Main Events chief executive Kathy Duva watched with interest as light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson, looking anything like his “Superman” nickname would suggest, struggled mightily over the last quarter of the fight with Andrzej Fonfara on Saturday night at the Bell Centre in Montreal.
Although Stevenson won a unanimous decision, scoring knockdowns in the first and fifth rounds and retaining his title for the third time, he also was dropped in the ninth round and looked pretty bad the last few rounds as he faded badly. If 15-round fights still existed we might be talking about a new champion today.
Duva watched with interest because she promotes light heavyweight titlist Sergey Kovalev, whom many believe Stevenson straight ducked by bolting from HBO to go to Showtime for the Fonfara fight (which HBO had agreed to put on) and a probable fall fight with unified titlist Bernard Hopkins, rather than remaining at HBO to face Kovalev in the fall.
Main Events is suing Stevenson, promoter Yvon Michel, Showtime, Al Haymon (Stevenson’s adviser) and Hopkins promoter Golden Boy over the situation, claiming Michel had agreed to a deal for the Kovalev fight on HBO in the fall.
Duva said she saw what happened Saturday coming, the reason why she pushed so hard to make Stevenson-Kovalev happen as quickly as possible.
“I had tried to push HBO to go straight to the Kovalev-Stevenson fight since the fall because I was certain that Stevenson would lose to, or be embarrassed by, just about anyone who could punch just a little bit,” Duva said. “He sure proved me right [Saturday] night. I get the feeling that the boys at HBO thought I was delusional. Probably not so much anymore.”
Stevenson and Kovalev fought on the same HBO card in November and Duva and Kovalev wanted to go right to a fight with Stevenson after that. But the Stevenson camp didn’t want to, and Duva and Kovalev ultimately agreed to each take separate bouts first, with Kovalev knocking out Cedric Agnew on March 29 and Stevenson facing Fonfara.
“I won't criticize Fonfara after hanging in there the way he did. He's a nice kid. But Stevenson really made him look good,” Duva said.
The first hearing in the lawsuit is scheduled for June 6 in U.S. District Court in New York.