Entering 2015 fans were optimistic that the anticipated showdown between light heavyweight champions Adonis “Superman” Stevenson (26-1 , 21 KOs) and Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (27-0-1 , 24 KOs) would finally go down this years. Both fighters had scheduled fight in the first quarter of the year but were heavily favored to win. Kovalev was perceived to have the tougher task with former world champion Jean Pascal as his opponent and this turned out to be true. Pascal would give Kovalev all he could handle and stunned him a few times throughout the fight. In the end Kovalev’s power and overall skill were too much for the very game Pascal. Kovalev would win by TKO in round 8. The Kovalev-Pascal bout was actually a WBC Eliminator so the win placed Kovalev as Stevenson’s mandatory. Stevenson was present for the bout and stated afterwards that he would do his part to make the showdown with Kovalev happen.
Stevenson still had to take care of business in the ring a few weeks later with rugged former world champion Sakio Bika. Though Bika was moving up from the super middleweight division he had never been stopped in more than 40 professional fights. Decisioning Bika was expected but stopping him would be an impressive feat for Stevenson. In the end Stevenson dropped Bika twice but as expected he would have to settle for a unanimous decision. The most important things were that he came out of the fight healthy and with the victory.
It was already known that after Kovalev defeated Pascal he would have 90 days to defend his IBF title against mandatory Frenchman Nadjib Mohammedi (37-3, 23 KOs). Assuming he defeated Mohammedi a showdown with Stevenson was the idea for the fall. The only snag now was that Kovalev is under contract with HBO. Kovalev-Stevenson was headed to purse bid but Main Events withdrew knowing that powerful advisor Al Haymon who has Stevenson in his stable of fighters could win the purse bid. This would have put Main Events in a very tough predicament as Haymon could have forced the fight to be on Showtime or another pay channel that wasn’t HBO. Sadly there really isn’t any other high profile options for either guy to fight at 175. The once promising matchup of the divisions’ top two guys now looks very unlikely for 2015.