By Keith Idec, photo by Stephanie Trapp
Adonis Stevenson is the lineal light heavyweight champion, yet not as highly regarded as Andre Ward or Sergey Kovalev.
The WBC light heavyweight champion claims he is ready to change that perception. Stevenson told BoxingScene.com that he wants to fight the winner of the Ward-Kovalev rematch after facing Andrzej Fonfara in his own rematch Saturday night in Montreal.
“I want unification, to unify the titles,” Stevenson said. “I want the winner of Ward and Kovalev, to unify the titles. The fans want that. It’s been a while now and it’s time for 175 to have one king. I’m the king of the light heavyweight champions and I want all the titles in my hands. The fans want that, too.”
The 39-year-old Stevenson seems to realize he is running out of time to take the chance to prove his light heavyweight supremacy and that the timing for a full unification fight should align perfectly for later this year. Ward (31-0, 15 KOs), the IBF/WBA/WBO 175-pound champion, and Kovalev (30-1-1, 26 KOs) are scheduled to fight again June 17 in Las Vegas (HBO Pay-Per-View), just two weeks after Quebec’s Stevenson (28-1, 23 KOs) opposes Poland’s Fonfara (29-4, 17 KOs, 1 NC) again at Bell Centre (Showtime; 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).
The powerful southpaw also is well aware he has been the target of considerable criticism for embracing several title defenses against low-profile, optional opponents like Dmitry Sukhotskiy, Tommy Karpency and Thomas Williams Jr. over the past 2½ years.
“The fans want unification,” Stevenson said. “They want to see me and the winner of Andre Ward and Kovalev. That’s what the fans want. I want to give the fans what they want. Not only in Canada, people all over the world want me to fight the winner of Kovalev and Ward. This is a big fight and people all over the world want to see one champion.”
Stevenson isn’t sure who will win the Ward-Kovalev rematch.
“I think it’s 50-50,” Stevenson said, “but if it goes 12 rounds it will be a close decision and Andre Ward is gonna win the fight. If it don’t go the distance, Kovalev has power. But in a fight like that you never know. There can be a head-butt or something. You never know what can happen.”
Stevenson believes Ward won their first fight November 19 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Ward won by the same score on all three cards, 114-113, but the decision was considered controversial.
“I think Ward won the first fight because he finished strong,” Stevenson said. “He went on the floor, but he got up and he finished strong. That’s part of the match. It was good for Kovalev to send him on the floor, but Andre Ward finished the fight strong.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.