It was back in June of 2013 when Adonis Stevenson shocked and stunned defending WBC light-heavyweight ruler Chad Dawson, sensationally taking the crown inside a round. Stevenson, a wickedly powerful southpaw banger, looked set for a thrilling reign as world champ; maybe with big unification fights to come.
But, despite “Superman” engaging in some exciting fights, Stevenson has let some people down with his choice of opposition – former champ Dawson especially. Since the crushing win over “Bad” Chad, Stevenson, 28-1(23) has defended his belt an impressive seven times, yet a good number of his retentions did not come against elite opposition.
Tavoris Cloud and Tony Bellew (both stopped in 2013) are decent enough names on Stevenson’s title fight resume, but guys like Sakio Bika (a super-middleweight) and an over-matched Tommy Karpency don’t exactly shine or stand out.
In fact, it could be argued that Stevenson has not beaten a better fighter since the title win over Dawson. Dawson sure thinks so, as he made clear when speaking with the Montreal Journal ahead of his must-win fight with former Stevenson foe Andrzej Fonfara. Dawson goes as far as to claim Stevenson is “not a real world champion.”
“Stevenson is not a real world champion. He has only beaten B-category boxers since he got his title,” Dawson, 34-4(19) told the publication. “When I owned his belt, I had faced all of the top fighters at the time. I have never taken easy fights. That has not been the case with Stevenson since he beat me. I believe the WBC also has some of the blame in this story. This sanctioning body should have forced him to face his mandatory challengers within a reasonable time. Stevenson could have faced [Sergey] Kovalev, but we know this fight will never take place. The same goes for [Andre] Ward.”
So, is Dawson right in what he says, or is he guilty of having sour grapes over the bad defeat he suffered at the hands of Adonis? Maybe it’s a bit of both. Certainly Stevenson could and should have faced Kovalev by now, in a fight fans have asked for for many months. And will Stevenson, who turns 40 this September, ever face the likes of Ward and Artur Beterbiev? It seems doubtful.
Amazingly, despite his crushing defeat to Stevenson, it could be well argued how Dawson was a better champion than his successor has been. Dawson did defeat the likes of Bernard Hopkins, Tomasz Adamek, Antonio Tarver and Glen Johnson in world title fights. No way does Stevenson’s resume rank alongside Dawson’s. Is Stevenson’s reign destined to end up being remembered as an ultimately disappointing one?