Stevenson ready to go green?
By Dave Spencer
Photo Herby Whyne
With the talk of the natural rivalry with fellow Montrealer and IBF champion Lucian Bute still continuing, hard-hitting Adonis Stevenson and his team have opened up their options of “going green” on this Earth Day weekend. With the usual rabid media contingent trying to get their questions in, Stevenson’s promoter Yvon Michel was forced to answer from a slightly different source Friday night.
“What would happen if Ward vacates the title as he said he might do? What would happen then?”
Under normal circumstances, such a question might illicit murmurs or groans seeing as the promoter had just addressed it moments earlier, but seeing as the man with the microphone was Hall of Fame trainer Emanuel Steward, Michel was given every courtesy to address the query, just in case the gathered masses missed it the first time.
“It means that Adonis will be fighting Anthony Dirrell for the vacant title,” said the promoter, reiterating what he had just said.
Andre Ward who also owns the WBA title at 168 was thought to be penciled in for a June 2nd date in his hometown of Oakland California and has not officially abdicated the WBC belt, but he has all but assured he won’t be facing his mandatory challenger in the younger Dirrell brother. “I don't have a lot of interest,” Ward recently told Sports Illustrated, “I consider Anthony a good fighter, a brother. But the networks won't be interested." It should be noted though that today’s L.A. press conference for the Bay area fight does not include the Super-six winner in what is already a stacked card.
“Right now we have to play a bit of waiting game before scheduling his next fight,” said Michel who also has his hands tied waiting for a possible IBF elimination fight and an eventual shot at Bute.
Given their druthers, it would be presumed that Stevenson and his GYM promoters would rather have a single shot at a title than a two-step to the IBF with no idea where Bute might be in a year’s time.
“By being (WBC) silver belt champion, if ever the WBC belt becomes vacant, he would be chosen along with Dirrell to fight for the vacant title,” said Michel.
With Bute fighting at the end of May and Ward a week later, there is nothing to do for Michel but hurry up and wait. “He’s in the position everywhere now. Emanuel has had several conversations with his partners at HBO. It’s a not a thing right now whether or not there is interest there. With these last two performances, Adonis’s name will be on any list to fight against any of their champions.”
Of course it takes two to tangle, but it would be presumed that if Stevenson is ready for prime time, so would any potential opponents. Anthony Dirrell fought his way to mandatory stature by beating another powerful Montreal southpaw, Renan St-Juste on the main event of Showtime’s ShoBox series and has also like Stevenson, headlined on ESPN.
If Stevenson goes the IBF route, he will also likely match-up against a TV friendly opponent. Undefeated Edwin Rodriguez was featured last month on HBO in his win against Don George has the inside track as the boxer right behind Stevenson in the rankings.
Also pushing a possible match-up versus Rodriguez is that he promoted by Lou DiBella, someone Michel has partnered with many times in the past. The pair currently co-promote Joachim Alcine and have been responsible for such fights as Allan Green versus Sebastien Demers and Hermann Ngoudjo against Paulie Malignaggi. They also co-promoted former world champion Leonard Dorin together.
“We’ll see what we have to do next,” said Michel. “We know on that side that on May 28, two days after the Bute-Froch fight we’ll receive a letter from the IBF asking if Adonis is free to enter into a contest for the number one position. If he is already involved in another fight, we will miss that opportunity.”