By Keith Idec
Adonis Stevenson isn’t the least bit concerned about the long layoff he’ll end Saturday night.
The WBC light heavyweight champion hasn’t fought in nearly a year, not since pummeling Poland’s Andrzej Fonfara in their rematch June 3 at Bell Centre in Montreal. He also has turned 40 since stopping Fonfara in the second round.
Age and inactivity could be a troublesome combination for a boxer, particularly when faced with the type of challenge Stevenson will encounter against Badou Jack. Stevenson still is very confident that he’ll knock out Jack in their scheduled 12-round, 175-pound championship match at Air Canada Centre in Toronto.
Stevenson shrugged off his hiatus during the inaugural episode of ESPN’s “The Boxing Beat, with Dan Rafael.” The show debuted Tuesday night on ESPN+, the network’s new streaming service.
“It’s not a problem for me,” Stevenson said. “I’m always in shape, so, you know, I’m walking [around at] like 185 [pounds]. It’s not a problem. I’m still training, so it’s not a problem.”
Inactivity hasn’t noticeably impacted Stevenson’s performances since he won the title by knocking out Chad Dawson in the first round nearly five years ago. The Haitian-born, Quebec-based Stevenson (29-1, 24 KOs) has fought only eight times since he knocked off Dawson in June 2013.
The powerful southpaw has competed just twice since stopping Tommy Karpency in the third round of their September 2015 bout in Toronto. Yvon Michel, Stevenson’s promoter, also is convinced his fighter will perform well against the 34-year-old Jack.
“He’s the kind of guy that’s very dedicated and disciplined,” Michel told BoxingScene.com. “He’s in the gym all the time. If a fight’s signed or not, he’s in the gym. He will be ready. And he’s very motivated because he sees that a lot of people believe [Jack] is going to be his biggest challenge.”
Sweden’s Jack (22-1-2, 13 KOs) last fought August 26. He overwhelmed Wales’ Nathan Cleverly that night, when he stopped Cleverly (30-4, 16 KOs) in the fifth round to win the WBA world light heavyweight title on the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Conor McGregor undercard at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Showtime will televise Stevenson-Jack as the main event of a split-site doubleheader Saturday night. The telecast is scheduled to start at 10:05 p.m. ET with a scheduled 12-round battle between WBC featherweight champ Gary Russell Jr. (28-1, 17 KOs), of Capitol Heights, Maryland, and mandatory challenger Joseph Diaz Jr. (26-0, 14 KOs), of Downey, California, from MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.