It took longer for Adonis Stevenson to get to the ring last Saturday than it did for him to knock Jesus Gonzales out.
After making short work of “El Martillo” and producing an immediate knockout of the year contender, the 34-year-old southpaw has become the second Canadian in the conversation for marquee matchups in the super middleweight division.
“When he is the mandatory, we don’t want to be in a position where the networks say, we don’t know him, he doesn’t have the credentials,” Stevenson’s promoter Yvon Michel told RingTV.com before the bout.
He likely didn’t think he’d have that issue solved within 99 seconds of the opening ring bell that night. Within minutes, footage of the knockout had circulated to sportscasts across Canada, and soon after, all over YouTube.com for the boxing community to see.
Following Stevenson’s victory over Aaron Pryor Jr. last December, the hard-hitting southpaw called out provincial mate Lucian Bute. While he is now the No. 2 rated challenger for Bute’s IBF 168-pound strap, he broadened his horizons following the Gonzales starching, mentioning the names of Mikkel Kessler, Carl Froch and Arthur Abraham.
As much as things are really getting started for “Superman,” they might also be coming to a close. At 34 years of age, the clock is ticking, and Michel is well aware.
“Adonis is 34 years old, but he’s a young 34 years old. He reminds me a lot of Sergio Martinez in that respect. He really boomed late in his career,” said Michel. “In our opinion, 2012 is the year of Adonis Stevenson.”
If 2012 is going to be the year of Adonis Stevenson, then Michel is hoping that Eldeider “Storm” Alvarez is the runner-up.
Alvarez was slated to face veteran Otis Griffin last weekend in Montreal on Stevenson’s undercard, however the fight was cancelled one day prior. At the weigh-in, Griffin arrived wanting to talk business with Michel. Griffin said he didn’t know the fight was televised (it was, on Canadian PPV and Fight NOW TV), or that the arena was that big (didn’t take much research to find out the Bell Centre is the biggest arena in the NHL), and as a result, he wanted more than the agreed upon $11,500.
Essentially, Griffin was hoping to back Groupe Yvon Michel into a corner, banking on the fact that without his fight, there would not be enough content (or quality content) to fill up the broadcast. His bluff was called, as the opening bout featuring Baha Laham and Csaba Toth was simply bumped to a six round affair from four rounds, and the night continued as planned.
Given the hostile dealings between Griffin and GYM, it’s unlikely that the Alvarez bout will ever happen. “Storm,” nonetheless, has a torrid schedule ahead of him, according to his promoter.
“He’s moving at the pace of his talent,” said Michel. “We believe he is there now. We believe that within 12 fights, Eleider Alvarez will be ready to fight for a world championship. He’s that good. He’s that talented.”
With bigger fights comes a bigger audience, and it might not be long before Alvarez graduates from domestic pay per views and onto American premium cable. Michel says that the HBO staff has been watching Alvarez’s progression since his fourth pro bout.
“We were in a meeting with HBO people not that long ago,” recalls Michel, “we were talking about Jean Pascal, David Lemieux, and then the conversation switched to Canelo Alvarez and at one point, the representative of HBO said, ‘so how about your Alvarez?’”
Kevin Bizier might not be a household name in the worldwide boxing landscape, but the up-and-coming welterweight is big news in Quebec City. Last December, Bizier co-headlined a card there, pounding out a 12-round decision over veteran Lanardo Tyner. The show, which also saw Antonin Decarie defeat Victor Lupo, was expected to be a box office disaster. A week prior, Joachim Alcine and David Lemieux had squared off in Montreal, and in general, events near Christmas are risky business.
Nonetheless, Bizier brought in enough fanfare for the event to succeed.
He’ll be counted on again on March 24, as he is tentatively slated to return at the Bell Centre as part of the next instalment of Yvon Michel’s Fast and Furious series. More dates are desired in Quebec City for the series; however Michel has made it clear that when they return, they want it to be with Bizier.
Corey Erdman is also the host of RingTV Radio. Follow him on Twitter @corey_erdman