HBO has opted not to renegotiate its deal with RING and WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson, and his scheduled May 24 defense against Andrzej Fonfara at Bell Centre in Montreal is headed to Showtime.
The story was first reported by Yahoo! Sports.
Showtime publicist Chris DeBlasio confirmed to RingTV.com that the network's boss, Stephen Espinoza, has closed a deal with promoter Yvon Michel to televise Stevenson-Fonfara on that network.
"It's on for May 24 on Showtime. The deal is done with Yvon Michel,"' said DeBlasio. "Adonis Stevenson is someone that we have had our eye on for a long time. … We're really excited to have him in late May."
Showtime already is the home of Golden Boy Promotions' 175-pound counterparts Bernard Hopkins and Beibut Shumenov, who will put their respective IBF and WBA belts on the line against each other on April 19 on the network.
Given that HBO has severed ties with Golden Boy, and Hopkins has expressed the desire to face Stevenson, that could well be in the cards should he beat Shumenov.
"Obviously, that is a fight that would make good sense," said DiBlasio. "Stephen and Showtime have set up an agreement with Adonis Stevenson whereby there are a number of opportunities for him should he bet by Fonfara on May 24."
Hopkins declined to focus on Stevenson upon hearing the news from RingTV.com.
"I just want to concentrate on my fight. I'm not trying to be sarcastic. I'm concentrating on my training, and my thing is to just worry about April 19, because that's first, and I have to take care of that business first. I'm not underestimating anybody," said Hopkins, during an interview with RingTV.com.
"I don't even want a controversy, whether it's considered to be in my favor or not in my favor. I just want to get a clear, concise victory on April 19, and a knockout would be perfect, because I haven't had one since the dinosaur years. So that's all that I want to talk about. I don't want to talk about anybody else's situation."
In February, Stevenson (23-1, 20 knockouts) signed with powerful advisor Al Haymon, most of whom's fighters are promoted by Golden Boy and fight on the Showtime network.
Neither Stevenson nor his promoter, Yvon Michel, could be reached for an immediate comment.
Sergey Kovalev will defend his WBO 175-pound title against Cederic Agnew on HBO on Saturday. Kovalev's promoter, Kathy Duva, of Main Events, was incensed regarding the development, adding that her boxer has a mulit-fight deal with HBO.
"On Jan. 24, we made a deal. We made a deal with Yvon Michel and with HBO, and we sent e-mails back and forth. Yvon assured me in an e-mail that Adonis Stevenson, himself, had signed off on the deal. So as far as I'm concerned, we had a deal, and this guy, Stevenson, backed out of a deal. I don't think that's okay. I think that it's pretty cowardly, and, it's very, very dishonest. I don't get it. You can't make more money fighting Bernard Hopkins than he was going to make in this deal," said Duva.
"It's just not mathematically possible. This isn't about money. This is about finding any way that he could think of to get out of this fight. It's too bad. When you exchange memos and you agree on all of the terms, then you have a deal. That doesn't make him much of a champion in my eyes. Clearly, he's afraid, and probably would have found a way out of this fight anyway. Sergey's got a multi-fight deal with HBO, and they're the only network that I know that has taken a fighter and turned him into a superstar in this country, and they're going to do that with Sergey."
Watch a one-on-one interview with Duva regarding the Stevenson-Kovalev situation on the player below:
Video by Bill Emes