Will Superman Bite?

By Marc Livitz on February 16, 2018
Will Superman Bite?
The “too many champions, too many belts” argument will still remain a hot talking point.

Adonis Stevenson is now 40 years old and has yet to accept the challenge, for whatever reason, to unify the division the way Terence Crawford did last year…

Many of us were delighted to see one of the world’s top pound-for-pound fighters, Terence Crawford, unify the super lightweight division last August. His third round stoppage win over Julius Indongo meant the Nebraska native now had in his possession all four of the recognized championship titles, each of which is tied to a major sanctioning organization. It also means more money is shelled out, of course to defend a title which one had to win in order to earn. It can be dumbfounding, to be sure, and the “too many champions, too many belts” argument will undoubtedly remain a hot talking point.

Some are content to give credit to the one individual within the division who holds the ‘Ring Magazine’ title. The red, white and blue one like Rocky Balboa had. What’s the idea behind so many sanctioning bodies? Many will easily admit that where one stops, another one continues. If one group can’t get what they want, when they want it and how they want it, then they often move on. As long as they’re sure to remember to use the letter ‘B’ in the middle of their acronym, then we’re good.

Onward to the main talking point we’ll now move. On March 3, Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (31-2-1, 27 KO’s) will defend (though likely destroy as no betting odds currently exist) his WBO world light heavyweight title against Igor Mikhalkin (21-1, 9 KO’s) at the Madison Square Garden Theater in Manhattan. Sharing the night’s card at “The World’s Most Famous Arena” will be current WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol (12-0, 10 KO’s), who will face the crafty and slick Cuban expatriate, Sullivan Barrera (21-1, 14 KO’s). In the main event, we get two Russian fighters, while the co-main event equals ‘side B’ of the Cuban Missile Crisis. In any case, Sergey Kovalev is likely the best light heavyweight in the world. His two defeats of course came against Andre Ward in November of 2016 and last June. Each contest with the now-retired Ward is memorable for more than just a few reasons.

First off, although the two contests matched two of the planet’s absolute best talents, few seemed to care. Ticket sales were forgettable in terms of business, as were pay TV totals. As it was, neither man had the charisma, rap sheet or perhaps flashy side of them which would have enticed more fans to buy into the matchup. In late 2016, Ward prevailed via an onion thin unanimous decision. The bout was that close and it really looked like the best fighting the best.

The rematch was even worse. Even less gave a dead cat’s ass about it and fewer tickets were sold for a smaller arena. The pay-per-view totals were poor as well. This time, Andre Ward won by eighth round knockout, thanks to shots at or near the equator. We’d say that we don’t like to see bouts end in such a fashion, but not many were watching, so there you have it. A few months later, Ward abruptly retired. This move left most of the light heavyweight titles floating in the boxing ether. All but one.

Ward’s retirement allowed Kovalev to capture the vacant WBO title last November by knocking out Vyascheslav Shabranskyy in two rounds. Dmitry Bivol holds the WBA crown, though it’s not the ‘super world title’ vacated by Andre Ward. Lastly, Artur Beterbiev grabbed the IBF’s version of the vacant championship when he knocked out Enrico Koelling in the twelfth round of a fight he thoroughly dominated on ESPN. What of the WBC title?

Whether by pugilistic dominoes or mandatory assignments, Kovalev must push to fight either the winner of the Bivol/Barrera contest which takes place an hour or so before he pummels Igor Mikhalkin or the holder of the coveted WBC light heavyweight crown, a certain competitor who calls himself “Superman.” Adonis Stevenson is now 40 years old and has yet to accept the challenge, for whatever reason, to unify the division the way Terence Crawford did last year. As we saw when Crawford captured the IBF and WBA titles late last summer, he did so against a man who looked as if he had no business being the same ring with him. Julius Indongo didn’t last three rounds. This is not to suggest that Adonis Stevenson (29-1, 24 KO’s) is running scared or that Kovalev or even Dmitry Bivol would crush him in a unification bout. It’s only an idea that those in charge could perhaps take a look at how it’s done. It’s not done very often, so it’s quite easy to find.

Stevenson is set to fight Badou Jack “The Ripper” on May 19 in his adopted homeland of Quebec, Canada. In the thirty fights which currently make up his boxing ledger, only two have occurred outside of the region. He’s gone one up and one down in the United States. The lone loss of his career came nearly eight years ago in Maryland against Darnell Boone, a defeat he avenged three years later.

Ultimately, the site of a unification class contest doesn’t matter, yet it may be clear that Las Vegas, the self-proclaimed “Boxing Capital of the World,” is so hit-and-miss that somewhere else may fancy such a clash. Just ask Sergey Kovalev and Andre Ward. As previously mentioned, they had two fights and shockingly, few paid it any mind. Both were in Vegas.

Make it happen, please. The ones who care will watch.

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  1. don from prov 06:11am, 02/17/2018

    Ooops! I meant John, Ringo, George, and The Krusher with Eastern mystics

  2. tlig 05:52am, 02/17/2018

    Bivol may be the best of them all; quite a number of boxing observers believe Badou Jack ducked him by dropping the WBA title soon as he picked it up. Stevenson shouldn’t really be in a discussion about unifying, to be honest. It’s clear - and has been for a while - he has no desire to face tough challenges.

  3. don from prov 05:34am, 02/17/2018

    Did Kovalev really spend time with monks?
    I don’t always know when you are kidding, Ted—


    The image is pretty funny but interesting too.
    John, Ringo, George, and The Pimp with Eastern mystics.  I like it anyway.

  4. don from prov 06:49pm, 02/16/2018

    Kovalev “might” be the best LH still fighting today, but his team certainly seems hesitant to match him that way.  Stevenson?  His mission has appeared for quite some time now to avoid tough challenges. 
    Why expect that to change?  Maybe money would do it.

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