Famed boxing trainer Emanuel Steward passed away in 2012 at the age of 68, but his words live on in the knuckles of Adonis Stevenson.
When Stevenson first came to Steward’s Detroit-based Kronk Gym in 2012, he had little name recognition outside of his native Canada.
Stevenson’s representatives had been to Los Angeles and met with numerous well-known trainers, none of whom wanted to work with their fighter.
Steward, though, saw Stevenson for what he was: a raw talent long on ability, short on technique.
For Steward, it was all about getting Stevenson’s fists and feet in sync with one another.
“It started with my balance,” recalls Stevenson, one of the last fighters Steward worked with. “He told me, ‘You have tremendous power, but first we’re going to train you on your balance.’”
Steward’s tutelage worked.
In the three years since Stevenson first visited Kronk, only one opponent has gone the distance with him as he’s become one of the sport’s most electrifying knockout artists.
Steward also urged Stevenson, who was campaigning at 168 pounds at the time, to move up in weight and challenge some of the big names in the 175-pound division.
“Before Emanuel passed away, he said, ‘If you have a chance to fight Chad Dawson or Tavoris Cloud, take the fight. You’ll knock them out,’” Stevenson recalls.
He would heed Steward’s words and, in fact, KO both former champs, beginning with Dawson in 2013.
Prior to the fight, Dawson taunted Stevenson by mocking his relatively low profile at the time, telling Stevenson that he had to Google his name to find out who he was. It proved to be a fateful jab.
“I told him, ‘You know what, Chad? After the fight, Google me,”’ Stevenson remembers with a laugh. “‘You will know who I am then.’”