SAN DIEGO, May 23, 2014 – For months, fight fans wanted to see light heavyweight sensation and our 2013 Fighter of the Year Adonis Stevenson take on the 2013 Emerging Star of the Year, fearsome Russian boxer Sergey Kovalev. After both had a tremendous year with four knockouts in four fights each, it was a bout pitting two of the best big men in a battle no one would miss.
It isn’t happening anytime soon. In the meantime, Stevenson (23-1, 20 KOs) will defend his title against Polish fighter Andrzej Fonfara (25-2, 15 KOs) of Chicago at Stevenson’s hometown ring at the Bell Centre in Montreal. The main event plus two undercard fights will air on Showtime at 9 p.m. ET Saturday. Both men made weight with Stevenson at 173.5 pounds and the challenger Fonfara at 174.5 pounds.
The Bell Centre holds 22,000 people, and even with their hometown hero in the lineup, promoters expect less than half of the seats to be filled.
The bout is on Showtime because Stevenson recently left his longtime home at HBO thanks to his promoter Yvon Michel and advisor Al Haymon making a move. The explanation that it was strictly a business move isn’t getting much credibility. It seems more likely that Stevenson didn’t want to risk his newfound star status against a fearsome opponent like Kovalev. Lawsuits are in progress over the situation.
After his knockout victory in March, HBO’s Max Kellerman asked Kovalev whether he was disappointed about the situation, and he didn’t pull any punches. “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).
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.
In the meantime, Kovalev says he’ll fight anybody, and fans will watch him fight just about anybody. How about the winner of the Carl Froch-George Groves II bout? I’m good with that. Bring it on.
So fans don’t get the tasty boxing meal they hoped for. But it’s Memorial Day Weekend and the card will have to tide everyone over until Cotto vs. Martinez two weeks from now.
Fonfara isn’t a total fall guy. He is tough and he is capable of catching Stevenson with a right hand if Stevenson isn’t careful. It could end up being a fight that exceeds expectations. Fonfara isn’t Kovalev though, and the fans can’t help but be disappointed.
Showtime will air two additional fights, both 10-round contents among middleweights. Montreal native David Lemiuex (31-2, 29 KOs) will fire up the hometown crowd when he takes on Fernando Guerrero (26-2, 19 KOs) of Salisbury, Maryland. Junior middleweight Jermell Charlo (23-0, 11 KOs) defends his unbeaten record against Charlie Ota of Japan (24-1-1, 16 KOs). Ota is originally from New York. Both of these fights have potential to be competitive and entertaining.
If you’re not interested in seeing “Godzilla” or the new “X-Men” movie, and you aren’t off camping or enjoying a beach bonfire, you will be watching even if you hate yourself for it.
Stevenson vs. Fonfara airs on Showtime on Saturday, May 24, at 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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