For a man who often refers to himself as “The King”, Adonis Stevenson has a strange dislike of fighting top opponents.
Until this weekend. On Saturday, the WBC light-heavyweight champion will face a formidable challenge in the shape of slick-boxing Badou Jack, the US-based Swede.
The tournament will be broadcast live on SuperSport 8 from 3.30am on Sunday.
Stevenson has held the WBC crown since 2013, but has largely managed to avoid elite fighters like Sergey Kovalev and Andre Ward, feasting instead on easy pickings. It’s earned him a reputation for being a low-risk boxer, although there’s no doubting his power with 24 of his 29 wins having come via the short route.
Having earned the nickname “Superman” for once beating up 10 people while he was in prison during his youth, Stevenson loves to put on a show.
But beating Jack will require all his smarts. Jack is younger, shrewder and probably a better mover with good boxing IQ.
“I’m the king at light heavyweight,” Stevenson said. “I beat the king to become the king. I know that I’ve accomplished some great things and me and my team plan to continue to do everything we can to stay on top. I’m the best fighter in this division, period. When I win on [Saturday], I’ll just be doing my job. People might still talk trash, but I’ll still be the champ.”
A former WBC super-middleweight champion, Jack made three successful defences and moved up to light-heavyweight to become a two-weight titlist when he stopped Nathan Cleverly for the WBA belt last year.
He will come hard and present arguably the toughest test of Stevenson’s reign.
A treat is in store.