The verdict may not fully be decided but the jury isn’t likely to stay out much longer in regard to the overall success and crossover appeal of “Premier Boxing Champions” as it moves into its second month of exposure on American television. Next weekend, a new telecast of the boxing program will be shown live on CBS (3PM ET / 12PM PT) from the Pepsi Coliseum in Quebec City, Canada as WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson (25-1, 21 KO’s) faces Sakio Bika (32-6-3, 21 KO’s). The Haitian born Stevenson, who now fights out of Montreal and goes by the moniker of “Superman” is clearly an amiable and pleasantly cheerful individual who usually conducts his walk to the ring accompanied by a big smile. It’s a refreshing sight for many, however the newest criticism which has been leveled at one of Montreal’s most endeared residents is a valid one that simply won’t make way for the present.
For whatever reason and it’s likely one of which none of us are completely sure, Adonis has thus far taken the less popular fork in the pugilistic road and elected not to fight the one man who many feel is the true and legitimate champion of the division, the unbeaten Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev. It remains to be seen as to whether or not a unification battle between Stevenson and Kovalev is indeed on the immediate horizon.
Such was a sentiment that Adonis Stevenson was eager to put to bed when he and Bika took part in an international media conference call on Wednesday afternooon. “I know there’s so much talk about that fight, but I’m focused on Bika”, said “Superman.”
“He’s in my face and I can only think about that person. I’ll be ready for him April 4. I know there’s so many people talking about the other fights, but I’m just focused on this guy.”
After such an honest, clear and concise answer, one would possibly be led to think that any similar queries would be quashed in the dirt, at least for now. Slam the brakes, because many, but not all of the media members who chose to ask away after the media call had opened with that exact question chose to effectively parrot it incessantly to the point of aggravation from the Bika camp. The mood hardly changed and many questions almost seemed intended to make Sakio Bika feel like nothing less than a proverbial doormat. The fifteen year professional originally from Cameroon elaborated on this when he commented, “I’ve been in this business for a long time. I don’t need to say too much. I’ll just ask for everyone to be prepared. Just watch. This is not about a fight with Kovalev. People think I’m coming into this to get knocked out.”
On and on the call went, sometimes in English and at other times in French. Just a few sought information on anything less than a Stevenson vs Kovalev mega bout. It’s neither professional nor civil to name the temporarily oblivious fight scribblers who are the guilty parties. No one’s throwing anyone under the bus here, but the most memorable part of the call was yet to come. Bika’s trainer, Kevin Cunningham eventually chimed in over the phone conference and declared, “You guys have done it for me. This is getting my fighter fired up. This call has been about Stevenson fighting Kovalev. I don’t know why Sakio is even on the call because everyone keeps asking about Kovalev versus Stevenson.”
Eventually, Stevenson simply chimed in and said, “After Bika, we can fight Kovalev and unify the titles in the division.” He seemed delighted to share his talents via the television airways not only on a national stage, but one which would be showcased on free TV as well. Still, amidst the few requests of Stevenson and even fewer of Bika that didn’t involve a Kovalev bout, the interrogation continued. Finally, Cunningham had clearly heard enough.
His final comments ended up as the last ones of the call on Wednesday. “What the (expletive) are we even doing here?” exclaimed Bika’s trainer. “Why are we here? This call is over for us.” The moderator of the call signaled that the call was at an end. One would be led to wonder if that would have been a sufficient warning had the call continued. It didn’t seem likely.
There are times when even someone like Floyd Mayweather, Jr. may actually have a point when he clarifies his opinions about various members of the media who have never actually laced up a pair of boxing gloves. Maybe some of them need to take a deep breath and look at their chosen profession, whether it’s truly one or just a hobby and ask themselves if they consider the press as a given or a gift.
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