RING and WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson took shots at Sergey Kovalev, claiming his rival has a "weak chin" and that his "defense is terrible" as part of an ongoing internet and media squabble between the two boxers.
Stevenson (23-1, 20 knockouts) promised to give the WBO titleholder "a good ass-whooping in the ring" if they fight, which is something Stevenson's promoter Yvon Michel and Kovalev's promoter Kathy Duva want to happen this year.
Stevenson has a May 24 bout against Andrzej Fonfara in the works. If Stevenson is able to defeat Fonfara, and Kovalev (23-0-1, 21 KOs) is successful against Cedric Agnew on March 29, Duva and Michel said the duo could be matched at the end of the summer or early fall.
"I would like to fight Stevenson right now. Last year, in my division, the best boxer was Stevenson," said Kovalev, during a recent interview with RingTV.com. "I think that I need to beat Stevenson. After that, I would be in first place in my division. I'm ready to fight any fight in my division against any champion."
Stevenson reached out to RingTV.com on a Facebook message to say that he welcomes Kovalev's challenge.
"My answer to Sergey's weak chin is that, first of all, let's make it clear: No one is scared of your sorry ass. I fight for a living, and in order to live in this world, we need money. So I fight for money," said Stevenson, a 36-year-old southpaw.
"If the money is right, I will be more than glad to come give you a good ass-whooping in the ring. Besides having power, you have nothing special. Your defense is terrible, and it won't be to hard to find your big ugly head with that long-ass chin."
On Feb. 18, Stevenson signed with manager/advisor Al Haymon with the goal of unifying the 175-pound division. By aligning himself with Haymon, regarded by many as the most powerful and influential man in boxing, Stevenson joins Floyd Mayweather Jr., Danny Garcia, Marcos Maidana, Lucas Matthysse, Adrien Broner and others.
Given his status with Haymon, Stevenson said it will take a lucrative deal to face Kovalev, whom he thinks needs him more than the other way around.
"They can hype your name in the boxing world as much as they want to, but at the end of the day, it's how much you are getting paid that matters. While I will fight for millions, you will keep fighting for thousands," said Stevenson.
"You can keep begging me to fight you so your broke ass can make some money. I won't fight you for a million dollars. It's got to be more than that. Skills pay the bills. The more skill you have, the more you get paid. So as I can see you don't have to much of it, because your ass is still broke."
Stevenson earned THE RING's Fighter of the Year award for 2013 with four knockouts over Darnell Boone, former titleholders Chad Dawson and Tavoris Cloud, and Tony Bellew.
Stevenson also targeted Kovalev's trainer, John David Jackson, claiming that the formert 154-pound and middleweight titleholder accused him of ducking Kovalev.
"Kovalev's trainer, John David Jackson, says that I'm scared," said Stevenson, whose sixth-round stoppage against Boone last March avenged his second-round knockout loss to the journeyman from April of 2010.
"But I've fought Chad Dawson and Tavoris Cloud back to back," said Stevenson. "Who has your guy fought? You're just talking s__t because your broke ass needs to make some money. By the way, we are going to fight in 2014."