Often in boxing, it is trash talk between fighters that leads to a match being made. And often it is also after a match is made that the trash-talking begins.
Rarely do you hear the trash talk after a fight goes unmade, but that is where we are now as it relates to the no-longer-happening light heavyweight championship showdown between champion Adonis “Superman” Stevenson and titlist Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev.
Their fight was supposed to take place in the fall after Kovalev promoter Kathy Duva of Main Events and Stevenson promoter Yvon Michel made a deal with HBO. But as you should know by now that is not happening, because Stevenson and his team reneged last week on a multifight deal they had with HBO for a May 24 showcase fight and the fall fight with Kovalev.
Stevenson’s team -- new adviser Al Haymon and promoter Yvon Michel -- attempted to shake down HBO for more money on the May fight as well as refusing to follow through on a deal agreed to for the fall fight. In other words, they wanted more money for the expected walkover fight and didn’t even want to commit to the hard, big fight. HBO, which had already made a deal (although it was unsigned, which is on HBO for being sloppy), was having none of that. When Showtime eventually made a bigger offer for the May fight, HBO declined its contractual right to match the offer. Thus, Stevenson is now a Showtime fighter and Kovalev happily remains at HBO, which televised his seventh-round destruction of overmatched Cedric Agnew from Atlantic City, N.J., on Saturday night.
After the fight, Kovalev had some choice words for Stevenson when asked by HBO’s Max Kellerman about the situation during his postfight interview.
"Adonis Stevenson is a piece of s---. Oh, sorry for my English,” Kovalev responded about the man who certainly seemed to duck the fight.
I totally get that Stevenson will make more money for the May 24 fight now that it is on Showtime. Fighters should go for the biggest money. That is what they and their team are supposed to do. It’s the hurt business, emphasis on business. I would do the same thing. But, and it’s a big but, the issue here is giving your word as a man, agreeing to a deal down to the little details and then backing out. That is not cool. And, frankly, Duva said she is considering litigation over the issue because she says she has emails confirming every step of the way toward a done deal.
In any event, after Kovalev gave his opinion on Stevenson, the champ took to Twitter and had his say, lashing out at Kovalev.
“You just a real slow BUM with no defense. Easy work,” Stevenson wrote.
Stevenson was not done quite yet adding, “Tell your mama Kathy Duva to stop crying and to call Yvon Michel and Al Haymon to make the fight happen! BUM.”
I had tweeted Kovalev’s postfight comment about Stevenson and he responded to me, tweeting, “When Kovalev fight me he will stay at the hospital and mama Duva will come see him! Tell mama Duva to call Al Haymon and Yvon Michel to make that easy payday happen!”
(By the way, in disrespectfully calling Duva, who has 30 years of experience at the top of the promotional business, ‘mama,’ Main Events responded to Stevenson, “Adonis, your disdain for women and misogyny is, unfortunately, not surprising. #SuperDuck.” Main Events was probably referring to Stevenson’s prison sentence for promoting prostitution.)
But back to Stevenson’s tough talk about making the fight, the easy payday, etc. ... with Kovalev. The trash talk is good and everything except for one small detail: The fight was made already and it was Stevenson who walked away from the deal, not Kovalev.
For Stevenson to go after him like that smacks of hypocrisy. Like he is the schoolboy beefing with his rival and threatening to fight him on the playground, screaming, “I’ll get you! Let’s fight!” Meanwhile, he is standing behind his buddies, who are not going to let anything happen.
It’s not a good look. This is not a good look for Stevenson, who had the fight with Kovalev. If it was such an easy payday why didn’t he and his team keep their word? Stevenson threw it away, not Kovalev.