Does too much rest lead to too much rust for 38-year-old boxers? Adonis Stevenson is about to find out.
Returning to the ring for the first time in more than 10 months, Stevenson (27-1, 22 KOs) will make the seventh defense of his 175-pound world title on July 29 when he faces fellow hard-hitting southpaw Thomas Williams Jr. (20-1, 14 KOs) at Centre Videotron in Quebec City (Spike, 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).
Another intriguing 175-pound battle will precede Stevenson-Williams, as former world champion Chad Dawson (34-4, 19 KOs) of New Haven, Connecticut, matches up against undefeated Colombian contender Eleider Alvarez (19-0, 10 KOs) in a scheduled 10-rounder.
Adonis Stevenson was last in the ring on September 11, when he dispatched Tommy Karpency just 21 seconds into Round 3 for his 14th consecutive victory. The quick finish against Karpency—which followed a unanimous decision over Sakio Bika in April 2015—means the man known as “Superman” will have donned his cape for barely two rounds over more than 15 months when he faces Williams.
Not that the lack of action is at all concerning to Stevenson.
“I will demonstrate that, like fine wine, I am even better with age,” said the native of Haiti and longtime resident of Canada, where he’s had all but two of his professional fights. “Even though I haven’t boxed in 10 months, I’ve never left the gym, and I’m willing and ready to defend my crown.”
Stevenson needed all of 76 seconds to dethrone Dawson back in June 2013. It was his eighth consecutive stoppage victory since suffering his only pro defeat, a second-round TKO to unheralded Darnell Boone in April 2012.
Stevenson has held onto his title with a string of six victories over two years, with four of those coming by knockout. In fact, during Stevenson’s 14-fight winning streak, only two opponents—Bika and Andrzej Fonfara—have made it to the finish line.
Williams will attempt to halt that streak and continue one of his own. The 28-year-old native of Fort Washington, Maryland, earned his first world title shot in upset fashion, knocking out Edwin Rodriguez in the second round on April 30 in Carson, California.
The victory was Williams’ third in a row—and second straight second-round stoppage—since he fell to former 175-pound champion Gabriel Campillo in August 2014. In that contest, Williams dominated the first two rounds, but in the fourth, Campillo opened a cut over Williams’ left eye and bloodied his nose.
Williams’ demeanor changed immediately, as he fought more tentatively and frequently pawed at his eye, which Campillo repeatedly targeted. After the fifth round, the ringside physician examined Williams’ eye and ordered referee Ray Corona to stop the fight.
It was easily the low point in Williams’ career, but he’s taken great satisfaction in how he’s bounced back to put himself in position to fight for his first world championship.
“There were many people who had lost trust in me two years ago after my loss, but here I am,” said the 6-foot-1 Williams, who will have a two-inch height advantage over Stevenson. “There were circumstances that led to that result, but I don’t make excuses, and that is in the past.
“I’m coming off of the best performance of my career, and I’m ready to hold that belt on July 29. Stevenson has never faced a puncher like me.”
For a complete look at Stevenson vs Williams, visit our fight page.