Adonis Stevenson: Boxing's most protected champion must step up, soonWritten by Lee Cleveland
For the last several years, the career of WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson (29-1, 24 KO) has gone nowhere fast.
How things change...
Remember when Adonis was the hottest fighter in boxing after knocking out Chad Dawson in 2013? He won in electrifying fashion to become the lineal/RING Magazine light heavyweight champion.
Stevenson wasn't just a belt-holder, he was a 'real and legitimate champion.'
But his stock has dropped mightily since then, despite the fact he hasn't lost since 2010 and is still the WBC light heavyweight champion. (His lineal title was stripped).
He continues to win and record KOs but is hardly a topic of conversation these days in comparison to most of his peers in the sport, including Canelo, Golovkin, Kovalev, Wilder, Joshua, Rigondeaux, Lomachenko and more...
In fact, he's no longer among the top 3 fighters discussed in his division. In the wake of Andre Ward's retirement, Sergey Kovalev, Dmitri Bivol, Badou Jack and Artur Beterbiev dominate light heavyweight headlines these days.
Out of sight, out of mind
Adonis fought only once in 2017 and once in 2016. And since his KO win over Dmitry Sukhotskiy in December 2014, Adonis has had a mere 4 fights. And now, it appears his January 2018 bout could fall through.
Level of opposition
Since his awesome stoppage of Chad Dawson, Adonis has defeated Thomas Williams Jr, Tommy Karpency , Sakio Bika, Dmitry Sukhotskiy, Andrzej Fonfara (twice), Tony Bellew and Tavoris Cloud... All good fighters but none, sans (perhaps) Bellew, were top 4 light heavyweights at the time. Missing from that list are Andre Ward and Sergey Kovalev, arguably the division's best over the last 4 years.
Adonis looked like a monster in his most recent bout, KOing Fonfara in less than a round but then fell out of public consciousness again. There was little or no buzz about him fighting rival Sergey Kovalev or Andre Ward, prior to the latter's retirement announcement, and hardly a peep about him possibly facing one of the other champions.
And here's the kicker
Adonis has looked sensational, overall, the few times he's fought since 2013. We haven't seen controversial decisions nor any signs of him slowing down.
Although Adonis is a young 40, he needs to make his move soon because he's not as young as springtime.
Let's face it, since the Dawson fight we haven't seen Stevenson face an opponent who was a legitimate threat. We haven't seen him in that high-profile showdown that gets casual fans and the mainstream interested.
It's been nearly 5 years.
Risk vs reward?
Perhaps his handlers think facing a threat would be too much risk for the reward? After all, Adonis is a celebrity in Canada and can earn decent money facing run-of -the-mill contenders.
But if Stevenson wants to make more money (regardless of the risk vs reward factor) and build his legacy, he must face an elite opponent, soon. If he doesn't, he's going to regret it after it's too late.
Young, hungry, undefeated Eleider Alvarez has been Stevenson's mandatory opponent for TWO years and is supposed to face Adonis in January. Should they fight, he would serve as Stevenson's toughest test since Chad Dawson. However, there are rumors Adonis is looking to sidestep Alvarez in favor of Badou Jack.
To become a powerbroker again in boxing, Adonis must face Kovalev, Beterbiev or Bivol. It's just that simple. At this point, even a win over Alvarez beforehand would certainly restore some lost momentum and credibility.
RING MAGAZINE LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT RANKINGS
ADONIS STEVENSON (29-1, 24 KOS)
SERGEY KOVALEV 30-2-1 (26 KOS)
ELEIDER ALVAREZ 23-0-0 (11 KOS)
OLEKSANDR GVOZDYK 14-0-0 (12 KOS)
ARTUR BETERBIEV 12-0-0 (12 KOS)
DMITRY BIVOL (WBA) 12-0-0 (10 KOS)
SULLIVAN BARRERA 20-1-0 (14 KOS)
BADOU JACK 22-1-2 (13 KOS)
MARCUS BROWNE 20-0-0 (15 KOS)
JOE SMITH JR. 23-2-0 (19 KOS)