by David P. Greisman
Adonis Stevenson’s opponent in an elimination bout for a shot at the IBF’s super middleweight title will not be Andre Dirrell, but rather Donovan George, according to Stevenson’s promoter, Yvon Michel.
“It’s official — Andre Dirrell withdrew from the fight against Stevenson,” Michel said in French through his company’s Twitter and Facebook accounts on Monday afternoon.
Michel had announced just six days ago that Dirrell, through Leonard Ellerbe of Mayweather Promotions, had said he intended to fight Stevenson on Aug. 11 in Montreal on the undercard of Tavoris Cloud vs. Jean Pascal.
Michel had asked for an expedited purse bid date of July 13, but he’d also put in a contingency plan in case Dirrell declined, which seemingly was an expected possibility.
Michel signed George to another undercard slot, with an agreement that George would get the Stevenson bout if Dirrell dropped out.
The winner of the elimination bout will have a mandatory shot at beltholder Carl Froch.
Several other fighters also turned down a title elimination bout with Stevenson, according to Dan Rafael of ESPN.com — Sakio Bika, James DeGale, Mikkel Kessler, Thomas Oosthuizen, Kelly Pavlik and Edwin Rodriguez.
Stevenson is rated No. 2 by the IBF. Dirrell had been ranked at No. 11, but now George has been moved up into that spot. The sanctioning body’s No. 1 slot is vacant.
Stevenson, 34, is 18-1 with 15 knockouts. He last fought in April, stopping Noe Gonzalez Alcoba. George, 27, is 22-2-1 with 19 knockouts and is coming off a unanimous decision loss to Edwin Rodriguez in March.
Dirrell, meanwhile, is 28 years old and is 20-1 with 14 knockouts. He fought in December, knockout out Darryl Cunningham in his first bout back since departing the Super Six tournament with what his camp said was the lingering effects of a late hit from Arthur Abraham.
Dirrell’s team spoke earlier this year of preferring to face then-beltholder Lucian Bute in the United States rather than in Canada.
David P. Greisman is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow David on Twitter @fightingwords2 or send questions/comments via email at [email protected]