By Ryan Maquiñana
Canadian super middleweight Adonis Stevenson will return to the ring on April 14, according to his promoter Yvon Michel of GYM.
Stevenson (17-1, 14 KOs), from Longueuil, Quebec, scored an impressive first-round knockout of previously once-beaten Jesus Gonzales (27-2, 14 KOs) in Montreal two Saturdays ago, which was an emphatic statement to start 2012.
“The problem with Adonis is that he was under-trained here in Montreal,” Michel said. “No one wanted to spar him. Although (former cornerman) Howard Grant is a good trainer, he didn’t have time to travel with him. So after the new year, Adonis took it upon himself. He went to Detroit to try to impress Emanuel Steward at the Kronk Gym.”
Michel then recounted a telephone conversation with the Hall of Fame trainer shortly after Stevenson's arrival in the Motor City gym.
“Emanuel called me and said, I’ve never heard of this Adonis Stevenson, and here he is knocking everyone out in the gym with 16-ounce gloves,” Michel said. “He told me that he’s the purest puncher I’ve seen since Thomas Hearns. He said, ‘I’m taking care of him from now, and I have a lot of confidence that he can be a huge star and the most feared fighter in the division.’ ”
Ideally, Michel would like to get Stevenson a shot against IBF 168-pound boss Lucian Bute, who is promoted by fellow Quebec-based Interbox.
“The mandatory position to Lucian Bute in the IBF is Carl Froch, and Adonis just took the number two spot after beating Gonzales,” Michel said. “If Bute can’t make that fight with Froch, they will definitely make Adonis number one.”
Michel outlined a potential scenario involving Stevenson’s status in the rankings.
“Now I know Lucian Bute is trying to fight more high-profile opponents with Froch and Andre Ward,” Michel said. “If those opportunities come up, he can pay $20,000 to the IBF for an extension to his mandatory.
“In that case, we would set up a fight with Adonis and the highest available contender to start negotiating a fight,” Michel said. “Every fight this year, we want to show HBO and Showtime that he deserves to fight on their networks.”
Boxing correspondent Ryan Maquiñana is a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and Ring Magazine’s Ratings Advisory Panel. E-mail him at [email protected] , check out his blog at norcalboxing.net, or follow him on Twitter: @RMaq28.