By Jake Donovan
The string of events which led to Adonis Stevenson now facing Donovan George in a super middleweight title elimination bout next month only goes to show that you can never be too prepared.
Even his handlers were surprised, this after taking all of the precautionary measures in advance.
“I was surprised when Andre Dirrell pulled out of the fight,” admitted Yvon Michel, president of GYM Promotions, who handles Stevenson. “I had a brief conversation with Leonard Ellerbe (who runs Mayweather Promotions, Dirrell’s promoter) and we were supposed to have a conference call to discuss the fight.”
Terms were discussed in advance for Stevenson and Dirrell to fight on August 11. The bout was to air on Showtime, serving as the co-feature to Tavoris Cloud’s light heavyweight title fight with former lineal champ Jean Pascal, whom GYM also promotes.
When Dirrell paused at signing off on the bout, GYM went proactive. An expedited purse bid was requested – and granted – and the promoters also offered an undercard slot to George, with the promise that he would land the assignment against Stevenson in the event that Dirrell pulled out.
Michel’s instincts proved correct, though he was forced to settle for third-party information.
“The IBF called us saying that he pulled out of the fight. I was informed by (GYM matchmaker) Don Majewski that Dirrell’s people talked to the IBF and that he didn’t want the fight.”
George was offered the fight late last week, but all parties were given a gag order until it was confirmed that Dirrell was no longer interested in the fight.
“We received an e-mail late last week from a lawyer representing Andre Dirrell, informing us that their client would not be participating in the final eliminator bout with Adonis Stevenson,” stated Lindsay Tucker, IBF Ratings Chairman. “We have also received word that both Stevenson and George have agreed to face each other on August 11.”
The winner of the bout will become the mandatory challenger to Carl Froch.
Stevenson (18-1-1, 15KO) has won five straight fights – all by knockout – since suffering a shocking 2nd round stoppage loss to Darnell Boone more than two years ago.
A 1st round knockout win over Jesus Gonzalez earlier this year put the southpaw into the #2 spot in the IBF rankings, but has experienced several setbacks in securing a final eliminator bout. Before Dirrell, Stevenson watched a slew of contenders pull out of the fight.
George (22-2-1, 19KO) was the highest ranked opponent willing to take the fight. The Chicagoland fighter is coming off of a points loss to Edwin Rodriguez earlier this year on HBO. His all-action style usually makes for entertaining fights, which is precisely what Stevenson and his handlers expect.
“It is still a very good fight,” Michel believes. “Donovan George is a tough kid with a big punch. This is a good test for Adonis.”
The buildup has been a great test of patience for his entire team.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: @JakeNDaBox