Stevenson aims to stay a light heavyweight "Superman"
WBC's 175-pound champion makes Showtime debut with Saturday night title defense against Andrzej Fonfara in Montreal
Adonis Stevenson doesn’t begin every conversation with a boast.
But if you provide him a chance to declare his place among the highest-profile 175-pound boxers in the world, the Haitian-turned-Canadian is far from reticent to do so.
“Hell yes, I’m the kingpin of light heavyweights,” he said gleefully Tuesday, when asked if he enjoyed his position as the knee-jerk “call out” of nearly every wannabe rankings climber in the division.
“I’m the Ring magazine and WBC world champion. I beat the man. I’m the man.”
And if things go as planned on Saturday night, he says he’ll remain the man.
Stevenson will risk his standing as the World Boxing Council’s head honcho at 175 for the third time when he faces No. 3-ranked contender Andrzej Fonfara at the Bell Centre in Montreal.
The 26-year-old Fonfara is three inches taller at 6-foot-2, has had four more pro fights (28 to 24) and is 10 years younger than the champion, but he’s gotten little pre-fight love from odds-makers at VegasInsider.com – who’ll require a $1,600 bet to recoup $100 on Stevenson, while $100 on Fonfara will reap an $800 reward.
Stevenson is No. 1 in the division according to the U.K.-based Independent World Boxing Rankings, while Fonfara, who held the International Boxing Organization’s (IBO) title in 2012, is slotted 14th.
The fight tops a three-bout card to be broadcast by Showtime beginning at 9 p.m. ET.
It’s a brave new stage on which to perform for the fighter known as “Superman,” who was himself a hungry contender just 12 months ago – before a memorable June 8 encounter with Chad Dawson.
Stevenson dropped the then-reigning champion with a single left hand barely a minute into the bout, prompted a stoppage from referee Michael Griffin upon Dawson’s shaky rise and ultimately finished the year with commendation as 2013’s top fighter from no less an authority than Sports Illustrated.
“I knocked him out in 76 seconds. Who knocks out the man, the kingpin, at light heavyweight in 76 seconds? No one,” he said. “You don’t see that. I bring the light heavyweights excitement.
“There is a new king, and it’s me, Adonis ‘Superman’ Stevenson.”
The wave-off of the Dawson fight triggered a celebratory romp around the Bell Centre ring that ended with Stevenson dropping to his knees for his post-fight interview, where he was eventually joined by HBO’s Max Kellerman.
His first two title defenses – which ended in stoppages of Tavoris Cloud (TKO 7) and Tony Bellew (TKO 6) – were also shown on HBO as would-be appetizers for a unification with World Boxing Organization (WBO) champion Sergey Kovalev, but Stevenson changed course and hired Al Haymon as his adviser in February, then took his business instead to HBO’s signature premium-cable boxing rival.
With Showtime, he’s lined up for a shot at Bernard Hopkins, who claimed the World Boxing Association (WBA) share of the 175-pound turf with a defeat of Beibut Shumenov last month in Washington, D.C.
Kovalev called Stevenson a “piece of sh*t” on HBO’s air after he kept the WBO title with a defeat of Cedric Agnew in March, and Stevenson showed just a fraction more respect on Tuesday for the 49-year-old Hopkins – whom he refers to as “Grandpa.” Kovalev, incidentally, was labeled “Frankenstein.”
“I’m very hungry. I’m in the right place. Anybody that’s at 175, I’m ready,” he said.
“Frankenstein Kovalev, Grandpa Hopkins. I can name everybody. I want everybody.”
Weekend Watch List
ESPN2 -- Friday, 9 p.m.
Brian Adams vs. Willie Monroe Jr. -- 10 rounds, middleweights
Fernando Carcamo vs. Petr Petrov -- 10 rounds, lightweights
Showtime -- Saturday, 9 p.m.
Adonis Stevenson vs. Andrzej Fonfara -- WBC light heavyweight title
David Lemieux vs. Fernando Guerrero -- 10 rounds, middleweights
Jermell Charlo vs. Charlie Ohta -- 12 rounds, junior middleweights
Fox Sports 1 -- Monday, 8 p.m.
Rene Alvarado vs. Rocky Juarez -- 12 rounds, featherweights
KeAndre Gibson vs. TBA -- eight rounds, junior welterweights
Ryan Karl vs. Wilbert Mitchell -- four rounds, welterweights
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