Adonis Stevenson ‘focused’ on Andrzej Fonfara, not Bernard Hopkins
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RING and WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson insisted that he is not looking beyond Saturday's defense against Andrzej Fonfara to a potential unification bout with IBF/WBA counterpart Bernard Hopkins during a media conference call on Tuesday.
The 36-year-old southpaw predicted a knockout of Fonfara — minus a game plan — at Bell Centre in Montreal on Showtime.
"I don't know what his style is. I'm going for the knockout. Knockouts sell. I want to knock him out. I don't have a game plan or this or that," said Stevenson, who signed with powerful advisor Al Haymon in February.
"I'm very focused on Fonfara. I'm not overlooking him. I know that he's waiting and that he's training for this fight. I go one fight at a time… I'm going to get into the ring and I'm going to knock him out. I'm prepared for this fight, so I'm not thinking about losing or if I lose. I'm here, I'm a champion, and I'm going to end this by knockout. I'm not concerned about that. I'm ready to fight."
Stevenson (23-1, 20 knockouts) is 13-1, with 13 knockouts in his past 14 fights, and has stopped 10 consecutive opponents since being knocked out by Darnell Boone in April 2010. Stevenson went 4-0 last year with successive knockouts of Boone, Chad Dawson, Tavoris Cloud and Tony Bellew.
In victory over the 6-foot-2 Fonfara (25-2, 15 KOs), the 5-11 Stevenson hopes to set up a potential showdown with the 49-year-old Hopkins, who was in action last month with a majority decision victory that added Beibut Shumenov's WBA belt to the IBF title Hopkins already owned.
A winner of 15 straight, 12 of them by stoppage, Fonfara was last in action during December's second-round knockout of Samuel Miller that followed a ninth-round stoppage of ex-beltholder Gabriel Campillo in August.
"Adonis is thinking about what will happen with his next fight. I am thinking about what will happen now, on May 24, and I'm ready for this fight," said Fonfara, who last suffered defeat against Derrick Findley by second-round knockout in July 2008.
"I want to focus on this fight, only. Everybody has his plan, and that's not a problem for me. You will see May 24 what I will bring to the ring. I don't want to say nothing about my plan and what we'll do in the ring."
Stevenson-Fonfara is taking place against the backdrop of a lawsuit filed by Main Events CEO Kathy Duva against a number of parties her promotional firm contends interfered with a tentative fight between Stevenson and WBO counterpart Sergey Kovalev, who is represented by her company.
Duva's complaint alleges breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, tortious interference and interference with prospective economic advantage on the part of Stevenson, Haymon, Stevenson's Canadian promoter, Yvon Michel, Golden Boy Promotions, and Showtime.
Main Events charges that Michel reneged on a deal to stage a clash with Kovalev and accuses Haymon, in conjunction with Golden Boy, of interfering in attempt to make a fight between Hopkins and Stevenson, whose victories over Dawson, Cloud and Bellew were all televised by Showtime's network rival HBO.
Michel addressed the lawsuit on Tuesday.
"They're making a lot of noise, but we're very happy. If they want us to go into court, then that's no problem. Then, we're going to be able to show that they lied publicly, and so we'll be able to expose them. In the meantime, here, it didn't affect, at all, the preparation of the show. It didn't affect at all the ticket sales or the television," said Michel.
"To the contrary, I believe that it brought more publicity to Adonis, worldwide. There was more attention. The name of Adonis Stevenson was more in the media, and it made the fight a bigger fight than it was before that. So I think that it's going to bring more publicity and more viewers on Showtime to watch that fight."
Stevenson said he unconcerned about the suit.
"That's Al Haymon and Yvon Michel responsibility about that. My job is to go into the ring and to knock everybody out," said Stevenson. "That's my job. As far as the network, that's Al Haymon and Yvon Michel. They're going to take care of all of that."
Showtime Sports executive Stephen Espinoza said a loss by Stevenson wouldn't necessary throw a wrench into the works.
"I'm not sure if devastating is a good way to describe it. My sense of Adonis is that he's got his own motivation, so whether it's losing a title or losing a unification fight or anything like that, that's all secondary. I think that he wants to win because he's used to winning and that he wants to continue winning. You've got a challenger on the other side who is a very under-rated boxer with good punching skills. I expect a very competitive fight," said Espinoza.
"Here at the network, our goal is to hopefully televise a title unification fight, eventually. We don't have any particular preference on who the titlists are. We would just like to be able to televise and bring to the fans a series of fights which results in a unified light heavyweight title. But I will say that a good amount of the fascination with Adonis and his popularity is that he is a big puncher, and that he has some highlight reel knockouts. That's not something that is going to go away with a loss here or a loss there. So, yes it does throw a wrench in his plans for a unification fight, but there is still plenty of value and plenty of interest in Adonis as a fighter."