Will The Real Adonis Stevenson Please Stand-Up?
By Joseph “The Mad Boxing Genius” Torres, Dog House Boxing (Nov 10, 2015)
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So you may be wondering why in the world I would bring up a song in a boxing article that came out 15 years ago.
Well, aside from it still being an awesome song, 15 years ago one of boxing’s most popular, albeit controversial, fighters was serving time for multiple charges that included prostitution management, assault and issuing threats. The Haitian-born Canadian citizen was clearly at the lowest point of his life at that time. If that wasn’t bad enough, he also didn’t have the best behavior while in prison as a scuffle he was involved led to a fellow inmate falling into a coma as reported by the Toronto Sun.
However when he was released in 2001, the man known as “Superman” refocused his life and started over. With the help of the late, great trainer Emanuel Steward, Adonis Stevenson became one of boxing’s best with hard work and dedication over the next 12 years that followed. And although Emanuel Steward unfortunately passed away before Stevenson could gain any real notoriety, the hall of fame inductee’s efforts eventually paid off in 2013.
In 2012, with a 3 fight schedule that year which culminated in 3 wins against Chad Dawson (KO 1), Tavoris Cloud (RTD 7) and Tony Bellew (TKO 6), Adonis Stevenson broke out as a major player in the light-heavyweight division and became the lineal, The Ring and WBC champ. He even won Fighter of the Year honors by this very publication on December 28th, 2013 by our very own head writer John Raspanti.
And moving forward, he had no shortage of opportunities to build on his legacy and earn some serious money at the same time. The light-heavyweight division was loaded with top talents such as Jean Pascal and Bernard Hopkins (not to mention all the talent that could potentially move up from super-middleweight). But of course, all boxing fans’ and pundits a like knew that the real test and financial payoff would be against fellow rising light-heavyweight star Sergey Kovalev.
It took 12 long, hard years, but Stevenson managed to turn his life completely around. To work so hard for a better life and grinding it out every day, shows real character, discipline and ambition. And if this is what we could expect out of Stevenson the man who not only managed to stay out of trouble but actually thrive since his prison stint, the question quickly became how far could this man as a fighter could go in this sport?
But, something happened. Something stalled, something went wrong that only his inner circle truly know about.
All the hard work paid off when Stevenson became the lineal light-heavyweight champion of the world. And in two short years after, Stevenson managed to get himself in a position where he is now on the verge of being one of the biggest disappointments in the modern day era.
As mentioned earlier, there was no shortage of opportunity when he broke out in 2013. But he bailed on a Superfight with Sergey Kovalev. He had the opportunity to make one of the biggest fights in Canadian history by facing Jean Pascal and he balked. He also had the power to make or break a fight with the living legend and future Hall of Famer Bernard Hopkins and he took a pass.
Instead, in the last two years he’s fought four virtual unknown or unheralded fighters.
Why is this? Was it business? Is he holding out on one huge payoff by making fans and pundits wait? Is he being controlled and told what to do by boxing’s own “Phantom of the Opera” in Al Haymon with whom he signed with? What’s the real story here?
How does a man with all the promise and the talent in the world, who worked 12 long, hard years and become someone who has the potential to be one of the greats, position himself on the verge of blowing it all in only 2 years?
And in the meantime, his arch rival Sergey Kovalev has taken on those who Stevenson chose to let fall by the wayside. Kovalev has mastered the master in Bernard Hopkins. He’s outgunned the quick, power punching Jean Pascal. And even now, there’s a plan mapped out for him to take on the returning undefeated, 2004 Olympic Gold Medalist and the lineal and WBA super-middleweight champion Andrew Ward in a fight for the ages. These are the opportunities one gets if they choose to be a fighter rather than a politician or a businessman or procrastinator or whatever it is Adonis Stevenson is doing.
So, did the fans and experts have it all wrong?
Maybe Stevenson isn’t the fighter we thought he was (or we wanted him to be). Maybe being a man of great character, great toughness and great ambition in real, everyday life isn’t the same as being a fighter of great character, great toughness and great ambition.
All I can say is that whomever the real Adonis Stevenson is, he better stand-up soon. Maybe he needs to be reminded that he's 38-year-old. Opportunities are being gobbled up by Kovalev.
Stevenson's not in a position to bide his time.
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