By Sean Crose
Adonis “Superman” Stevenson may well have been one of the most criticized men in boxing over the last year or so.
Fans and analysts alike (this author included), have taken their shots at the lineal light heavyweight champ’s seeming reluctance to fight an opponent of real note. After all, Sergey Kovalev, Jean Pascal and Bernard Hopkins were all in line to face the Canadian slugger, but none of those bouts came to fruition.
Stevenson has also, unfairly, been criticized for his criminal past. Nothing good comes from that sort of thing, of course. Stevenson – literally – did time for his crimes and has come clean, so why be onforgiving about it?
Boxing, after all, makes for great redemption stories: just take a look at convicted rapist Mike Tyson circa 2015.
With this in mind, it’s worth noting that Stevenson recently took part in serving the homeless at a local soup kitchen in the lead-up to this weekend’s bout with the awkward and challenging Sakio Bika. “In what has become a tradition before his fights at Pepsi Coliseum,” a press release stated, “Stevenson served food at La Maison de Lauberivière, a local shelter and soup kitchen for homeless men and women.”
The more cynical of boxing fans may take this as a publicity stunt, but then again, when NBA players make much out of such community service, no one questions it. Sometimes it’s good to take such things at face value. Stevenson, like so many boxers, came from humble origins, after all. Sometimes it’s just nice to see people give back.
That being said, Stevenson can’t be so kind this coming Saturday in Montreal. Bika, 35, may be moving up in weight, but the guy has a very nice 32-6-3 (21 KOs) resume for himself. In fact, Bika’s only lost to top level competition. In today’s record-obsessed fight scene, six loses may seem like a lot. When those losses come to names Like Ward, Dirrell, Calzaghe, and Bute, however, they seem a lot more understandable.
“I expect a really long fight,” Stevenson admitted. “Bika has never been stopped and when he lost, it was always against world champions. He is tough and he has heart. He was also a world champion. I will have to be patient, fast and move out of range to win,” says the graduate of the Kronk gym in Detroit and pupil of the late, great Hall of Fame trainer, Emanuel Steward.
If there’s ever been an indicator of Stevenson’s toned down lifestyle, it’s his training period. Speaking of his new gym, Stevenson claims there’s more to like than just its convenient location. “It will also allow me to spend more time with my kids and family,” he says. “I want to help the kids in the gym, too.”
“After training, we go back to his home,” says Stevenson’s new trainer, Javan “Sugar” Hill, “which is only a couple of minutes from the gym, where he stays relaxed and enjoys playing on his computer.”
The best way for “Superman” to endear himself to fans once again, however, will be for Stevenson to finally get it on with the ferocious Kovalev. Stevenson says he wants the fight, which has now more or less been ordered by the WBC. By putting his name on a contract to fight fellow champ Kovalev, Stevenson may quickly find all animosity forgotten.
First, though, the Haitian-Canadian has to get past Bika, which may not be as easy as everyone and his brother seems to think it is.
Bika throws hard, with all his weight. Indeed, to watch the man fight is kind of like watching someone chop down a tree. This bout, simply put, has the potential to be exciting.
This can prove good for Stevenson in more ways than one, as the fight will be the main event of Premiere Boxing Champion’s maiden voyage on CBS. It’s been a long time since the network has regularly shown boxing on Saturday afternoons.
Stevenson has the potential here to earn himself a bevy new fans if he not only wins, but does so in thrilling fashion.