Stevenson to pursue Interim title
By Matt Cassavant
Photo Herby Whyne
It’s been quite a rollercoaster ride of late for super middleweight contender Adonis Stevenson (19-1, 16KOs). After the 35 year old Stevenson was supposedly assured of fighting for the IBF title held by Carl Froch (30-2, 22KOs) next time he entered the squared circle, sanctioning body politics are likely to delay those plans.
In a Montreal press conference today, Yvon Michel, (Stevenson’s promoter), tried to clarify where exactly Stevenson stands with the IBF following the latest turn of events. Michel explained that confusion over the IBF’s rules regarding unification fights & exemptions was the source of the misapprehension. “There was a loophole in the IBF rules and regulations,” stated Michel. An oversight that seemed to genuinely take the long time boxing promoter by surprise considering Michel was getting ready for an IBF purse bid between he and Froch’s promoter Eddie Hearn, this of course prior to the Kessler-Froch rematch being agreed to earlier in the week.
The unification fight between WBA beltholder Mikkel Kessler and IBF champion Carl Froch has been “tentatively agreed to” according to an email by IBF president Daryl Peoples, (copy of the email was handed out to the media by Michel). In order for the clash to be formally approved, the IBF has set forth 6 conditions that both the Froch and Kessler camp must respect (Here are the 4 most relevant):
1. The bout must take place by April 27, 2013
2. The contracts for this bout must be submitted to this office in 14days or by Tuesday January 29th, 2013.
3. The contracts must not include any clause that will interfere with the mandatory defense of the Super Middleweight title.
4. Both boxers must agree in writing that they will fight the IBF mandatory within 90 days of the April 27, 2013 bout.
Lost yet? Hang on there’s more, as of right now the reported date for the Kessler-Froch rematch to take place is set for May 25th which obviously is in conflict with the first condition. Also it’s been rumored that Kessler has been granted a rematch clause in exchange for agreeing to fight Froch in his home country of England, a potential violation of the IBF’s 3rd condition. If these conditions aren’t met the belt is expected to be vacated giving Stevenson (the IBF mandatory) his deserved title shot.
However, with all these conditions in place, Yvon Michel nevertheless petitioned the IBF to grant Stevenson the opportunity to fight for an “interim title” probably protecting his veteran fighter from being forced to wait on the sidelines in case Froch gets to keep his IBF belt. The prospect of Froch or Kessler ever agreeing to face Stevenson, a fighter who’s risk to reward ratio is obviously deemed too high, are slim to none. A notion that Michel seemed to acknowledge: “The probability seems very low that they fight Adonis.”
Considering Froch might be tied up in the foreseeable future facing opponents such as Kessler, Andre Ward and Lucian Bute, an interim title might be a more realistic goal for Stevenson. Although of course if the IBF holds true to their conditions the title could be vacated, but let’s not forget sanctioning bodies make their living by taking a % of a fighter’s purse and the millions of dollars involved in a Kessler-Froch fight plus the potential dollars that would emerge from an interim title fee is a considerable amount to neglect. After all don’t other sanctioning organisations such as the WBA have multiple titleholders?
The IBF has traditionally been careful in foraying into the business of multiple titles, according to Michel the IBF has only granted 3 interim titles in its history but based on the exceptional circumstances surrounding Stevenson’s predicament, the IBF might be inclined to grant Stevenson the interim title opportunity.
Yvon Michel anticipates a ruling from the IBF in regards to the interim title in the next few days. If an interim title opportunity does emerge, than Michel would have to negotiate with the next top ranked IBF fighter which currently is Edwin Rodriguez, who is promoted by Lou Dibella. Michel told the media that he would like for Stevenson to fight this upcoming April. All we can say is stay tuned...