is a superstar in terms of fan attraction and box office revenue, both men would be a huge step up for the aging southpaw champ.
But would anyone care?
Of course...if Adonis embraced his role as the "villain" of the match-up against either Sergey or Andre, the event would sell. After receiving a ton of negative press, for his unpopular professional decisions as well as his controversial past, many would tune in just to see Stevenson receive his long-overdue comeuppance.
So put on the black hat, Adonis, and partake in a meaningful fight before your career is over. Retirement is just around the corner.
Tune in to the live radio show at 10pm ET, Tuesday, June 6, 2017.
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Listen to James Gogue and Joseph Herron discuss Adonis Stevenson and the implications of him fighting the winner of Ward vs Kovalev 2.
The audio player is embedded at the bottom of the page and eill remain there after the show.