By Jake Donovan
The news of Bernard Hopkins facing Sergey Kovalev initially left lineal light heavyweight king Adonis Stevenson without a dance partner for a planned September 27 ring return. Unable to close in on a suitable opponent in time, it has now left him without a fight at all on the date.
A joint decision was made by Stevenson’s team and American cable giant Showtime to push back the reigning champion’s next fight to an unspecified date in October or November. October 18 has been tentatively tossed around as a possibility, though when he returns is dependent on the level of opposition and if all parties can broker a deal in time.
“It was a proposition by Showtime and we will go with that decision,” promoter Yvon Michel told RDS Canada on Thursday afternoon. “They want to have time to promote Adonis’ next fight. They told us to find a date in October or November.”
Stevenson last fought in May, scoring an early knockdown but also having to climb off the canvas to escape with a decision win over Andrzej Fonfara. The stay-busy fight was originally scheduled to appear on HBO as means to build momentum towards a mouthwatering showdown with fellow light heavyweight knockout artist Kovalev.
However, Stevenson opted to cross the street to Showtime, joining the rest of the major fighters in the vast stable of adviser Al Haymon, with whom the southpaw signed in March.
The move was intended to trigger a three-belt unification bout with Hopkins, who did his part by beating Beibut Shumenov to walk away with two belts in the aftermath of their April clash. A deal was thought to be in place, only for Hopkins to call an audible and instead decided to return to HBO to fight Kovalev later this fall.
With the legendary future Hall of Famer out of the mix, the next logical choice for an opponent to face Stevenson was countryman Jean Pascal. Such a fight would be huge in Canada—huge enough to where those with a financial stake aren’t quite ready to make it happen in the 4th quarter of 2014.
“The next opponent won’t be Jean Pascal,” Michel
confirmed. “[E]venutally they will fight each other.”
The leading candidates to emerge as Stevenson’s next opponent are Umberto Savigne and Gabriel Campillo. Both are coming off of recent wins that aired on regional cable.
Savigne scored a one-sided 2 nd round knockout of badly faded former super middleweight titlist Jeff Lacy in July. Already highly ranked among the alphabets, Savigne called out Stevenson and Kovalev before the fight; the claims fell on deaf ears although the Cuban boxer may now get his wish.
Campillo racked up a career-resurrecting 5 th round knockout of previously unbeaten Thomas Williams Jr. The former light heavyweight titlist was in a career free fall, having suffered three losses in the span of four fights, including knockout defeats against Kovalev and Fonfara just seven months apart.
Two wins have followed, including the stunner over Williams Jr. to once again surface to light heavyweight contention level.
Who lands the assignment is entirely dependent on one powerful entity.
“We will talk to Stevenson’s agent, Al Haymon,” Michel noted of the pending opponent selection.
Jake Donovan is the
Managing Editor of BoxingScene.com, as well as the Records Keeper for the
Transnational Boxing Ratings Board
and a member
Boxing Writers Association of America