ADONIS Stevenson’s last mandatory defense of his WBC title was on November 30, 2013. With no fight currently scheduled for the Haitian-born, Montreal-based champion, it is becoming increasingly likely that Stevenson, the WBC’s belt-holder at 175 pounds, will go a full three years without having to fight the first guy in line for his world title.
In Stevenson’s defense- no pun intended- negotiations with Sergey Kovalev went down the tubes after the Russian and his promoters withdrew from the purse bid ordered by the Mexico City based sanctioning body last April.
The blame game between promoters, networks, and advisors saturated social media and spilled out into the sports columns but the fans never got clear answers as to why Stevenson-Kovalev fell through.
“The WBC ordered a mandatory title defense last year against WBC Diamond champion Sergey Kovalev of Russia in what would be one of the biggest fights possible,” said the WBC in an official statement. “An agreement was not reached between the fighters’ representatives, but the WBC continues to fully support both parties in their continued negotiations for this super fight.”
Continued negotiations, they say.
Since Kovalev is tied up with Andre Ward, unbeaten Colombian Eleider Alvarez has been annointed as the mandatory challenger for the world champion. Like Stevenson, the slick technician calls Montreal his home and is also handled by promoter Yvon Michel and Al Haymon.
That said, as far as the WBC is concerned, the fight between Stevenson and Alvarez is done. “Alvarez is the mandatory to Adonis Stevenson,” said WBC chief, Mauricio Sulaiman. “GYM, who promotes both fighters, has informed [us] that the fight is set and will take place in November in Canada.”
Since the purse bid debacle, Stevenson has only fought twice. He took the Trans-Canada highway once – or maybe he flew- to Toronto to knock out the overmatched Tommy Karpency with a left hand in the third round and once to Quebec to knockout the overmatched Thomas Williams Jnr. with a left in the fourth round.
Alvarez has been a bit more active, fighting four times in the same time span. He logged a notable majority decision victory over Isaac Chilemba last November, which earned him that mandatory slot against Stevenson.
At any rate, you’d think a bout between two fighters living in the same town, promoted by the same promoter, and advised by the same advisor, would be relatively easy to pull off.
Apparently not. Two months after their joint card in Quebec, there is still no official date for Stevenson-Alvarez on anyone’s calendar. Coincidentally, there are also no Premier Boxing Champion dates on the calendar either.
“It’s only a matter of budget,” said Michel. “We reach the end of the fiscal year and the television networks reach the end of their financial resources. It is not impossible that the fight will be presented at the beginning of 2017.”