Adonis Stevenson-Badou Jack & Keith Thurman-Jessie Vargas on 5/19
By Jim Dower: Two of the upcoming fights on Showtime have WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson defending against Badou Jack, and WBA/WBC welterweight champion battling Jessie Vargas on May 19 on the same broadcasts, but at different venues. Both fights will be on the same broadcast on Showtime on May 19.
Thurman (28-0, 22 KOs) will be making his tune-up against Vargas (28-2, 10 KOs). The fight is still not official, however. It’s a tough fight for a tune-up, but it looks like the 28-year-old Thurman didn’t want to deal with the negative feedback from fans, fighters and the boxing media for him taking a tune-up fight as a 2-belt champion. Thurman has been a once a year fighter since 2016, and he’s not staying busy enough to make it fair to the many contenders that are waiting in line to get their title shots.
Thurman had surgery on his left elbow shortly after beating Danny Garcia on March 4th last year. The recovery from the surgery has been slow for Thurman, and he’s been forced to stay inactive while rehabbing the injury. Vargas could prove to be a little too tough for Thurman to be taking a tune-up against. It’s possible that Vargas will be swapped out for a lesser threat for Thurman to beat up on without having to worry about losing or re-injuring his surgically repaired elbow. If Vargas does stick as Thurman’s opponent for May 19th, it’s going to be one heck of a fight.
Vargas defeated Aaron Herrera by a 10 round unanimous decision last month on December 15. It was a good performance from Vargas, who was coming off of a 13-month layoff in taking the fight. Vargas took a year off from boxing after losing his WBO welterweight title to Manny Pacquiao in November 2016.
Stevenson (29-1, 24 KOs) and Jack (22-1-2, 13 KOs) is a fight that a lot of boxing fans are looking forward to, as it’s one of the better match-ups that light heavyweight division has seen since the first Andre Ward vs. Sergey Kovalev fight in 2016. There was far less interest from fans in their rematch in 2017. That fans had already seen the first one, and they weren’t too eager to deal with controversy the second time around.
The Stevenson vs. Jack winner will be ordered to fight the winner of the Oleksandr Gvozdyk vs. Mehdi Amar fight on March 17. However, it’s quite possible that Stevenson and Jack will fight each other in an immediate rematch, and make the Gvozdyk-Amar winner wait for the remainder of the year before they eventually get a shot at the WBC light 175 lb. title. It won’t be surprising if they’re given a step aside offer like Eleider Alvarez has been given to step aside so that Stevenson could make more voluntary defenses. Stevenson has had such a stranglehold with his WBC belt in defending it largely against weak opponents for 4 years. In the eyes of a lot of boxing fans, the 40-year-old Stevenson has been holding the WBC 175 lb. belt hostage, defending it against one weak opponent after another.
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