A press release was sent out on Monday morning alerting the media that the fight between WBC light heavyweight champion, Adonis Stevenson and Andrezj Fonfara will be formally announced on Thursday. This event will take place on May 24th in Montreal. What wasn't mentioned was which network would be televising this bout. For the longest time it was assumed that HBO -- which has shown Stevenson's last three outings -- would be broadcasting it.
It was part of a two-prong deal which would have had Stevenson facing Sergey Kovalev( who takes on Cedric Agnew this weekend on HBO from Atlantic City) in the fall, provided they both won their upcoming fights.(http://www.maxboxing.com/a-prelude-to-nothing) But sources have told Maxboxing that Showtime has made an offer for this fight and included in this deal is an opportunity to eventually face Bernard Hopkins, who takes on Beibut Shumenov on April 19th.
While Stevenson was thought to be an 'HBO fighter' what the network really retained was is known as a 'matching rights' or 'right of first and last refusal' with the hard-hitting southpaw.
"What that means is you negotiate with them first, that's the first part,"explained an industry insider, who is familiar with such deals."And then they're (in this case, Stevenson's camp) free to go off and try and find a better deal somewhere else and then if they find one, they bring that deal back to you( HBO) and then you have the right to match it."
At that point, once HBO is presented with a written offer they has seven days to decide on what they will do. That window is said to expire on Tuesday. There are some who believed that HBO's plan was doomed from the time Stevenson signed a deal with the highly influential Al Haymon (who has been basically persona non-grata on the network since last year, save for an appearance by Edwin Rodriguez against Andre Ward).
But while it's easy to blame Haymon, the reality is that the fighter himself has always seemed a bit hesitant when it came to facing 'the Krusher' and has always stated his preference to take on Hopkins.