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Friday, November 29, 2013
Bellew set on spoiling Stevenson-Kovalev

By Shaun Brown
Special to ESPN.com


Tony Bellew insists he will be forced to overcome more than light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson and his fans Saturday at the Colisee de Quebec in Quebec City, Canada.

"The best way to say it is, I'm the fly in the ointment," he said.

Bellew also believes he will need to contend with far greater powers that are being seduced by a unification superfight in the distance involving the Haitian-born Stevenson, 36, and 175-pound titlist Sergey Kovalev, who defends his title against Ismayl Sillakh in the co-feature.

"I've said I'm under no illusions that a points decision is enough for me in Canada," said Bellew, when asked if he will have to take more risks than normal in this fight.

"I get it. I'm not just up against one of the most formidable fighters in the division, I'm up against HBO and I'm up against two rival promoters in Yvon Michel and Main Events. These guys all want a multimillion dollar blockbuster in Kovalev and Stevenson. They don't want me around. I'm a big f---ing bogeyman in this big plan that they have. HBO has big plans for the two of them. They want this superfight and I'm the stumbling block."

Bellew, 30, is making his second world title attempt after falling short in a 2011 grudge match against British rival Nathan Cleverly. Lessons have been learned and two years later, a more refined Bellew believes that not only is this his time, but that the defending champion will likely be overlooking him.

"I don't believe he's paying the same respect to me that his trainer, [Javan] 'Sugar' Hill, is," Bellew said. "Stevenson wants the big paydays, that's what he's about. Hill can do all the studying he wants for him but Stevenson is not studying me for three hours at a time on a DVD. He doesn't have the concentration levels, anyway. I've been studying him for hours on end. I know what his feet are going to do and I know his move after he shows a feint. I know what he's going to do all the time, I know what he's about.

"Stevenson is cocksure of himself. He believes his own hype. He said to me at the press conference to announce the fight, 'You're facing a big dog now.' And my response was, 'Are you having a f---ing laugh? All 5-foot-10 of you?' He was quite shocked, he now understands I'm not there to f--- about or boost his ego. I'm there to prove a point and it will be proven on Saturday night."