by Sean Crose
Quebec-based light heavyweight Adonis “Superman” Stevenson (24-1, 20 KOs) doesn’t fight respectable competition.
It’s that simple. He doesn’t and he quite possibly never will again. The lineal light heavyweight title and a supposedly lucrative deal with Showtime seem like they just might be enough for the man.
They’re certainly enough for boxing’s new breed of fans. These individuals, who are all about the paydays, can be found on the Internet right now praising Stevenson for having “cashed in.” Indeed, it’s these people who appear to now make up Stevenson’s fan base.
I used to think that Stevenson’s boxing audience could be a lot bigger. Now, I’m not so sure.
Now I’m starting to wonder if Stevenson is really all that good. Oh, there’s no doubt he’s good in the conventional sense. I’m just starting to wonder if he’s good enough to compete in today’s stellar light heavyweight division.
Perhaps, just perhaps, Stevenson is ducking quality opposition for reasons other than those of a financial variety. Let’s take a closer look at this possibility, shall we?
For starters, the man has refused to get in the ring with Sergey Kovalev, Bernard Hopkins and fellow Quebecer Jean Pascal, the other top fighters at light heavyweight. All three men have wanted a piece of Stevenson, but Stevenson made it clear he wasn’t interested in facing a one of them.
Instead, the guy called Superman chose to fight the widely unknown Pole Andrzej Fonfara, who came close to beating him, and the even more widely unknown Dmitry Sukhotsky, who is custom-made for Stevenson’s style.
Now, let’s take a look at Stevenson’s record. There’s no doubt the guy can pack a wallop, with 20 knockouts and a KO ratio of 80% on BoxRec. Who exactly has Stevenson walloped, though? Chad Dawson was unquestionably a big fish, but he had previously been demolished by Andre Ward.
It’s now worth wondering – if not arguing – that perhaps Dawson was already “on the way down” when he faced Stevenson back in 2013. As for Stevenson’s 19 other knockout victories, well, you’ve probably never heard of most of the fighters they were against.
Sure, you could say Kovalev hasn’t exactly faced the brightest stars in the galaxy himself – and you’d be right to say it. Here’s the thing, though: Kovalev hasn’t spent this past year headed for the hills. He’s spent it looking to prove he’s the best light-heavyweight out there.
Again, what is Stevenson afraid of? He might be making good money with Showtime, but isn’t it safe to assume he’d make even more money facing big names? Perhaps it’s stamina that has Stevenson and his camp worried. Most top fighters have stamina to burn.
Yet Stevenson’s last outing, against Fonfara, presented the world with a winded Superman. What’s more, Stevenson recently took a video of WBC heavyweight champion Bermaine Stiverne zonked out in an eatery after the two were reportedly out on the town. That sort of thing isn’t exactly indicative of a monastic fighter’s life. Partying saps energy: that’s a fact that’s been proven too many times to count, both in and out of the ring.
Also, is it just me or does it sometimes look like Stevenson can pinch more than an inch?
It’s worth repeating that Stevenson is most certainly a quality fighter. The man has decent movement, a sharp jab and a left that can crumble the Great Wall of China. On the other hand, what happens if someone takes that left away? Stevenson is fast, but not lightning fast. It’s also worth keeping in mind that Stevenson doesn’t have the world’s greatest chin.
Are these things keeping Stevenson away from the biggest threats . . . or is the man just lazy?
The verdict is still out.
PS: Stevenson’s promoter say he’s looking for big fights in the future. I’ll believe it when I see it.