By Keith Idec
Three years after their fight fell apart a second time, the war of words between Sergey Kovalev and Adonis Stevenson continues.
Kovalev, bothered by Stevenson’s claim earlier this week that Kovalev never wanted their light heavyweight title unification fight, fired back during an interview with Sky Sports.
“He talks trash!,” Kovalev told Sky Sports for a story that posted to the network’s website Thursday. “He can say whatever he wants, but whatever comes from his mouth is trash. I don’t believe anything he says. He is a bullsh*tter. To say and something are two different things. He didn’t back up his words before.”
Stevenson (29-1, 24 KOs) will end a nearly a one-year layoff Saturday night. The 40-year-old WBC light heavyweight champion will defend his title against Badou Jack (22-1-2, 13 KOs) at Air Canada Centre in Toronto.
“I hope Badou Jack beats him and gets his title,” Kovalev said, “because he’s more motivated and busier than ‘Chickenson.’ ‘Chickenson’ manages to keep his belt somehow. It’s strange and I don’t understand it.”
Russia’s Kovalev, the WBO champion, still wants to fight for Stevenson’s title. That has a better chance of happening, according to Kovalev, if Jack wins their scheduled 12-round fight (Showtime; 10:05 p.m. ET).
“If Jack wins, it will be easier to make a fight, I hope,” Kovalev said. “[Oleksandr] Gvozdyk is the interim champion, also, and I want him to get a shot. He deserves to be the WBC champion.”
The 35-year-old Kovalev (32-2-1, 28 KOs) is scheduled to defend his title against Colombian southpaw Eleider Alvarez on August 4 at the new Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Atlantic City (HBO). Alvarez (23-0, 11 KOs) has been the mandatory challenger for Stevenson’s title for 2½ years, but jumped at the chance to challenge Kovalev.
Momentum for a Kovalev-Stevenson fight was strong early in 2014, but the hard-hitting champions went in different directions due in large part to network and management affiliations. Fans and media mostly sided with Kovalev in that instance.
Kovalev later became the mandatory challenger for Stevenson’s title, but his promoter, Main Events, withdrew from a scheduled purse bid in April 2015. Kovalev went on to lose to Andre Ward twice in HBO Pay-Per-View fights.
Stevenson will make the ninth defense of his title against Jack, who is considered the toughest opponent Stevenson has agreed to fight since he stopped Chad Dawson in the first round to win it in June 2013.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.