Adonis Stevenson: Man and Superman

By Paul Magno on May 17, 2018
Adonis Stevenson: Man and Superman
Boxing, even under the best of circumstances and situations, is a circus of the macabre.

It’s okay to acknowledge both sides of Adonis Stevenson. It’s even okay to acknowledge, maybe, the ugliest of all realities…

“Man is a rope stretched between the animal and the Superman—a rope over an abyss.”—Friedrich Nietzsche

Boxing, even under the best of circumstances and situations, is a circus of the macabre, a collection of men and women willing to fight their way out of poverty and others who are eager to exploit those efforts.

There are no saints anywhere near the boxing business. At some point or another, everyone involved in the sport has blood on their hands— this is something that real boxing people understand and come to accept on at least some level. There is no moral high ground in fighting for profit and even less room for moral indignation when buried in the shady business dealings that make up the infrastructure of the sport.

And because boxing walks the seedy perimeters of polite society, the sport will always be full of thugs, crooks, gangsters, wannabe gangsters, and the sleazy human pilot fish that grab at the scraps of flesh that hang from the teeth of the real beasts. Even the purest of boxing souls burns red with an almost obsessive desire to overcome something.

Adonis Stevenson, lineal light heavyweight champion and WBC belt holder, is not all that much different from many who have found themselves attracted to the dog eat dog world of big time prizefighting.

Depending on which account one reads, the Haiti-born Canadian resident was either a ringleader in a human trafficking operation or merely hired muscle in a prostitution ring almost two decades ago in his adopted home province of Quebec.

Convicted and sentenced to four years in prison, Stevenson would only serve twenty months for his crimes and, upon release, continue to pursue his boxing dreams, eventually working his way up to 2013 Fighter of the Year status and a reputation as one of the most entertaining fighters in the game.

Stevenson’s brutal crimes against women were briefly chronicled in a 2014 Grantland piece by Bryan Curtis and reveal the true nature of what Stevenson had actually done.

All on public record and easily accessible, the bloody tale of beatings, broken bones, knife play, and forced fight-‘til-you-drop boxing matches for “his” girls was a revelation to many boxing fans, who rarely venture beyond the info peddled by the sport’s mainstream press. Up until the Grantland piece, the most fans got about Stevenson was that he had done prison time for being a “pimp.”

The boxing media’s omission of any and every ugly detail of this story was not entirely a coincidence, either.

In boxing today, there’s a silent, implied conspiracy between the press and the sport’s power brokers to cheerlead, promote, and cast aside anything that may hurt business. There are no overt marching orders from boxing’s heavy hitters to the media—and there really don’t have to be any. Compliance and cheerleading come natural to the boxing media’s young guns.

Unlike many of the old-time scribes who grew up in the game and alongside its colorfully rotten cast of characters, the modern boxing writer has, for the most part, served no apprenticeship in the business. They have accumulated knowledge with no expertise via the long, cold reach of the internet and are buried in trivia knowledge at the expense of first-hand experience.

Entirely educated by what they’ve seen on TV, the new breed of boxing writer will scoff at the idea that corruption is a real and persistent thing in boxing. These mostly upper middle-class kids attracted to the sport by the allure of macho fantasies and an almost hopelessly idealized concept of what a fighter should be—even those who write well and come across as reasonable, intelligent people—tend to instinctively shy away from the truly dark side of the sport.

A fight can’t be fixed. A judge can’t be bought. A ring hero can’t be a brutal beast. To dip their toe into the abyss is to acknowledge that the abyss exists and that, maybe, not everything in boxing is about noble spirits and gallant, selfless warriors. To acknowledge this is to acknowledge the fact that what they know is, really, not a lot.

But, in boxing, the bad guy often wins and, sometimes, the good guys aren’t very good people at all. The best and most gregarious of good sports can really be a foul, ugly beast behind closed doors; the arrogant villains can sometimes be good, humble family men. Boxing is a sport of extremes and its characters are human beings raised on the fringes of society and far, far away from the well-fed middle class pleasantries known by the sport’s media.

The modern boxing writer has not been able to deal very well with this dichotomy of character in the sport he covers and has become almost belligerent in not messing with anything that serves as a buzzkill to his naive romanticism.

These days, the major roadblock to reform in the sport comes from this reluctance to “ruin” the boxing facade by dwelling on the dark and complicated.

This is also the reason behind the boxing world being the last to know about Adonis Stevenson’s sins.

As a fighter, Adonis “Superman” Stevenson, at his best, is a joy to watch. Heavy-handed and bursting with self-confidence, he walks through opposition and crushes their will. One can almost see his opponents’ spirit shrinking in the face of the onslaught, slowly falling to pieces in the presence of a fighter with an almost supernatural will to dominate.

As a man, Adonis Stevenson is a wretched, pitiful beast who has never truly made amends for his sins nor even expressed real remorse for what he did. Twenty months in prison is nowhere near “paying his dues to society.”

It’s okay to acknowledge both sides of Adonis Stevenson. It’s even okay to acknowledge, maybe, the ugliest of all realities—some of what made Stevenson a feared and successful thug is also what makes him a feared and successful fighter.

The story of Adonis Stevenson isn’t one of black and white, movie of the week, redemption. It’s the story of a man who used brutality to force women into a life of virtual slavery and, frankly, to this day, doesn’t seem too torn up or repentant about any of it. Stevenson’s story is also the story of a talented man who can do tremendous things in the ring and has earned his spot among the elite of the sport.

Both stories should be told. In the real world of boxing, neither cancels out the other. And, really, that’s okay.

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  1. DaZone 07:48am, 05/24/2018

    This article should read Adonis: everything that is wrong with PBC and the Haymon and approach to disincentivizing fighters. He has literally taken a star and turned him into a laughing stock

  2. Ollie Downtown Brown 09:32pm, 05/19/2018

    raxman… No problem. I always check the results of boxing or MMA bouts before I see them.  I would have checked it out while checking some MLB scores. haha.

  3. raxman 09:13pm, 05/19/2018

    Ollie DB - oh no! Sorry for the Spoiler

  4. Ollie Downtown Brown 09:11pm, 05/19/2018

    raxman… I always catch the fights on Youtube. I am just surfing around the net before I drop off for a nights sleep. Yep, Haiti is a beautiful island and has a lot of potential but the leadership there just ain’t cutting it. All the natural resources in the world and beautiful weather to boot. Nice talking with you. Take care.

  5. raxman 08:59pm, 05/19/2018

    Ollie DB - That’s what I meant Baby Doc….papa doc jnr? WTF! I need to put the Denis Lehane book down and start reading some history/bios again. Poor old Ripper in yet another draw huh? Good talk. Peace.

  6. Ollie Downtown Brown 08:53pm, 05/19/2018

    raxman… I believe “Baby Doc” was in charge back then. I was going back and forth from ‘83-‘85.  Remember we could get someone to drive us around all night for 5 bucks. Really wasn’t helluva lot to do there but drink Prestige beer, go to “The Rum Factory,” for free samples of rum, go to “The City Club,” a cat house, or “The Royal Haitian” casino. I hated pulling in there. The only place worse or more boring was Gitmo aka Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

  7. raxman 08:27pm, 05/19/2018

    Ollie DB - jesus Haiti in the 80s was that still Papa Doc jnr? My history on that part of the world is rusty. and yes thought it was Dostoyevsky but didn’t want to risk saying it and shooting my point in the foot if it was one of the others. Anyway our man Jack is coming back strong in the 10th!!!

  8. Ollie Downtown Brown 08:21pm, 05/19/2018

    @raxman… My bad, sir, I shouldn’t throw that label around so carelessly, my sincere apologies. I think the writer you are referring to is Fyodor Dostoevsky. Corrupt and sadistic prison guards, prisoners being raped, our prison system is straight out of Dante’s Inferno and someone needs to fix it. Our Constitution states something along the lines about cruel and unusual punishment not being tolerated, and prisoners should be allowed to do their time without worrying about being killed, raped or maimed for life.  Certainly not everyone in prison is Ted Bundy and they deserve to do their time in relatively humane conditions.  Everyone can make mistakes and it is relatively easy for ANYONE to wind up behind bars, especially now. But there are certain crimes that are more heinous than the others. Hard for me to excuse this guy when you consider all the lives he ruined along the way. One could easily make the same excuse for Charles Manson who spent his most of his life in and out of reformatories being raped and beaten. I would say that this guy growing up in Haiti probably didn’t view pimping as that bad. However, I would bet you a sawbuck that Manson had a much rougher upbringing. I was in Port-au-Prince many times in the 80’s and I can vividly remember every time our ship docked, there would be a little kid on the pier selling candied apples and asking sailors if they wanted to see his sister. The kid said it as if he was asking if you wanted to see his puppy or new bike.

  9. raxman 07:07pm, 05/19/2018

    Ollie downtown - I’m about as far from left as you can get without being a fascist. But having done time in my 20’s, I don’t believe 20 years on you should be held accountable for actions then. He paid his debt. Now if he was pulling this shit now i’d agree with everyone. But he was a kid when he did this stuff. A kid with no support. Think about yourself at 14 then imagine yourself with none of the stuff you had. No love, No home, No hope. This guy turned his life around. he should be commended for it, not castigated. He got out of jail at 23 and swore he’d never go back. As some Russian writer said you can judge your society by its prisons and our prisons - America, Canada, Britain, Australia are really not set up to rehabilitate, they’re for punishment,  but if we take that as a given then again how impressive is AS for turning out a better person then when he went in.
    BTW i’m hoping on a Jack win, not out of hate for Stevenson, just love the Ripper

  10. Kid Blast 10:07am, 05/19/2018

    Don’t some of you guys like Eric, etc. get tired of using different screen names? Just asking because it really is annoying. I agree with snowflake but it would help to know who he really is.

    Just saying….

  11. The Go-Go's 10:02am, 05/19/2018

    Balaamsass has the beat.

  12. Kid Blast 07:13am, 05/19/2018

    Fe’Roz has the beat

  13. Ollie Downtown Brown 06:20am, 05/19/2018

    raxman: BTW, I loathe Tony Soprano types as well and I have posted about that as well. People that prey on the weak and defenseless disgust me to no end, whether they be corporate thieves, crooked politicians, judges, lawyers, cops, FAKE NEWS,, etc.,  and especially pimps and child molesters. Just don’t offend the critters by calling these POS, “animals.”

  14. Ollie Downtown Brown 06:15am, 05/19/2018

    raxman: Oh go cry me a river, leftoid. My dogs were offended a couple of days ago when President Trump called MS-13 gang members, “animals.” Hell, my dogs, haven’t eaten or slept since then. I called up the White House and voiced a complaint on behalf of all “animals.” I am an animal lover and that remark was over the top. I mean while I don’t like rats, even rats are part of the ecosystem and benefit our community in some ways. Even pond scum might contribute more than MS 13. So Trump needs to stop offending animals and plant life by identifying them with murderous, vile, parasitical, demonic spawn of Satan trash like MS 13. Anyone, and that includes “Superpimp” that victimizes helpless women and GIRLS deserves what he gets

  15. Balaamsass 06:11am, 05/19/2018

    @Ms nonperson-“NO ONE DISMISSES ME”! That line could have been written for Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction!

  16. nonprophet 05:20am, 05/19/2018

    @Baboon-ass…. English!!!! Write in ENGLISH!!! you meth-addled, crack-faced primate. Nobody speaks “baboon” here…except yo momma…. and she can’t even understand you.

  17. raxman 12:43am, 05/19/2018

    he did his time so you should pull your heads in. he doesn’t owe you self righteous lot anything more than that. and how do any of you know what’s truly in his heart and what he uses as persona to sell a fight? what he uses to offset his opponent. Mike Tyson raped a woman. And had a rep of no respect for women before that yet I don’t remember any of you carrying on about him the way you do Stevenson
    We live in world where a 14 year old refugee child falls through the cracks and ends up on the street. He was 22-23 when he left that life behind - half his life ago. And just because he wont publicly come out and shame himself with mea culpa he has to put up with the constant judgement from you guys, most of whom consume crime novels and probably watch shows cheering on walter white and tony soprano but the real deal turns you all holier than thou? how about trying to walk a mile in this mans shoes - no actually walk a mile in his 14 year old street kid shoes before you judge him because for me it matters less what remorse he voices for others gratification and more about how he has lived his life since - I imagine the recidivist rate in Canada is similar to Australia and given he belonged to a gang its amazing that he was able to stay out of jail, especially in those years before he made it as a fighter.

  18. Balaamsass 09:10am, 05/18/2018

    interchangeable with homophobia!

  19. Balaamsass 09:04am, 05/18/2018

    @Ms nonperson- “No one dismisses me”! SNAP! Goddammit! SNAP! The code is finally broken! You’re a female! Not just a male with gender issues….but an honest to God female…more than likely a member of the LGBT community….but nevertheless a female! This isn’t about racism at all….this goes back to my post about Oscar’s cross dressing! All of these dog vomit green hateful diatribes because you believe I’m a gay basher! I should have known…. in modern gay parlance racism has become interchangeable with racism! FYI I am not a homophobe/racist and you are no longer dismissed!

  20. Ollie Downtown Brown 07:16am, 05/18/2018

    Rorschach? I love that character. With all these lame superhero movies coming out, Rorschach, if done by the right person, would make a cool movie. For one thing, he has no superpowers, so that is a plus, and he has a cool mask. Speaking of vigilantes, didn’t some Hollyweird clown do a remake of the classic, “Death Wish,” and blaspheme Charles Bronson by having Bruce Willis play, Paul Kersey? Charlie probably rolled over in his grave on that one.

  21. snowflake 07:07am, 05/18/2018

    Is balaamsass Rorshach from The Watchmen? Serious question

  22. Ollie Downtown Brown 06:12am, 05/18/2018

    Define the Lev Bronstein aka Leon Trotsky MANUFACTURED construct, “racist?” Speaking of being brainwashed. Serial killer and cannibal, Jeffrey Dahmer was offended when reporters asked him if he was a “racist” since a lot of his victims were people of color. Dahmer had no problem being identified as a psychopathic serial killer who ate his victims, but he was horrified at the thought of being labeled a “racist.”

  23. nonprophet 05:09am, 05/18/2018

    No one dismisses me baboon-ass.  But I do know that you’ve had to change your handle because nobody liked you when you were “Irishwhathefuk”.... Guess what baboon-ass, you are disliked even more.  Even your baboon-faced mom can’t stand you…you remind her too much of herself whenever she looks at your pug ugly mug.

    Face it baboon-ass you are a petty little racist who has absolutely nothing to contribute to either this boxing forum or society in general. 

    You want to know why I am back?  I’m here to fuk with you.  So keep on drinking your hooch, smoking your meth, boning the family dog, and posting your racist bullshit.

    I’ll be here to put you in your place,  I’ve got my boot up your ass bitch.  Now bow and down lick them clean of your feces.

  24. Balaamsass 08:09pm, 05/17/2018

    @nonperson-You were dismissed….what the fuk are you doing back here beclowning yourself once again with your childish name calling! You don’t see where anything is going, in fact you don’t see anything and you don’t know anything! The first thing that anyone with a soul should think about when looking at that fukin’ muzzle is how a fourteen year old runaway girl would feel when she is being terrorized, brutalized and finally destroyed by that vile creature!

  25. nonprophet 04:03pm, 05/17/2018

    @jackass oops, I mean “balloon-ass,” opps, I mean,,,,whatever…  Anyway quoting you here:

    “More than that he is the ugliest fuker in boxing….take a good Goddamned look at that muzzle and without self censoring yourself…..what is the first thing that comes to mind?”

    I see where you’re going with this one “baboon-ass”.

    Here’s your answer ...

    without self censoring…..

    ......your mother.

  26. thrashem 01:54pm, 05/17/2018

    Anyone know what Bla-bla-mass is talking about? Take another hoot on your crack pipe fido! We are trying to talk boxing, not interpret psycho babble from some nut bar.

    Don’t know why Chickenson won’t fight Kovalev. He was at ringside when Kovalev kicked the crap out of the obnoxious Jean Pascal. Why show-up at all, if you’re not interested? Who is keeping this from happening? If you are great, why duck anyone, show you are the best! Don’t believe Chickenson is a walkover for any light heavyweight. He is a counterpunching lefty with thunder in that hand. He didn’t develop that from smacking around women. If you want to be the best, fight the best!

  27. snowflake 11:33am, 05/17/2018

    Which “modern boxing writers” are you talking about? The ones I read almost fall over each themselves to remind us about the criminals, degenerates, parasites, bigots, corrupt actors, and ordinary scumbags that 7 up the cast of characters and hangers-on of the boxing world, as well as the disgusting alphabet shenanigans, embarrassing athletic commission double standards, and on and on. And of course the permanent damage to the bodies and brains of the men and women who are its lifeblood. It’s a fringe sport with an outdated regulatory framework and this is what you get when you combine lots of money with no oversight. I don’t know anyone who follows the sport who isn’t at least a little ambivalent about it.

    Stevenson’s title reign has been a complete joke and he only has himself to blame that he’s regarded as such. The stuff outside the ring sucks, as it did for a certain other famous fighter of his generation, but most of us watch this sport to see who the meanest dog is, not the nicest guy. He’s got power but I’ve suspected for a while that Kov probably breaks him down and Ward hugs him out. He could have been a legend but he prefers to call out people he’s already beaten. Hopefully Jack beats him down and get a late stoppage. If not he keeps it up as long as people are willing to pay for it. For the most part I’m not, but at least he’s in with a live body this time.

  28. Balaamsass 10:03am, 05/17/2018

    Stupid Utopianist Fux want to fundamentally transform this great nation.In other words take over and control every Goddamned thing! Do you know how fukin’ long that shit would last if you did? About two Goddamned minutes! That’s how fukin’ long it would take for your paradise on Earth to become New China all the way to the Rockies and maybe beyond and everything to the east of that would be New Russia! Slavery?! You’d find out about that shit right quick….because that’s the only use your new masters would have for you shit for brains fux! Either that or possibly as the main ingredient in Soylent Green or some such!

  29. Ollie Downtown Brown 08:14am, 05/17/2018

    I agree that James Scott should have never been allowed to box from inside prison. Karma came along in the form of Jerry Martin and Dwight Qawi and put the old toad back behind bars to rot away for a few more years away from the spotlight. Ironically, James Scott’s nickname was “Superman” as well, along with “The Great Scott.” The thing with Scott was he maintained his innocence. Yes I know everyone in prison is innocent, but who knows? A man wrongfully convicted of murder spent 33 years behind bars before being freed. He was awarded a paltry 1.8 million dollars as if that would ever compensate for his suffering and losing the prime years of his life.  As mentioned earlier, a pimp is the lowest of the low, and as mentioned earlier, many of these toads are child molesters as well. I could respect someone like Scott long before I would respect some pimp scum and/or a demonic spawn of Satan child molester. Hopefully someone will knock “Superman” senseless soon.

  30. Lucas McCain 07:16am, 05/17/2018

    Odd you should mention James Scott.  I believe he recently died, suffering from dementia despite his abbreviated career.

  31. thrashmu 06:58am, 05/17/2018

    In the late 70’s light heavyweights were going into Rahway State Prison to fight a man called James Scott to validate their boxing credentials with this thug. What the hell was that all about? Were there no respectable, credible, ranked boxer/fighters out there? To me, this was honouring criminals for their murderous behaviour???

    At least Stevenson was out of prison to carry on a normal life. Legalized violence of boxing for money is the best game in town. Plus , you are not far away from the real criminals which run the show. He has the best of both worlds.
    He is one of the most powerfully built light heavyweights in the division and a southpaw. Kovalev called out “Chickenson” but he never bit? Do bullies, not like the taste of of their own blood? Still waiting for this moment!

  32. wiley 04:43pm, 05/16/2018

    Great article. Thanks for clearly saying what needed to be said about Pimponis Chickenson

  33. Ollie Downtown Brown 08:11am, 05/16/2018

    Well written piece. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

  34. Balaamsass 07:36am, 05/16/2018

    More than that he is the ugliest fuker in boxing….take a good Goddamned look at that muzzle and without self censoring yourself…..what is the first thing that comes to mind?

  35. Balaamsass 07:27am, 05/16/2018

    Drug dealers and pimps destroy lives….that’s just how they roll….they are soulless sub humans and they cannot be rehabilitated only eliminated…they are truly the scum of the Earth no different than murderers, rapists, and child rapists, in fact child raping is part of the pimp’s job description…..they are truly the scum of the Earth and the French koklix up in Canada that cheer for this evil fuk are beneath contempt!

  36. Kid Blast 06:54am, 05/16/2018

    Superpimp has shown little if any remorse for his pimpitry, but The Ripper can beat him if he takes him into the late rounds where the thug’s age and attendant stamina becomes a factor. Jack, however, must avoid the BIG left hook because that is a real game changer. Very interesting fight. Does The Pimp grow old overnight and/or which Jack shows up—the one that beat Cleverly or the one that stunk against DeGale?

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