Friday, March 31, 2023  |



Sergey Kovalev: ‘I lost the opportunity to knock out’ Adonis Stevenson

Fighters Network

WBO light heavyweight titleholder Sergey Kovalev is still disappointed that he "lost the opportunity" to knock out RING and WBC champion Adonis Stevenson, with whom he was unimpressed in last month's unanimous decision over Andrzej Fonfara.

A potential Stevenson-Kovalev fight was virtually scuttled in relation so a lawsuit filed by Kovalev's promoter, Main Events. In the suit, filed in April against a number of parties, Main Events CEO Kathy Duva contends that a number of parties interfered with a tentative fight between Stevenson and Kovalev.

The complaint alleges breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, tortious interference and interference with prospective economic advantage on the part of promoter Yvon Michel, Groupe Yvon Michel Inc., advisor Al Haymon, Golden Boy Promotions, Stevenson and Showtime.

"I lost the opportunity to knock him out," said Kovalev, "but right now, this fight has lost any sense."

Coming off a seventh-round knockout of previously undefeated Cedric Agnew in March, the 31-year-old Kovalev (24-0-1, 22 knockouts) said, conversely, that the 49-year-old Bernard Hopkins "showed great conditioning" in April against Beibut Shumenov, whom Hopkins floored in the 11th round of a unanimous decision to add the WBA belt to the IBF version Hopkins already held.

Kovalev scored three knockdowns during his win over Agnew, which followed a second-round knockout of Ismayl Sillakh last November. Kovalev is 12-0-1 with 12 knockouts in his past 13 fights, including a fourth-round stoppage that dethroned previously unbeaten WBO beltholder Nathan Cleverly in August 2013.

Stevenson (24-1, 20 KOs), 36, scored knockdowns in the first and fifth rounds and rose from the canvas himself in the ninth for the triumph over Fonfara, 26, who brought a run of 15 straight victories, 12 by knockout, into the Showtime-televised clash in Montreal.

Stevenson had stopped 10 consecutive opponents prior to facing Fonfara, his sole loss being a second-round TKO by Darnell Boone in April 2010. Stevenson went 4-0 over the course of 2013, in succession, with knockouts of Boone, Chad Dawson, Tavoris Cloud and Tony Bellew in the sixth, first, seventh and sixth rounds, respectively.

Stevenson's victories over Dawson, Cloud and Bellew were all televised by HBO but the left-handed Canadian is now hoping for a showdown with Hopkins on rival network Showtime.

Although Duva has since expressed interest in matching Kovalev and Fonfara perhaps in the fall, Kovalev remains fixated, to a degree, on Stevenson.

"I once told boxing world that Stevenson is not the best fighter of the year but he's just a piece of s–t who found title in the ring which Chad Dawson lost," said Kovalev. "Fonfara showed us who is who. Now it's not my favorite fight but I will use any chance to get more champion of the world titles."

Prior to facing Shumenov, Hopkins had twice become the oldest man to win a significant crown. In defeating Shumenov, Hopkins became the eldest to unify two of these titles. Kovalev would like to challenge Hopkins.

"I'm interested to send Hopkins to retirement. He showed great conditioning," said Kovalev. "I hope that my fans will see me do my business on HBO on August 2 on East Coast. The opponent is unknown yet."

Main Events has spoken to promoter Lou DiBella regarding a potential bout on Aug. 2 with Australia’s Blake Caparello (19-0-1, 6 KOs), but no deal has been completed.