Stevenson conquers Bika, is Kovalev next?
By Allan Fox: Making his 5th defense of his World Boxing Council 175 pound title, Adonis Stevenson (26-1, 21 KOs) was victorious in defeating former WBC 168 pound champion Sakio Bika (32-7-3, 21 KOs) by a unanimous 12 round decision on Saturday afternoon at the Pepsi Coliseum, Quebec City, Quebec, Canada.
Stevenson, 37, unloaded everything but the kitchen sink in the fight in vying to become the first fighter to ever stop the 35-year-old Bika, but it wasn’t meant to be. Bika visited the canvas twice in the fight. He took Stevenson’s best shots and kept coming forward with a determined look on his face.
Bika survived a few rough patches and was able to make it the full 12 round distance. But in lasting the full 12, Bika showed that Stevenson has stamina problems that need to be addressed. Stevenson faded somewhat in the 11th and 12th rounds with a lot of the pop disappearing on his punches, and his defense becoming sloppy.
Bika hit Stevenson with some really big shots in the final two rounds of the fight. If he was a little stronger he might have been able to put Stevenson on the canvas. Bika had Stevenson against the ropes in both the 11th and 12th rounds and was able to land some really big shots. Stevenson tried to clown and show that Bika couldn’t hit him or hurt him, but he was nailed repeatedly with clean shots from Bika in those last two rounds.
The judges’ scores were a lot closer than they should have been with Stevenson winning by the scores of 116-110, 115-110 and 115-111. Despite winning the fight by a clear decision, Stevenson still wound up taking a number of really hard hits to the head. He also collided heads with Bika countless times in the fight. That obviously had to hurt Stevenson because at times his face collided with the top of Bika’s head at full speed.
Bika fails come forward and throw enough punches to make the fight truly competitive. He seemed wary of letting his hands go for fear of being countered. However, by standing directly in the line of fire in front of Stevenson, Bika was getting hit constantly with lead left hands from the faster, stronger Stevenson.
It didn’t pay off for Bika to stand in front of Stevenson without throwing anything. When Bika would attack, he frequently failed to setup his attacks by jabbing his way in. This enabled Stevenson to hit him with straight left hands while he was coming forward to land his punches.
“I know Sakio Bika was a tough guy, so I prepared for 12 rounds,” Stevenson said after the fight.
It was definitely one of Stevenson’s tougher fights in recent years. Whether it was as tough as his fight against Andrzej Fonfara is debatable. Bika appeared to land more shots than Fonfara did, but he couldn’t put Stevenson down the way Fonfara did. Part of the reason for that could have been the size differential. Bika still looked like a super middleweight rather than a light heavyweight, and he didn’t have the same punching power that you’d see from a real light heavyweight.
After the fight there was no mention of IBF/WBA/WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev by Stevenson and the ring-side interviewer from Premier Boxing Champions. It didn’t make any sense for nothing to have been asked of Stevenson about whether he’d be facing Kovalev next, because boxing fans want to hear what the news is Stevenson’s plans for this fight.
The fact that nothing was said by Stevenson and PBC has some fans wondering if Stevenson will choose to face Kovalev next. If he Stevenson doesn’t then he’ll need to vacate his WBC title if he doesn’t want to have it stripped from him by the WBC.