By Jake Donovan
Adonis Stevenson will no longer sit around and wait for a title shot. Instead, he will emulate the career path of the very titlist who has opted to go in another direction.
Two months before Carl Froch faces prior conqueror Mikkel Kessler on May 25, Stevenson will set out to avenge the lone loss of his own career. The super middleweight contender faces Darnell Boone on March 22, putting at risk a guaranteed future title shot.
“Adonis asked us to fight. He will not sit idle, and promised to be very serious in preparation, promoter Yvon Michel told Canadian newspaper La Presse on Monday. “If he loses this fight, he loses his chance to fight for the championship.”
Michel has fought for months to secure Stevenson a shot at the title. A promise was made by the IBF that Froch – who won the belt last May with a stirring 5th round knockout of previously unbeaten super middleweight titlist Lucian Bute – would next honor his mandatory following his 3rd round knockout of Yusaf Mack in an optional defense last November.
Stevenson earned his mandatory ranking after winning a pair of eliminators in 2012 – knocking out Jesus Gonzalez inside of a round and then stopping Donovan George in the 12th round of last October’s final elimination bout.
However, Froch and his handlers were able to find a loophole in extending their reign without honoring the mandatory. A rematch with Kessler will now serve as a unification bout, thanks to the Dane winning a belt last December.
The winner of Kessler-Froch II will be recognized as a unified titlist, but for how long seems open to debate. Froch was already prepared to dump his title in favor of lucrative rematches with Kessler, Bute and Andre Ward before calling it a career.
According to Michel, Stevenson can expect to fight for a title anywhere between June 8 and June 25, against the highest ranked – and willing – contender. By then, the Kessler-Froch II winner will have been stripped of at least one belt, serving as unified titlist (providing there is a winner) long enough to pose for pictures, but not much longer beyond that.
“It will accelerate things,” Michel insists, realizing the potential for sitting out even longer had they opted to instead face the winner. “Adonis will be able to fight for the world championship faster than if Froch or Kessler had procrastinated with no real desire to fight (Stevenson).”
Stevenson’s chance at redemption against Boone comes on March 22 at the Bell Centre in Montreal. Stevenson (19-1, 16KO) has won six straight since the upset knockout loss, in which a single right hand put him flat on his back and left him on all four as their April 2010 fight was waved off mere seconds into round two.
Life hasn’t quite been as kind to Boone (19-20-3, 8KO), who is 2-5-1 since scoring the biggest win of his journeyman career. He enters this rematch having lost three straight, including a rare knockout loss in another rematch, falling in three rounds to Sergey Kovalev after giving the unbeaten light heavyweight a run for his money in their first encounter back in Oct. 2010.
Stevenson – born in Haiti but now proudly representing Canada – will set up training camp at the famed Kronk Gym in Detroit. He is currently trained by Javon “Sugar” Hill, nephew of the late Emanuel Steward. The bout will be Stevenson’s first since Steward’s passing late last October.
Jake Donovan is the Boxingscene.com Managing Editor, Records Keeper for Transnational Boxing Ratings Board and a voting member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox