Promoter Yvon Michel said he's happy that his star fighter RING/WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson has signed with manager/advisor Al Haymon, during an interview with RingTV.com on Wednesday.
Michel characterized the move as a boon to Stevenson's goal of unifying the 175-pound division, despite what may appear to be potential road blocks to that path.
But while nearly all of Haymon's clients are promoted by Golden Boy and aligned with Showtime, Stevenson and Michel have ties with Showtime's network rival HBO, which has severed its relationship with Golden Boy.
At present, Michel and Stevenson are in negotiations for an HBO-televised May 24 bout against Andrzej Fonfara at Bell Centre in Montreal with intentions of eventually facing WBO counterpart Sergey Kovalev, another HBO fighter, in the summer.
In the meantime, Golden Boy had been targeting a 175-pound unification bout for the spring that would feature IBF beltholder Bernard Hopkins and WBA titleholder Beibut Shumenov and likely take place on Showtime.
Michel shared his thoughts in this Q&A:
RingTV.com: Your thoughts on Stevenson's signing?
Yvon Michel: This is great. It's a great addition to the team. I'm happy for Adonis, and I'm happy for us, too. I've already had conversations with Al Haymon. To have somebody on your side with his experience and with his knowledge, it's a great asset for everybody here.
RingTV.com: Do you have any concerns regarding any potential for adversarial developments between HBO and Haymon, who has a deep relationship with Golden Boy?
YM: It is something that is between HBO and them [Golden Boy] that doesn't have an impact on us. Haymon is working with Adonis, and I'm Adonis' promoter, and I have a good relationship with everybody at HBO and with Showtime.
So I don't see that it will create any problems. We're still talking with HBO to finalize things with Adonis, and this does not seem to bother anyone at HBO.
RingTV.com: Where are you on the Fonfara fight?
YM: Yes, we're still working on that. I still have some things to get finalized. For sure, now, with Al involved, I have to bring him up to date on where we were and everything, because he has to know where we're going.
So I'll take some time to discuss all of that with him. But, besides that, we're just moving on and we're still on course.
RingTV.com: Do you see this in any way affecting your goal of making a Stevenson-Kovalev fight on HBO?
YM: My belief is that Al Haymon is there for the benefit of Adonis, and that it will also have a beneficial impact for us. So, I don't see Adonis being affected. Adonis wants to fight Kovalev, and he has stated that several times.
Adonis' goal for 2014 still is to be in three fights and to be named The Fighter of The Year, and to unify the titles, and to be considered a top five fighter, pound-for-pound.
I spoke to Adonis about this, and he said, "Hey, I just want to get into the ring and knock people out." So, Al and I will discuss everything and Al and I will work to make sure that Adonis reaches his goal.
RingTV.com: So you see no barriers to making a bout between the winner of a potential Showtime-televised Hopkins-Shumenov fight?
YM: Look, Adonis has always said that he would like to fight Bernard Hopkins, and it just so happens that Hopkins is busy trying to work on a fight with Shumenov.
But I definitely see, down the road, a fight between Adonis and the winner of the fight between Hopkins and Shumenov for all of the titles in the light heavyweight division involved.