Superman ready to set flight
By Dave Spencer
Photo Herby Whyne
As the dust settles in the super-middleweight division after two years and eight boxers, the question remains now that the Super-six is over, who’s next?
Who will establish themselves as part of the next wave and push the established elite after the division has been picked clean of suitable challengers?
Montreal promoter Yvon Michel believes he has the cargo in Adonis Stevenson (17-1 14KO) who takes on Noe Gonzalez (28-1 20KO) at the Bell Centre tonight. He also believes he has the man to deliver the cargo in Hall of Fame trainer Emanuel Steward. While the nuts and bolts inside the ring will ultimately carry the day, Michel knows that long infiltrating reach of Steward inside the boxing world will contribute as much as anything to bringing his fighter to not only a possible championship level, but also to the big money of HBO and Showtime televised fights.
“The reason we’re doing this fight is because the winner will be a legitimate contender to anyone,” Michel told FightNews. “The reason it is on ESPN is because we want the world to see it, to acknowledge that Adonis deserves to fight against anybody and that a network like HBO or Showtime cannot say no because they don’t know him or are not aware of him.”
Michel knows that Steward amplifies any message he is trying to deliver. “Manny is not a rubber stamp,” says Michel of the Kronk Gym legend. "Everyone knows though when they see him dedicating himself to someone, it’s because that person means something. Before Adonis arrived at his gym in January, he had never heard of Adonis Stevenson. He took him from there putting all his reputation and credibility on the line and he is backing him up big big time. Anytime he is talking to a reporter or talking to a network executive, he mentions him. I saw an email to Kerry Davis at HBO to watch Adonis Stevenson tomorrow because he believes Adonis will be his 44th world champion.”
Steward is already building the knockout factor of the powerful southpaw and the excitement he generates. “He’s going to bring excitement to boxing,” said the trainer, “Unlike these guys who are trying to win decisions and take very little risk.”
But Michel knows that his fighter has to deliver if he is going to go from virtual unknown to overnight sensation. “ESPN is a window, it’s a good platform for them to be seen. It’s very important for them, the American people not only to hear, but to see it for themselves. If it is a spectacular fight or a spectacular win, it will make noise, much more noise than otherwise.”
But like any fighter, Michel realizes that they are judged like a chain, only as strong as their weakest link. That link for Stevenson is journeyman Darnell Boone, the only blemish on 5-1/2 year career that ended in a shocking second round stoppage. “He still suffering from that second round stoppage. Right now they are curious about him. Ron Katz the match-maker from New York believes he is fragile and will be knocked out. That’s why if he wins convincingly in a good fight, that will put that fight further down and help erase it.”
Stevenson who was nose-to nose at the weigh-in and doing his best to intimidate believes he will have no problem delivering his end of the bargain. “You’re going to see tomorrow, I’m going to knock Noe Gonzalez out,” Stevenson told FightNews. Noe Gonzalez at middleweight, what did he do? He didn’t do nothing. What he is he going to do now at super-middleweight, he can’t do nothing, and tomorrow I will show him. He’s a power puncher, I’m a power puncher too, I’ve got a better technique than him, I’m faster than him, any mistake he’s going to do, I’m not going to give him a chance. I’m going to show everybody in the United States who Superman is.”