Eleider Alvarez to step aside for Adonis Stevenson to face Monaghan
By Dan Ambrose: #1 WBC mandatory challenger Eleider Alvarez has reportedly reached an agreement to step aside so that WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson can make a voluntary defense against likely opponent Sean Monaghan on April 29 at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, in Long Island, New York. The 35-year-old Monaghan (28-0, 17 KOs) is from Long Island, so the venue would be one that would bring his boxing fans out to see him.
The fight is seen as another mismatch in the long line of mismatches that the 39-year-old Stevenson has had since he captured the World Boxing Council 175 lb. title in June 2013. As far as I can tell, Stevenson still hasn’t defended his title against his mandatory challenger since he captured the belt 4 years ago.
Eleider Alvarez has been Stevenson’s mandatory challenger since he beat Isaac Chilemba by a 12 round decision on November 28, 2015. Last February, Eleider Alvarez stopped Lucian Bute in the 5th round in a second WBC title eliminator. It’s unclear why Alvarez had to go through the formality of a second title eliminator when he was already the mandatory challenger.
The winner of Stevenson’s fight against Monaghan will then face Eleider Alvarez. That’s good news for the 32-year-old Alvarez, because it finally looks like there’s an end in sight for him to get his title shot against Stevenson. In the meantime, the WBC is ordering a second light heavyweight title eliminator between #3 WBC Joe Smith Jr. and #6 WBC Oleksandr Gvozdyk. However, it almost seems like no point in the WBC ordering that fight. If the winner of the Smith Jr. vs. Gvozdyk is going to have to wait 2-4 years or more for them to get a crack at Stevenson, they might be better off going in another direction so that they can get a title fight while they’re still young.
You can argue that the WBC should have pushed Stevenson to face Alvarez in 2015 or early 2016 rather than standing by and watching him defend his WBC title against one voluntary challenger after another. Last year, Stevenson only defended his title once in beating voluntary challenger Thomas Williams Jr. In 2015, Stevenson beat Tommy Karpency and Sakio Bika in voluntary defenses. Hopefully, Stevenson will be fighting more than just once in 2017. If Monaghan is the only defense Stevenson makes this year, then Eleider Alvarez will need to wait until 2018 to get his title shot. That’s 3 years after he became the WBC mandatory challenger to Stevenson.
“The WBC light heavyweight division has not had a mandatory defense in a prolonged period of time,” said WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman via RingTV.com. “Consequently, the WBC has decided to order a final elimination bout between WBC International champion Joe Smith vs. the NABF champion Aleksandr Gvozdyk with the winner becoming a second mandatory contender of the division.”
Some boxing fans feel that the 35-year-old Monaghan doesn’t deserve to be fighting for a world title. Monaghan is ranked #10 by the WBC, and he recently beat Fernando Castaneda (24-11), Janne Forsman (21-3) and Donovan George (25-4). Monaghan is a similar type of opponent as Tommy Karpency for Stevenson.
What’s disappointing about Stevenson is how he’s done so little since winning the WBC title four years ago. Stevenson hasn’t taken any risky fights other than his match against Tony Bellew in 2013. The rest of Stevenson’s fights have been largely mismatches against guys that were out of his league in terms of talent. It would have been nice for the boxing world to see Stevenson fight guys like Sergey Kovalev, Andre Ward, Artur Beterbiev , Joe Smith Jr. and Gvozdyk. Those guys would have helped Stevenson form a legacy in the sport. It would have also helped him become a bigger star. Some boxing fans think Stevenson has just been milking his WBC title all these years in shooting for easy opponents.