Over the last year, I’ve become acquainted with some of the biggest names in boxing’s light-heavyweight division, and it seems like this is the year where several of them will collide.
The possibility of a bout between Sergey Kovalev and Adonis Stevenson fell apart, but I still had hope the fight could be made due to fan pressure.
That’s not the case.
Stevenson’s promoter, Yvon Michel, made comments to numerous sources that Stevenson will most likely face Andrzej Fonfara in a rematch. This fight could change the scope of the light-heavyweight division.
When these two first met in 2014, Fonfara fell behind early, but came back strong. It was a great fight that extended both fighters’ stock.
Fonfara has come a long way in two years. I observed him in his camp for Cleverly and he looked like a supremely conditioned machine. His fight with Cleverly broke light-heavyweight records for punches thrown and punches connected. His conditioning is off the charts. He is a very big light heavyweight. I think his size and added physical conditioning is going to give Stevenson big problems the second time around.
Fonfara and Stevenson will probably fight in May or June, but I think that Fonfara is the wrong fight for Stevenson. He could have had a monster payday against Kovalev, but he is going to make less money against Fonfara, and I think there is a good chance that Fonfara will beat him. He has holes in his defense, but he is a better athlete today than he was two years ago. Stevenson on the other hand is nearing 40, which doesn’t help him.
Kovalev has an initial contract to face Andre Ward in November, but there’s a chance that the wording of that contract allows various loopholes, especially for Kovalev.
Paper contracts have lots of conditions, which usually allow the A-side fighter to opt out of the contract. Kovalev is the A-side of this pairing. If Fonfara defeats Stevenson, Kovalev could always push his meeting with Ward back and face Fonfara instead. The problem is that Fonfara is also a Showtime fighter, which means that we would have the same network problems that are keeping Kovalev and Stevenson apart.
If Kovalev faces Ward in November as planned, I think Kovalev takes him. But who’s next after that? I’m betting on Fonfara to take the title away from Stevenson, but we may still have a divide in titles within the light-heavyweight division going into 2017.
It’s enough to really make you dislike the business of major TV networks. Come on HBO and Showtime, give the people what they want.