Convicted Artist Magazine

Feb 07th
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adonis-stevenson-vs-tony-bellew11 below Centigrade in Quebec City, and Adonis Stevenson still lays in a bathtub full of ice.  That ice was the hardest thing he would be hit with that night.  Stevenson got what looked to be a fairly easy win over mandatory Tony Bellew, but it is actually more impressive than one might think, at first glance.  With Bellew, he finished off a bigger fighter, coming down in weight, while he himself is a smaller fighter, coming up.  He also finished a man who had not been finished before.  He also had to pursue his opponent, who was intent on countering.  This opened up the holes in his defense, to the point where one would think, if he was in there with a bigger puncher, he may in some trouble.

Sugar Hill said the right things, and Stevenson executed those requests.  Also, he continues to win in different ways, which always lends itself to a great year.  We now have 3 strong candidates for fighter of the year.  One of the other two, Sergei Kovalev, won in even more impressive fashion.  Like Adonis, he was outboxed for a small stretch, before putting it all together, to stop Ismayl Sillakh the second he opened up.  Sillakh is weak chinned, and fights terribly when hurt, therefore we did not get to see many rounds for Kovalev.  However, the explosiveness, as well as the durability he showed early, would have many picking him to defeat the reigning champion in Stevenson.

Krusher vs. Superman is the only fight that makes sense at 175lbs, but since Hopkins is due an optional, and Ward may finally be making the move up, it may get delayed.  Add to that, the Bute-Pascal match, which will likely add a big name, big money scalp for Stevenson in his home country.  It also does not bode well that Stevenson was calling out Carl Froch of all people after his win Saturday night.  Froch looked all but done against George Groves, and is not even a light heavyweight.  What happened to the Adonis who called out Hopkins and Ward after only 60 seconds of work with Chad Dawson?  

Superman is in a good position, but the fact remains he is quite a vulnerable champion.  He has explosive offense, and great movement now.  However, his chin is hardly iron, and he gets hit too much against opponents who are not scared.  He is likely to be caught by Kovalev at some point, who has annihilated as good of opposition this year as Stevenson, in even more dominant fashion.  Of the 3 fighters who have 4 wins this year, all by KO, Golovkin has the most hype, but his level of opposition has not been consistently high enough to earn fighter of the year.  He led off with two junior middleweight fringe contenders, and finished off two 'lower part of the top 15' middleweights after that.  

Stevenson had more top level scalps, but also led off with a journeyman win (albeit a revenge fight), and finished with a fringe contender.  For Kovalev, only his win over Cornelius White was a "gimme".  He fought and KO'd Campillo at a time when (if judges had eyes) the Spaniard would have been the WBA/IBF champion.  He also took out an undefeated beltholder in Cleverly, and a former blue-chip prospect in Sillakh, who had dominated everyone, including the only other fighter he had lost to.  One can make the argument for Stevenson's accomplishments being better, but his two biggest names: Cloud and Dawson, were coming off losses, and that taints it a bit.  Either way, these two have to get in the ring together, yet it is a risky fight for a man who has options, which makes me skeptical as to whether or not we will ever see it.

Chris Strait

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