On Friday, August 17, at the Buffalo Run Casino in Miami, Oklahoma, Warriors Boxing, Group Yvon Michel and Tony Holden Productions will proudly present a blockbuster night of boxing that will also serve as the ESPN Friday Night Fights season finale for 2012 at 10 PM Eastern on ESPN2, ESPN Deportes and ESPN3.
In Canada, the event will be presented on PPV at Canal Indigo and Bell TV with the telecast starting at 9:00 PM/ET, featuring highlights of Adonis Stevenson's last few fights, until picking up the ESPN telecast at 10:00 PM/ET.
In the 12-round super middleweight main event, Chicago puncher Don “Da Bomb” George (22-2-1, 19 KOs) will take on the equally explosive Adonis “Superman” Stevenson (18-1, 15 KOs) from Longueuil, Quebec via Haiti, with a chance to face IBF champion Carl Froch on the line.
And in the co-feature, Chicago's would-be #1 contender “King” Carlos Molina (19-5-2, 6 KOs) returns from one of the most controversial fights of 2012 to take on Miami's Damian “Devo” Frias (19-4-1, 10 KOs).
The Stevenson vs. George fight had originally been scheduled to take place as the co-main event of the Tavoris Cloud/Jean Pascal card on August 11. However, an injury to Pascal forced that event's cancellation and created the opportunity to move the fight to the Buffalo Run and to ESPN.
And so, the impressive 2012 ESPN Friday Night Fights season will end with a puncher's duel between two of the top 168-lb fighters in the world competing for a title shot against Froch.
“Sometimes there is an actual silver lining in the sport of boxing. When the original Friday Night Fights August 17 card fell apart due to injuries, it was through the collective efforts of Leon Margules, Yvon Michel, Luis DeCubas, Tony Holden and ESPN that we were able to quickly mobilize efforts and present Friday Night Fights fans with a spectacular season finale,” said Doug Loughrey, Programming Director of Boxing at ESPN. “This is a prime example of promoters, fighters, mangers and ESPN working together to service the boxing fan.”
“I want to thank Doug Loughrey from ESPN, who had the vision of bringing this great fight to his network, as well as Leon Margules, the promoter of Don George, who was extremely cooperative making this happen,” said Stevenson's promoter, Yvon Michel (GYM). “I also have a great deal of respect for Adonis Stevenson and Don George, who both have never hesitated to jump on this opportunity, showing the kind of confidence they both have. For us, it is a great opportunity to show the world that Adonis 'Superman' Stevenson is for real. He will prove without any doubt that he is not a 'homer' and can perform on any platform on the planet.”
Leon Margules, event co-promoter and President of Warriors Boxing, echoed Michel's sentiments. “Doug Loughrey was the driving force behind bringing this fight to ESPN and once the leather starts flying in this terrific fight, it'll be him ESPN boxing fans can thank. I feel tremendous pride that we were all able to get together and make this happen.”
34-year-old southpaw Stevenson has been on an impressive tear lately, winning the NABA, NABO, IBF Inter-Continental and WBC Silver Super Middleweight championships while scoring five highlight-reel knockouts.
According to Stevenson's famed trainer Emanuel Steward, the fight is a “can't miss” barn burner. “I know George. He was in Detroit at Andy Lee's training camp in June. He is young, extremely strong, and dedicated. One thing for sure it will be bombs away in this fight, as Adonis is also a strong homerun hitter. This is the kind a fight all boxing fans are delighted to watch, and my prediction is there will be a knockout for sure. Don't miss it!”
Stevenson, of course, is happy with the sudden turnaround. “I was very disappointed of the postponement from August 11. I was gearing myself for some time in September but, as soon as my promoter and my manager told me about August 17, the adrenaline started flowing again. I am anxious to qualify as the No. 1 contender to fight the IBF champion Carl Froch. I know George will be ready for a war and this is what he will have. I can knock him out in Montreal, in his hometown of Chicago, and in Oklahoma as well.”
27-year-old George had a two-fight KO streak going and won the USBA championship before running into a very careful boxing Edwin Rodriguez and losing a close 10-round decision in their high-profile showdown last March.
“I thought I'd have to wait till the end of September and that would have been brutal, so I'm glad all the promoters and ESPN got together to make this happen,” said George. “It's a great opportunity for both of us.”
George says the reason he has wanted this fight so bad has nothing to do with seeing weakness in Stevenson.
“I don't necessarily see a flaw in him. I'm just confident in myself. Stylistically, I like this fight. He's not going to run. He's a puncher too, so I'm just going to go out there and fight my fight and I know I can win.”
29-year-old hard luck Molina was last seen in March in a battle against Texas slugger James Kirkland for the WBC Continental Americas light middleweight title, as well as a WBC Light Middleweight Semi-Final Eliminator.
Winning the fight handily, Molina was unexpectedly knocked down in round 10. A mix-up between cornermen and commission officials led to one of Molina's cornermen entering the ring prematurely. This opened the door for the oft-criticized Texas Commission to disqualify Molina in one of the most inexplicable and controversial calls of the year.
Before that, Molina has suffered controversial outcomes in fights he deserved to win against top contenders Erislandy Lara and Mike Alvarado, as well as in two highly debatable fights against now-world champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
35-year-old Frias, a Cuban now living in Miami, is a talented fighter who didn't even start boxing until age 25. However, having worked with world-renowned trainers such as Orlando Cuellar and John David Jackson, he has quickly molded into a world-class foe with an intelligent style that is difficult to beat. Frias had been plagued by inactivity throughout his career, but came back to life in 2011, with four ring appearances. He was last seen stopping 22-1-1 Henry Crawford in nine rounds.
Undercard and ticket information for this fantastic event will be released shortly.