Sakio Bika has experienced reality TV success and won a world championship at 168 pounds. Yet the tough-nosed fighter and former champion of “The Contender” has felt overlooked at times for his fight against 175-pound world champion Adonis Stevenson on Saturday in Quebec City.
Much of the media attention has centered on a potential showdown between Adonis Stevenson and unbeaten Sergey Kovalev. The continuous speculation finally caused Bika’s trainer, Kevin Cunningham, to boil over during a recent media event with Stevenson and Bika.
“What the [expletive] are we doing here, man?” Cunningham said. “This is getting my fighter fired up … I don’t know why Sakio is even [here].”
There’s no doubt that Sakio Bika (32-6-3, 21 KOs) is the underdog in the bout, which will be televised live on CBS. He will be fighting for the first time at 175 pounds, and has had difficulties against southpaws like the powerful Stevenson (25-1, 21 KOs).
But Bika has never been knocked out in his career, and Stevenson realizes his opponent’s "toughness and awkward style" and ability to "land from any angle” makes him a threat in the ring.
"Bika will be in my face," Stevenson said. "One punch can change anything.”
The deeper Bika can take the fight, the more it could work in his favor. He has fought into the 12th round 10 times in his career, including his last four bouts, compared to just twice for Stevenson.
“I’ve seen a few fights where it seemed like Stevenson’s gotten tired in the later rounds, and hopefully with Sakio’s high energy, awkwardness and rugged style, he can execute and take advantage of certain situations,” Cunningham said. “We’ll be applying a lot of pressure and forcing him to use up that energy during the middle to later rounds. We plan on putting a lot of pressure on him to give him a reason to be gassed in the later rounds, so hopefully that tendency he has of getting a little winded and whatnot shows up."
Stevenson will be making his fifth title defense since winning the championship with a first-round knockout of Chad Dawson in June 2013, and the Haitian-turned-Canadian will be fighting before a partisan crowd at the Pepsi Coliseum.
“I don't know if he can handle the pressure,” Bika said. “He's knocked people out, but I've never been knocked out. On Saturday, I'll be the one to knock him out.”
Get full details on Stevenson vs Bika.