By Jake Donovan
Promoter Yvon Michel has confirmed that this Friday’s scheduled super middleweight eliminator between Adonis Stevenson and Donovan George is officially postponed.
The bout was set to headline this season finale of ESPN2’s Friday Night Fights, but was scratched after Stevenson suffered a hand injury in sparring over the weekend.
“[T]he title fight between IBF elimination Adonis Stevenson and Donovan George, to be held this Friday, Aug. 17 at Buffalo Run Casino Miami, Oklahoma, is postponed to a later date in Montreal this fall,” Michel noted in a statement.
“They say lightning never strikes twice in the same place but it's wrong! Adonis was wounded in the left hand this weekend, in sparring, as it happened to Jean Pascal a few weeks ago. The injury is not major, they are diagnosed with a contusion, but the inflammation is too important to medically clear the fight.”
The ‘lightning strikes twice’ reference is in regards to GYM Promotions having to pull the plug on a planned August 11 SHOWTIME card in Montreal. Pascal suffered a similar injury in withdrawing from his light heavyweight title challenge against unbeaten Tavoris Cloud.
The eliminator between Stevenson and George was to serve as the evening’s headliner, but was moved to the Friday Night Fights headliner – and the United States - once the need arose.
George’s handlers are searching for a suitable replacement, though it could prove to be a tall order on such short notice. It’s doubtful that the bout will still carry sanctioning as a title eliminator, though the IBF refused to comment on the situation until able to gather all of the facts and officially hear from both camps.
GYM Promotions hopes to reschedule for October, which would give a stellar headliner for an already planned show in Quebec.
Both the date and the IBF super middleweight mandatory slot appear to be cursed. The original ESPN2 Friday Night Fights season finale was a super lightweight bout between unbeaten contender Karim ‘Hard Hitta’ Mayfield and Mauricio Herrera – a fight that was spawned once Herrera was in need of an opponent after an injury suffered by Brandon Rios killed his plans for a July 7 appearance on HBO.
Herrera was forced to withdraw from his fight with Mayfield after suffering an injury himself. Mayfield was also injured shortly thereafter, thus killing his own search for a new opponent after being medically advised to take three weeks off from training before returning to the gym.
The super middleweight eliminator between Stevenson and George appeared to be the perfect fit for the ESPN2 closer. However, sanctioning for that specific ranking has proven troublesome, dating all the way back to George being yanked from a card in Mexico hours before his scheduled eliminator with Librado Andrade after a breach in contract over the agreed-upon ring size.
Plans to reschedule the fight were scrapped after George agreed to face Edwin Rodriguez on HBO. Andrade remained in the hunt, but removed himself from the mix over concerns of inactivity prompted him to pass on a proposed fight with Stevenson. Andrade wound up losing a proposed tune-up against Rowland Bryant, with the shocking knockout loss putting his career in a tailspin.
Stevenson saw a series of opponents reject the fight, including Andre Dirrell who agreed to taking the fight but preferring to wait out a purse bid. Dirrell ultimately (and predictably) balked, leaving the door open for George.
Now the August 17 date and the IBF top super middleweight spot still remain vacant.
The absence of a mandatory challenger makes it less troublesome for defending champ Carl Froch to navigate as he pleases. Talks are in place for a rumored November bout with Thomas Oosthuizen, though the two sides appear wide on money at the moment. The November stay-busy bout is important, as Froch also has in queue a guaranteed March ’13 rematch (barring injury, of course) in Montreal with Lucian Bute, whom he wiped in five rounds this past May.
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: @JakeNDaBox