Why now is the time for Badou Jack vs. Adonis Stevenson
On Saturday, August 26, casual fans walked away from the Showtime PPV thinking about the impressive performances of both Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather, both of which came to put on a show.
But what about the hardcore fans? They walked away thinking about the elite talents put on display by Badou Jack. “The Ripper” ripped through WBA Light-Heavyweight Champion Nathan Cleverly in just his first bout at 175lbs., systematically breaking down the 30-year-old champion en route to a fifth-round stoppage.
It was a complete dismantling from the Swedish superstar, who announced his initiation into the division in the most devastating way.
Both before and after the fight, Jack made clear his intentions of unifying the light-heavyweight championships, starting with Quebec-based knockout puncher and WBC Light-Heavyweight Champion, Adonis Stevenson.
“I wanted the Stevenson fight, but I guess he wasn’t interested,” Jack said at a press conference before the fight. “That’s the first fight we wanted, even right after the (Lucian]) Bute fight.”
Jack went onto say that they had eyed Stevenson for his debut at light-heavyweight before Stevenson signed on for a rematch with Andrzej Fonfara, which took place in June of 2017.
As any fight fan knows, Stevenson has developed a reputation for avoiding the big fights, showing little interest in unifying the world titles. His rematch with Fonfara, along with title defenses against weak competition like Thomas Williams Jr., Dmitry Sukhotskiy and Tommy Karpency solidified the reputation as a fighter more interested in soft competition than historic accomplishments.
Stevenson has always talked a big game, especially when it came to a superfight with elite-level fighter Sergey Kovalev, but the two could never come to an agreement, which has fallen directly on Stevenson’s shoulders.
And now again, Stevenson is talking like a fighter ready for the big fights. During an appearance on Quebec’s TVASports, Stevenson made clear his intention to unify the title belts, mentioning both Jack and pound-for-pound great, Andre Ward.
He also took to Twitter, saying that Ward was “wasting his time” and “now that you have a belt, I want it.”
So if Jack wants the fight and Stevenson wants the fight, can we actually get the fight?
Unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Quebec-based Eleider Alvarez is due a WBC world title fight. Whether or not Stevenson could fight Jack before a defense against Alvarez remains to be seen.
What does not remain to be seen is interest in this fight; it’s clear that the fans want to see Jack and Stevenson share a ring in the near future. And if we can get it in Montreal, all the better.
At 39, Stevenson’s opportunity to establish his legacy as a great light-heavyweight is running out. He has avoided fighting the big names of the division for years and it looks as though there may be nowhere left to hide.
If Stevenson wants to keep talking a big game, it’s time to take a big fight.