In front of a lively and
sizable throng at the Colisee de Quebec in Quebec City, Quebec, Canada, the duo
of Sergey Kovalev and Adonis Stevenson put on a display of power-punching that
was both impressive and awe-inspiring this past Thanksgiving weekend. Kovalev, the
co-headliner on this HBO broadcast, took care of Ismayl Sillakh - considered a “live”
dog by some (OK; OK, admittedly that was me) - in two rounds and Stevenson
dispatched the ballsy Tony Bellew in six heats.
Instead of getting two
competitive prizefights, we got exhibitions in physical dominance. These two
didn't so much defeat Sillakh and Bellew rather than hammer them into
After a relatively
successful first round that saw him boxing and moving around the ring, Sillakh felt
Kovalev’s concussive power in the second round from a thudding right hand,
sending the Ukrainian crashing to the canvas. At this point, he wasn't so much
in Quebec City but on Queer Street and was never able to fully regain his
bearings as Kovalev finished him off just a few seconds later with a finishing
salvo from that sent Sillakh sprawling across the bottom rope.
It was a scary display of
power from Kovalev who has burst onto the scene in the past year since signing
on with Main Events. He has quickly built his profile as one of the most
fearsome power-punchers in the sport.
As for “Superman,” Bellew
believed he was going to be Stevenson’s Kryptonite but he was no match for his
athleticism and accuracy. “The Bomber” attempted to lure Stevenson in by timing
and counterpunching him but was still consistently beaten to the punch by the
faster Stevenson, who ramped things up late in the third round by finding the
range with his lethal left. From that point on, Stevenson asserted his
dominance by darting in and out of range and pinpointing his power shots. In
the sixth, a left sent Bellew to the floor, dazed and unsure of just how he got
into this prone position. After getting up from this knockdown, he was then hit
with another series of lefts that had him knocked out on his feet in the
corner, where he was rescued by referee Michael Griffin.
And just like that, both
Kovalev and Stevenson put finishing touches on strong 2013 campaigns, where
they both made strong cases for “Fighter of the Year” honors. Stevenson fought
four times this past year, gaining revenge on Darnell Boone (KO 6), destroying
the remnants of Chad Dawson in one, putting Tavoris Cloud out of his misery in
seven and then Bellew. Likewise, Kovalev also had a quartet of outings which
saw him halt Gabriel Campillo in three innings, dominate Cornelius White in
three, bludgeon Nathan Cleverly in four and then Sillakh.
It wasn't just so much that
these two were active and won but how they won. They didn't just notch victories but became must-see TV and made you
want to see them again and again.
And now, hardcore fight fans
would like to see a light heavyweight showdown between Stevenson and Kovalev.
Yeah, there might be some other big names (such as Bernard Hopkins and Jean
Pascal) out there but name me a better pure donnybrook (yes, I just said “donnybrook”)
than this pairing.
But oftentimes the wants and
needs of the consumers are overlooked and flat-out ignored by the power brokers
who rule the sport. The bottom line is the only one that really counts. The
unfortunate reality is professional boxing is first and foremost a business.
And in times like this, business interests will supersede the yearnings of the
public. The reality is Stevenson is now an attraction in Montreal, Quebec (http://www.maxboxing.com/news/promo-lead/michel-speaks-of-the-growth-of-superman)
and when HBO’s Max Kellerman asked in the post-fight interview whom Stevenson
would like to face next, the answer was Carl Froch and Hopkins. This was met
with a collective groan in the Twittersphere and certainly incited a mixed
reaction from inside the arena.
Due to his newfound drawing
power and the fact he is represented by a promotional firm in GYM that can
survive and subsist without HBO subsidies, Stevenson is in a position where he
can dictate his own dance card. HBO may want Stevenson-Kovalev and certainly Main
Events (which handles the Russian wrecking ball) yearns for that fight but
ultimately, that call will be made by Stevenson and Yvon Michel. The latter has
made it very clear; if HBO is willing to fork out the type of license fee they
did for Andre Ward-Edwin Rodriguez ($3.15 million), this fight could come to
Like a Gennady Golovkin, Kovalev
finds himself on the negative side of the risk/reward quotient. He's simply too
dangerous for his own good and is in a position where he'll have to continue to
carve out his niche with activity and consistent exposure. He's more than
willing to face Stevenson in Montreal because quite frankly, he really has no
choice in the matter.
But I ask you again; can you
name a more appealing match-up than Stevenson-Kovalev in the 175-pound class?
It says here it's currently one of the top five fights you can make in all of
Kovalev wants Stevenson.
Unfortunately, Stevenson may not necessarily need Kovalev.
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