Adonis Stevenson focused on Bika, not impressed with Kovalev’s win over Pascal
By Dan Ambrose: WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson (25-1, 21 KOs) says he wasn’t impressed with the victory by IBF/WBA/WBO 175 pound champion Sergey Kovlev last Saturday night over former WBC light heavyweight champion Jean Pascal at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada.
Stevenson didn’t say much about Kovalev’s win other than him just not being all too impressed with what he saw in that fight from the Russian fighter.
The 37-year-old Stevenson is more concerned with his upcoming fight against former WBC super middleweight champion Sakio Bika (32-6-3, 21 KOs) three weeks from now on April 4th at the Pepsi Coliseum, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada .
The Bika fight has all of Stevenson’s attention at the moment, because Stevenson knows he can’t afford to lose this fight if he wants to continue to get big paydays.
“Yes, it goes through my mind, but I have to beat Bika and he (Kovalev) has an IBF mandatory defense before it can happen. And to be honest, his performance versus Jean Pascal did not impress me at all.”
You can make an argument that Stevenson didn’t look too impressive himself in his recent title defense against Andrzej Fonfara. Stevenson was knocked down in that fight, and that was against a very average fighter in Fonfara. One can only imagine the trouble Stevenson would have against a puncher like Kovalev, who would put major pressure on Stevenson the entire fight.
Stenvenson really can’t afford to focus his attention on Kovalev right now, because Sakio Bika is a real threat to him due to his chin, power and the pressure he puts on his opponents.
This isn’t a fight that Stevenson can’t count on winning with a one-punch knockout. He’s going to have to take a lot of shots from Bika in this fight and prove that he’s got the chin to win. Nobody knocks Bika out, and if Stevenson wastes time trying, he could wind up getting caught with something big and knocked out himself.
“I expect a really long fight,” Stevenson said about Bika. “Bika has never been stopped and when he lost, it was always against world champions. He is tough and he has heart. He was also a world champion. I will have to be patient, fast and move out of range to win.
This is definitely going to wind up as a long fight, but hopefully Stevenson isn’t expecting it to be similar to his fight against someone like Don George in 2012. That was a case of Stevenson fighting a guy that had heavy hands, but he didn’t fight like he was properly motivated to win.
Bika knows that he has to win this fight in order to get big paydays in a rematch against Stevenson, and a unification fight against Sergey Kovalev. Bika will be putting it to Stevenson all night long, and he’s going to punish the 37-year-old fighter in a way that he hasn’t been during his career.
You can make an argument that this is going to be the toughest fight of Stevenson’s career. Unless Stevenson folds early like he did in his first fight against Boone, Stevenson is going to get hit a lot in this fight.
“My dream is to unify all the titles and become the first fighter from Quebec to do so,” Stevenson said. “But I’m fully focused on Bika. I know he’s training hard to steal my belts.”
Bika isn’t coming to steal the belts, he’s coming to give Stevenson a beat down and take them based on his heart and determination. Bika has an arguably better chin than Stevenson, and he’s got more than enough power to score a knockout in this fight.
Bika also is a far better inside fighter than Stevenson, and that’s an area where the fight could be lost by Stevenson. If Bika is able to smother Stevenson’s offense by forcing him against the ropes and not letting him get any distance to throw his fast shots, this could be an easy fight for Bika. He would be doing what Andre Ward has done against a lot of his opponents by smothering their offense by leaning on them, and forcing them to fight on the inside where they’re not comfortable.
Stevenson has won his last 12 fights since being stopped in the 2nd round by the hard hitting journeyman Darnell Boone in April of 2010. Stevenson avenged the loss to Boone by stopping him in the 6th round in March of 2013. In Stevenson’s last five bouts he’s beaten Dmitry Sukhotsky, Andrzej Fonfara, Tony Bellew, Tavoris Cloud and Chad Dawson.