When Adonis Stevenson left HBO for Showtime, many questioned his intentions. Rumors started circulating that it was because he didn’t want any part of the hard-hitting Sergey Kovalev. The move was just the latest in a missed opportunity between a pair of fighters, who are on a tear. Chances are slim that we will see that fight anytime soon, but one matchup is still on the table, and it could be against the veteran Bernard Hopkins.
Stevenson will need to impress fans like he has in recent fights. A new audience will be tuning in to watch the emerging 36-year-old star. Unfortunately, his opponent hasn’t had much exposure to the boxing community and, in turn, brings less interest to viewers. Andrzej Fonfara’s most notable victory comes against Gabriel Campillo, where he scored a ninth-round knockout.
This will be the first of many fights to come on Showtime for Stevenson, but a dominant performance on his part will confirm he is one of the best in the division. He should easily be able to overwhelm his opponent with his awkward angles, natural power and quick hand speed.
If he is able to take care of business against Fonfara, then that could set up the potential matchup with a boxing great—Hopkins. The 49-year-old from Philadelphia has been able to maintain his reputation as one of the best in the sport.
Hopkins is coming off a dominant performance against Beibut Shumenov in April, where he used his tactical approach to win the fight. Despite his age, Hopkins showed that he still has some power left, as he dropped Shumenov in the 11th round of their fight.
Fans are still disappointed that a Kovalev fight is a long shot right now, but a Hopkins fight still provides great intrigue. In fact, Stevenson fighting the 49-year-old could potentially bring in more money and viewers because of Hopkins' longevity and name recognition. Hopkins, who is one of the best defensive fighters of his era, will have to try to ward off the wrecking ball that Stevenson is.
Hopkins is looking to unify the title in the light heavyweight division; he currently holds the IBF and the WBA titles. Stevenson has the WBC belt, and Hopkins wants it before he’s 50. After his fight with Shumenov, Hopkins told Showtime's Jim Gray that he wants the 36-year-old boxer next.
"Stevenson, I'm coming to Canada. I'm getting my papers together," he said.
But it wouldn’t be boxing if there weren’t obstacles preventing the fight. The IBF is ordering Hopkins to fight the winner of Anatoliy Dudchenko and Nadjib Mohammedi, who fight on June 21. Both are relatively unknown to the boxing world. However, it appears that IBF President Daryl Peoples will allow an attempt at a unification bout to triumph a mandatory title defense.
According to Lem Satterfield of Ring Magazine, Peoples had this to say about the situation:
"As soon as their fight is over, he'll be ordered to begin negotiations. But he can ask to unify the titles and that would take precedence over his mandatory."
If Stevenson beats Fonfara like he is supposed to, then we might just see a fight worth watching. The question is, can Hopkins still win at his age?
He has shown he can still beat some of the better names in the light heavyweight division. But will Stevenson be too much for him? Or will Hopkins be able to impress the mass public and pull off yet another amazing win at the age of 49. Let’s hope we get to find out the answer to that this fall.
Follow Evan on Twitter @Emoneyball22.