December 1, 2015

Reign of Superman: Oscar's Ring Magazine "strips" the real world champion

Say goodbye to that RING belt Adonis
By Jeffrey Freeman — The recent Ring Magazine decision to strip Adonis Stevenson of their RING Light Heavyweight Championship title belt was an outrage, the obvious consequence of a compromised publication now owned by Oscar De La Hoya, the founder and big boss of Golden Boy Promotions, a boxing promotional outfit that once feuded long and hard with Bob Arum's Top Rank Promotions. This bad blood was a longtime disaster for the sport (and for its fans) and can easily be traced back to Oscar's alcoholism and former drug abuse. Sobriety has evidently not bettered The Golden Boy's judgement either.

In the past, when Oscar was an active boxer and a talented, popular world champion with legions of female fans, the grizzled old Ring staff (and the other boxing magazines of the day) were very critical of De La Hoya but they were always very fair and accurate. Fight fans loved it because they love the truth. Do they still? Oscar hated it for the opposite reason. He still does. This media scrutiny played on De La Hoya's myriad insecurities when professional journalists would routinely bypass his publicist's bullshit and more  accurately report on Oscar's inflated world title claims and other hyperbolic exaggerations.

After he retired and became a promoter, Oscar took his revenge, buying the Bible of Boxing for a song and ultimately firing all the best writers, replacing them with an easily manipulated cadre of dupes just happy to be there, all too glad to "do it for the mortgage" as they say. Efforts were taken by said dupes to alienate their core readership, spearheaded by the aforementioned firings (most notably of Hall of Famer Nigel Collins) and most recently by putting a hyped up little UFC cage fighter girl on their cover, a disgrace to boxing and an insult to the manly art of self-defense. It was pure irony when a pure media creation named Ronda Rousey was easily knocked out by Holly Holm, a former #1 Pound For Pound female boxer who proved the superiority of her core sport in a most dramatic way.

Holm's victory was also boxing's victory and The Ring had egg all over its new face.

Champ now knows green belt is better
All of this leads us back to Adonis "Superman" Stevenson, the undisputed light heavyweight champion of the world, a man whose claim to the linear throne is as iron clad as was Iron Mike's at heavyweight in 1988 after he knocked out Michael "The Man Who Beat The Man" Spinks in one round. You see, Stevenson too won his title with a smashing first round knockout, stopping champion Chad Dawson with one punch to begin his lineal, legitimate reign. Dawson you will remember was the first true conqueror of Bernard Hopkins, the one legendary fighter on whose back Sergey Kovalev has built his entire reputation as parallel "light heavyweight champion" of De La Hoya and Duva's bizarro world. Though not promoted by De La Hoya, Kovalev enjoys a familial relationship with Oscar, Golden Boy Promotions, and Ring Magazine because Oscar and The Ring are friendly with Kathy Duva and Main Events promotions, Kovalev's promoter.

How convenient...for all involved.

Fans all want Stevenson and Kovalev to "unify" and someday it might happen. There are well documented promotional issues currently standing in the way, put there by people who understand that the fight will be bigger for everybody -- later rather than sooner. As the reigning and defending world light heavyweight champion of the one and only known world, how has Stevenson performed in his duties? Is he a disgrace to the RING championship and worthy of being "stripped" by a "man" who once wore fishnet stockings and then lied for years about it? I'm sorry. I digress. It was an ironic bitch move by a little golden boy who was once so upset with the way The Ring treated him that he bought them out and shut them up himself. In addiction clinics, they say that people oftentimes victimize others in the same way they themselves were victimized in the past. That's just something for you and Oscar to think about.

Adonis successfully defends vs. Fonfara
Back in the real world, Stevenson has defended his championship six (6) times since winning it in 2013 (where titles are won and lost) in the ring. That's what you call a busy world champion. Who did Adonis fight while he and we all wait for ‪#‎SupermanKrusher‬ to materialize? One bum (Dmitry Sukhotsky), two former world champions (Tavoris Cloud and Sakio Bika), and three solid contenders (Tony Bellew, Tommy Karpency, & Andrzej Fonfara). The Polish tough-guy Fonfara is now arguably the best light heavyweight boxer in the world without a title belt. Superman fought that man and got off the canvas to beat him fair and square. Kovalev beat who exactly? Hopkins and Jean Pascal. Two light heavyweight champions who preceded the current one, Superman.

Oscar, Hopkins, Krusher, and Duva
Whatever justification The Ring used to "strip" Stevenson is a joke and an inside one at that. Kovalev is certainly a great young fighter, one of the best in the world, and he'd be an odds-on favorite to defeat Stevenson if and when the fight gets made. But only a fool would underestimate Superman Stevenson and only an even bigger fool would would use an editorially irresponsible bully pulpit to deny that he's the real world champion in the first place. How about taking a look at Canelo's catchweight claim Oscar. Oh right, that's not gonna happen. He's your Golden Boy and can do no wrong according to the magazine you've now knocked out better than any opponent you ever beat in the ring.

Written by Jeffrey Freeman—for The KO Digest