By Keith Idec
Adonis Stevenson expects Bernard Hopkins to fight him sometime in 2014.
There are plenty of potential complications that could prohibit Hopkins-Stevenson from being made, but the WBC light heavyweight champion thinks Hopkins wants the fight as much as he does.
“He’ll fight me,” Stevenson said. “He wants to fight me. I spoke to him and he said after his mandatory [against Karo Murat] that he would fight me. He said he would come to Montreal. The people in Montreal know him. I think it could put 25,000 people in the building. It’s a big, big fight.”
Hopkins’ light heavyweight championship rematch against Canadian Jean Pascal did big business at Bell Centre in Montreal. Five months before nearly 18,000 fans attended their rematch, Hopkins and Pascal drew a crowd of over 16,000 to Pepsi Coliseum in Quebec City for their first fight.
Stevenson is an emerging star in Quebec after his one-punch, first-round knockout of Chad Dawson (31-3, 17 KOs, 2 NC) on June 8 at Bell Centre and his stoppage of Tavoris Cloud (24-2, 19 KOs) after seven one-sided rounds Sept. 28 at Bell Centre.
The 35-year-old southpaw will watch closely Saturday night, but he doesn’t envision Germany’s Karo Murat being able to handle Hopkins (53-6-2, 32 KOs, 2 NC), despite that Murat (25-1-1, 15 KOs) is 18 years younger than the first-ballot Hall-of-Fame fighter from Philadelphia.
“I know he’s going to beat Karo Murat,” Stevenson said. “It’s no disrespect to Karo Murat. I think he’s a good boxer and he’s got good skill. But I think he’ll beat Karo Murat.”
As much as Stevenson wants to beat Hopkins, he admittedly admires the 48-year-old IBF light heavyweight champion for his legendary longevity. It’s a blueprint Stevenson, a late-blooming boxer himself, hopes to follow as his career continues.
“Bernard Hopkins is beating people younger than him because he trains every day,” Stevenson said. “You have to train every day and he never stops. If you train every day, you don’t stop, you eat good, you stay out of trouble, you can keep boxing a long time.
“Plus, Bernard Hopkins never gets hit in the ring. He’s got good defense. You never see Bernard Hopkins get hit hard with a big punch. You can look at his face and see he doesn’t take a lot of punishment. He trains every day. With me, it’s the same thing. I train every day and I only have 23 fights. I’m a power puncher, so I can stay longer. I know I’m going to go more and more years.”
Like Hopkins, Stevenson (22-1, 19 KOs) must make a mandatory defense before pursuing more meaningful, lucrative fights. He is scheduled to encounter England’s Tony Bellew (20-1-1, 12 KOs) in the main event of an HBO doubleheader Nov. 30 at Pepsi Coliseum in Quebec City.
Russian knockout artist Sergey Kovalev (22-0-1, 20 KOs) is set to defend his WBO light heavyweight crown against Ukraine’s Ismayl Sillakh (21-1, 17 KOs) in the opener of that telecast. HBO Sports executives would like to match Stevenson against Kovalev, but the fighters aren’t contractually committed to what would be a highly anticipated light heavyweight unification fight.
Keith Idec covers boxing for The Record and Herald News, of Woodland Park, N.J., and BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.