It seems every time Adonis Stevenson steps into the ring no one is concerned about the man he is fighting. They’re more interested in the next opponent. Perhaps that is because Stevenson has dispatched his last 10 opponents via KO or stoppage.
It is no different this time as Stevenson, the WBC light heavyweight champion, climbs into the ring against Andrzej Fontara at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada on Saturday night.
All the boxing fans are focused not on Fonfara, but on Bernard Hopkins, the IBF light heavyweight champion, who will be waiting for Stevenson if he gets past Fonfara, a Polish contender who now lives in Chicago. The light heavyweight unification match between Stevenson and Hopkins is one of the most highly anticipated boxing matches this year. And if Stevenson can convincingly beat Hopkins he will probably do what no one else has been able to do – send the 49-year-old into retirement.
Though Stevenson said he only wanted to talk about his upcoming fight against Fonfara, he let his mind wander into the future when he was asked about what would happen if he fought Hopkins.
“If Bernard Hopkins thinks he’s going to beat me, he’s going to be surprised,’’ Stevenson said. “Bernard never fights power punchers. Not only am I a power puncher, but I can box. I know what he’s doing. He’s a smart fighter. I know what he’s doing in the ring. He knows where to punch. He gives angles. When he’s going to fight a power puncher who is a boxer it’s different. I’m not Chad Dawson.’’
Hopkins fought Dawson twice. The first match ended in dispute after Dawson dumped Hopkins to the canvas and Hopkins injured his shoulder and said he couldn’t continue. Later it was ruled a no contest. Dawson won the rematch on a 12-round decision.
When Stevenson (23-1, 20 KOs) fought Dawson there was no controversy because Stevenson didn’t allow it go get that far. Stevenson knocked out Dawson in the first round win for the WBC light heavyweight title last year. Then he tore through the division like a Texas tornado, wiping out everyone in his path, including former light heavyweight champion Tavoris Cloud, whom Hopkins beat for the IBF title. Stevenson forced Cloud to quit on his stool after the sixth round.
Stevenson, a 36-year-old Haitian who lives in Quebec, is a natural power puncher and has single-punch knockout power. He calls himself “Superman’’ because of the explosiveness of his punches. Like the comic book hero, having that kind of power is a blessing and a curse. It certainly has put Stevenson in demand.
Before his last fight against Tony Bellew, everyone was focused on Stevenson fighting Sergey Kovalev, the WBA light heavyweight champion. But that deal is now on hold because Stevenson left HBO and signed a contract to fight on Showtime. Main Events, Kovalev’s promoter, has sued Stevenson’s promoter Yvon Michel, saying that he broke a contract for the Kovalev fight by allowing Stevenson to sign an exclusive deal with Showtime.
Whatever the outcome of that lawsuit, Stevenson has some bright prospects in his future. He can clean up the division, retire Hopkins and he can become the first undisputed light heavyweight champion since Roy Jones, Jr. in 1999.
With so much looming in front of him, it must be hard for Stevenson to concentrate on Fonfara (25-2, 15 KOs), the opponent that is right in front of him.
“No it’s not difficult. I’ve been there a lot of times. It’s not difficult for me to focus on Fonfara,’’ Stevenson said. “I’m going to be ready for him. Any training I do now is for Fonfara. I’m not going to be surprised. I will be ready for him. He’s going to come very prepared. I’m focused on him. Definitely I have to take care of him before I can do anything else. So, he’s very important.’’