SAN DIEGO, December 18, 2014 – Last year about this time, most boxing writers were penciling in Canadian light heavyweight Adonis “Superman” Stevenson as their 2013 Fighter of the Year, including me.
This year, we are left with a Christmas season throw away bout on Friday, December 19 via Showtime from Quebec City between Stevenson (24-1, 20 KOs) and Dmitry Sukhotsky (22-2, 16 KOs) of Russia, whose only fight outside Russia or Germany was a unanimous decision loss to American Cornelius White in Las Vegas.
Stevenson’s possibilities seemed endless as a legitimate contender in two weight classes with outstanding oppoents in both. Fans hoped to Stevenson take on Fighter of the Year runner-up, Sergey Kovalev. But to the disappointment of the fans, Stevenson’s manager Al Haymon bailed out of their contract with HBO and signed with rival Showtime instead, dashing the immediate potential for this contest.
Stevenson’s first fight of 2014 didn’t happen until May, when Stevenson had a tougher than expected fight against Andrzej Fonfara of Poland in Montreal, winning a unanimous decision. Fonfara did himself proud, but he isn’t “Krusher” Kovalev.
For his part, Sergey Kovalev started 2014 right where he left off in 2013 with a three knockdown, seventh round stoppage of Cedic Agnew in March, followed by a second round TKO pounding of Blake Caparello. The year was capped off by Kovalev’s dominating decision performance over Bernard Hopkins in November. Suddenly, it’s Kovalev on the short list for Fighter of the Year in 2014.
Back in March, HBO’s Max Kellerman asked Kovalev whether he was disappointed about the situation, and he didn’t pull any punches here. “I don’t want to speak about Adonis Stevenson. Adonis Stevenson is a piece of s**t. Excuse my English,” Kovalev laughed.
A few minutes later via Twitter, Stevenson tweeted back “@KrusherKovalev You just a real slow BUM with no defence. Easy work! pic.twitter.com/IgFEuPMrDe” This was followed up by this tweet: “@KrusherKovalev Tell your mama Kathy Duva to stop crying and to call @yvonmichelGYM and @AlHaymon to make the fight happen!” (Duva is Kovalev’s manager).
While the boxing Twitterverse gets a kick out of a little Twitter trash talk among fighters, they want to see it backed up with action in the ring.
Haymon didn’t make the fight for Stevenson. He hasn’t made any fights for Stevenson. Stevenson says Haymon is protecting his monetary interests, that other fights want too much money in negotiations, so the bouts aren’t happening. He claims Haymon can make the Kovalev fight happen if promoter Kathy Duva will call and play fair.
It won’t be anytime soon. The Bell Centre in Montreal is already reserved in April for a fight against fellow Canadian Jean Pascal. Pascal is the next top contender after Kovalev and Hopkins, but he’s not Kovalev.
To show he’s still worthy of the top ranking in the division, Stevenson needs have a statement win against the average at best Suthotsky. The man who last beat Sutkotsky, Cornelius White, was beaten by Kovalev in 2013 in a third round TKO. Most observers predict a win for Stevenson, but a decision won’t cut it.
It’s truly a shame for the sport if a Stevenson/Kovalev bout can’t be made down the road. No one wants another Pacquiao vs. Mayweather “might have been” situation. Keep an eye on Twitter during the fight for call outs and commentary, always a good idea and highly entertaining if you’re watching at home. Give me a shoutout if you are.
On the undercard, Andre Dirrell, the 2004 U.S. Olympic bronze medalist, faces Derek Edwards in an IBF super middleweight elimination fight. Dirrell (23-1, 16 KOs) is riding two good TKO wins in August and October on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights. Dirrel’s career stalled due to neurological problems following a fight accident in 2010 and promoter disputes. He’s had a good comeback year and hopes to end the year on a high note.
Also on the card is an IBF welterweight eliminator fight, a rematch between Canadians Jo Jo Dan (33-2, 18 KOs), who is originally from Romania, and Kevin Bizier (23-1, 16 KOs) of Quebec. Dan won a split decision in the first meeting in 2013. The winner becomes the mandatory challenger for world titleholder Kell Brook of Great Britain, who beat Shawn Porter as an underdog in August in California.
The opening televised bout might be the most exciting. Two time Olympian Artur Beterbiev (6-0, 6 KOs), a Chechen who has moved to Montreal to live and train, fights American Jeff Page Jr. (15-0, 10 KOs) in a 10-round light heavyweight contest. Beterbiev and Page both want to get into the mix as a contender in this division with Stevenson, Kovalev, and the rest.
All boxers made weight on Friday.
Showtime Boxing, Stevenson vs. Sukhotsky, airs on Friday, December 19, 9 p.m. ET
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +
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