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Tony Bellew interested in Adonis Stevenson rematch

Adonis Stevenson Tony Bellew

By Scott Gilfoid: Tony Bellew says he might be interested in a rematch with Adonis Stevenson if the fight took place at a catch-weight of 195 pounds in the cruiserweight division. Bellew (30-2-1, 20 KOs) is in need of an opponent for his next fight, and the 40-year-old Stevenson (29-1, 24 KOs) called him out last week, saying he wants to face him in the UK and whip him for a second time.

You have to wonder about the timing of the 34-year-old Bellew’s comments about wanting to fight Stevenson. Bellew is opening his mouth about wanting to fight Stevenson with him about to defend his WBC 175lb title this Saturday night against Badou Jack in Toronto, Canada.

It appears that Bellew is trying to get some attention from the boxing media the easy way by name dropping Stevenson’s name just ahead of his important fight against Jack on Saturday night. If Bellew is serious about wanting to fight Stevenson, then it would be one thing. But it’s been 5 years since he lost to the powerful Canadian based light heavyweight.

Why did Bellew wait five years to finally start talking about wanting to fight the dangerous punching Stevenson? I have a pretty good idea why Bellew is talking about wanting to fight Stevenson now. I think he’s name dropping to get attention from the boxing media the easy way without any true interest in wanting to fight ‘Superman’ Stevenson.

It was such a ridiculously easy win for Stevenson last time he fought Bellew five years ago in November 2013. Stevenson was toying with Bellew, blasting him around the ring. It’s a good thing that referee Michael Griffin stepped in to stop the massacre in the 6th, because Bellew was taking a royal hammering from Stevenson. It wasn’t even a fight. After the loss, Bellew looked like a broken fighter, wondering what he should do with his career.

In a predictable move, Bellew blamed his loss on his difficulties making the 175lb weight limit. Bellew moved up to cruiserweight after the loss, and he’s won all 10 of his fights since then. However, none of Bellew’s wins have come against talented cruiserweights and heavyweights. Bellew arguably beat the B and C-level cruiserweights, but not the A-level guys like Oleksandr Usyk, Murat Gassiev, Mairis Briedis and Yunier Dorticos. Likewise, Bellew hasn’t fought any of the A-level heavyweights. Bellew’s wins at heavyweight have come against old and injured David Haye.

“I am going to knock him out again,” Stevenson said to ”I’ll come and do it again. Eddie Hearn has got our number.”

Ever since Stevenson challenged Bellew to face him in a rematch, he’s been nothing coming back from the Liverpool native until today. Bellew finally opened his mouth and said he’ll knock Stevenson out in a catch-weight fight at 195lbs. However, in the next breath, Bellew said Stevenson is no longer a big name. That comment is Bellew hinting that he’s not going to fight him. There’s no other reason for Bellew to downgrade Stevenson’s popularity other than using it as an excuse not to have to fight him. Bellew is pretty easy to read. When he wants to fight someone, he’s all over them. When he doesn’t, then he downgrades him, which is what we’re seeing here with Bellew minimizing Stevenson’s popularity.

Stevenson was knocked out by the hard-hitting Darnell Boone in the 2nd round in the only loss of his career in April 2010. In his next 8 fights after his win over Stevenson, Boone’s record was a poor 2-5-1. Stevenson could have used Boone’s poor record and complete lack of popularity to fight him a second time, but instead he fought him in a rematch in March 2013 and knocked him out in the 6th round. Stevenson didn’t mind that Boone wasn’t popular. He just wanted to avenge his loss, and he accomplished that goal. Bellew seems to be cut from a different set of cloth. He gives excuses for why he doesn’t to fight Stevenson again by saying he’s not popular. It’s pretty sad actually the way Bellew is giving excuses.

”I am now a bigger name than Adonis Stevenson,” Bellew said to ”That is just a fact. Nobody cares about him, nobody knows who he is anymore.”

Does this sound like a fighter that wants to avenge his loss? Bellew is already giving excuses for why he shouldn’t have to fight Stevenson again. Stevenson has a 16-fight winning streak since his loss to Boone 8 years ago, and he’s about to make his 9th title defense this Saturday night against former 2-division world champion Badou Jack (22-2-2, 13 KOs) at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada.

“I’d love to spank him,” Bellew said about Stevenson. “I would put him asleep far quicker than he put me down. I wouldn’t mess around. If he did come close to cruiserweight I would put him to sleep.”

Stevenson is probably close to 190 after he rehydrates for his light heavyweight fights. Bellew weighed in at 210 lbs. for his rematch against David Haye on May 5 at the O2 Arena in London, England. If Stevenson and Bellew could agree to a catch-weigh of 195 pounds, it would be a doable fight. The southpaw Stevenson would obviously be outweighed by a significant margin by Bellew in the fight, but that wouldn’t change anything. Stevenson would still be just as fast and as powerful as he was when he beat Bellew in 2013. Bellew weighing more won’t improve his punch resistance.

If Stevenson starts bouncing left hands off Bellew’s chin like he did five years ago, he’s going to knock him out in short order. The only weapon Bellew has is his left hook, and he only lands that shot from close range. Stevenson took Bellew’s left hook without any problems. Stevenson was not bothered in the least by that punch unlike Haye, who couldn’t take the power.

Bellew would gain a lot of respect from boxing fans if he were to agree to fight Stevenson, because it’s generally thought that he wants no part of mixing it up with him ever again. Bellew says he wants to fight a mega-star opponent for his next fight. He specifically has mentioned wanting to face Andre Ward, Tyson Fury, Oleksandr Usyk or Murat Gassiev. None of those fighters are available to face him now. Sure, Bellew can wait for them to eventually face him, but how long does he want to wait?

Bellew already lost a year of his career waiting for Haye to heal up after suffering a ruptured Achilles tendon in his first fight against him on March 24, 2017. Does Bellew want to wait ages for one of the so-called mega-stars to face him or does he want to stay busy and fight Stevenson?

I seriously doubt Bellew will face Stevenson again, because the Canadian fighter has his number and I think he’d beat him again no matter how many times they fought. I think Stevenson would beat Bellew 100 out of 100 times. Stevenson is at a different level than him. I hate to say it, but Bellew is just a guy that has arguably been cherry-picking his opponents since his loss to Stevenson in 2013. I mean, look at the guys that Bellew has fought since he was destroyed by Stevenson:

• Valery Brudov

• Julio Cesar Dos Santos

• Nathan Cleverly

• Ivica Bacurin

• Aturs Kulikauskis

• Mateusz Masternak

• Illunga Makabu

• BJ Flores

• David Haye

Haye was a good – but flawed – fighter in his day, but he was no longer the same guy when he fought Bellew twice. The rest of the guys that Bellew has fought in the last 4 years of his career have been poor to average fighters. There’s been no real quality among them. Bellew would have impressed boxing fans if he had fought Mairis Briedis, Yunier Dorticos, Oleksandr Usyk or Murat Gassiev, but the fact is he didn’t. When Bellew had the choice of fighting one of those talents and one of the mediocre guys, he chose the latter. What does that tell you?

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