By Jake Donovan
Multiple sources have informed BoxingScene.com of a mid-summer light heavyweight championship bout brewing between defending divisional king Adonis Stevenson and second-generation contender Thomas Williams Jr.
The bout is targeted to take place July 16 at a yet-to-be-disclosed location in Quebec, Canada, as part of a night where there will be live back-to-back boxing action on both free-to-air Fox and cable giant Showtime. It is unclear as to which network will air the bout as this goes to publish, as all parties involved declined official comment until an official announcement is ready to be made.
Stevenson (29-1, 22KOs) will attempt the seventh defense of the World (lineal) championship he claimed in a one-punch 1st round knockout of Chad Dawson in June '13. He has not fought since a 3rd round stoppage of Tommy Karpency last September.
The 38-year old southpaw has forever been linked to what remains a mythical matchup versus unbeaten, unified light heavyweight titlist Sergey Kovalev, with the two sides having spent more than two years unsuccessfully reaching terms that can bring such a fight to fruition.
With the inability to land a unification clash with Kovalev, Stevenson was supposed to next face mandatory challenger Eleider Alvarez. However, as both are promoted by Yvon Michel's GYM Promotions and advised by Al Haymon, an arrangement was made where they will instead appear i separate summer bouts - and now possibly on the same show - with designs of the winners squaring off in a bout down the road.
Alvarez (19-0, 10KOs) earned a mandatory title shot following a close and somewhat disputed 12-round nod over Isaac Chilemba in their final eliminator last November in Quebec City. The unbeaten Colombian-born boxer - now based in Montreal - has spent all of 2016 waiting on the fight to materialize, but instead agreed to an interim bout. He was slated to return on June 4 in Quebec City on the undercard of stablemate and fellow unbeaten light heavyweight Artur Beterbiev.
However, there has since come the suggestion that the 32-year old will now face Chad Dawson, whom Stevenson iced in one round to win his title three years ago. The suggested matchup would land as the co-feature to Stevenson-Williams Jr., with the winners to meet in the fall if such plans materialize.
In the meantime, Williams Jr. (20-1, 14KOs) will enter his first career title fight, having come full circle after being within a couple of wins from contention just two years ago.
The 28-year old southpaw from Ft. Washington, Maryland was a hot contender on the rise before watching an intended showcase fall apart at the seams. The son of the former heavyweight by the same name was boxing well versus former champ Gabriel Campillo before suffering a cut and ultimately handed the lone loss of his career by injury stoppage after five rounds on ESPN2 Friday Night Fights.
Three straight wins have followed for Williams, including a pair of thrilling back-to-back 2nd round knockouts.
Williams and Rodriguez were both involved in all-action shootouts in separate bouts on the same Spike TV-televised card last November. Rodriguez overcame two opening-round knockdowns to score three of his own in a 3rd round stoppage of previously unbeaten Michael Seals. The tone for the evening was set in the televised opener, when Williams traded opening round knockdowns with Humberto Savigne before stopping him in round two.
The pair of highlight reel knockouts led to a head-on collision in primetime on free-to-air Fox this past April. Nobody – including the two combatants – believed the fight would go very many rounds, with each boxer fighting accordingly. Williams eventually got the best of the action, outslugging Rodriguez before sending him to the canvas for a 2nd round stoppage win.
The bout was billed as an unofficial audition for the winner to move on to a title fight. Neither boxer claimed to pay any attention to such stakes, but whatever pre-fight promises were made have now materialized.
Jake Donovan is the managing editor of BoxingScene.com. Follow his shiny new Twitter account: @JakeNDaBox_v2