For a man who claims he is the best light-heavyweight in the world, WBC king Adonis Stevenson has neither been overly active of late, nor has he been facing elite challengers. It seems we can totally forget about Stevenson and fellow 175-pound ruler Sergey Kovalev fighting, ever. It is a real shame that this, the biggest and best fight that can be made at light-heavyweight, appears destined to be filed under the, ‘what could’ve been’ section of the sport.
Kovalev moves onto a big fight with unbeaten boxing master Andre Ward, while Stevenson, 27-1(22) will face somewhat little-known challenger Thomas Williams Junior on July 16th. At age 38 and after defending the belt he won in such devastating fashion against Chad Dawson (that 1st-round KO from three summers ago really seeming an eternity ago now) six times, Stevenson may well have peaked. This could be good news for Williams Jr, 20-1(14) who is young at age 28 and a considerable step up from Stevenson’s last fight, a September stoppage win over Tommy Karpency (who, to be fair, upset Dawson to earn himself a big fight opportunity).
But will fans be happy with Stevenson’s next fight? Williams Jr is a good puncher and he is coming off an impressive 2nd-round stoppage win over Edwin Rodriguez. Winner of three in a row since suffering his only pro defeat – an upset corner retirement loss to the experienced Gabriel Campillo in August of 2014 – Williams Jr will no doubt be hoping he is catching the WBC champ at the right time. A southpaw like Stevenson, the challenger will be a considerable underdog in Quebec, but he is certainly not the worst title challenger Stevenson has faced.
The fight could catch fire and be an exciting slugfest. Stevenson has to be the pick to win of course, but age, and inactivity, could take their toll on a fighter who has had things largely his own way in his last couple of fights. And whatever happened to that return fight with Andrzej Fonfara, the warrior who pushed Stevenson so hard in a good action fight in May of 2014?