By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Yvon Michel couldn’t quite believe what he was reading.
As Adonis Stevenson’s promoter perused a poll of reporters’ predictions on the Stevenson-Badou Jack fight, he had to make sure his eyes weren’t deceiving him. Re-reading it confirmed that nine media members picked Jack to beat Stevenson and only two predicted Stevenson would win Saturday night in Toronto.
Michel assumes Stevenson’s age and inactivity are among the reasons most of those experts expect Jack to win the WBC light heavyweight title from Stevenson. The 40-year-old Stevenson hasn’t fought in almost a year, not since he stopped Poland’s Andrzej Fonfara in the second round of their rematch June 3 at Bell Centre in Montreal.
According to Michel, those disadvantages won’t stop Stevenson from knocking out Jack in a fight Showtime will televise from Air Canada Centre.
“People will realize that Adonis is 40 years young,” Michel told BoxingScene.com. “He’s in tremendous shape. He has a boxing IQ much better than people think. Badou Jack might be the bigger guy. But he’s not the better puncher and he will realize it, like everybody, the first time he gets hit by Stevenson. He will say, ‘Wow! This is a nightmare!’ I believe it’s going to be a spectacular fight. It’s going to be good, but I don’t think Jack will last more than five, six rounds.”
Stevenson (29-1, 24 KOs) is listed as only a very slight favorite over the 34-year-old Jack (22-1-2, 13 KOs) by most Internet sports books (-150).
Las Vegas’ Jack, a native of Sweden, has won the WBC world super middleweight title and the WBA world light heavyweight crown since suffering his lone loss four years ago. That devastating defeat was a first-round technical knockout to Derek Edwards, though, and Michel is certain Stevenson is a much stronger, better fighter overall than Edwards (27-8-1, 14 KOs).
“Adonis is the best boxer in the division,” Michel said. “He’s the most dangerous boxer in the division. He hits like a heavyweight.”
Showtime will air Stevenson-Jack as the main event of a split-site doubleheader set to start at 10:05 p.m. ET. In the opening bout, Gary Russell Jr. (28-1, 17 KOs) will defend his WBC featherweight title against mandatory challenger Joseph Diaz Jr. (26-0, 14 KOs) at MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.