Wednesday, August 1, 2012
Stevenson-George moves to FNF
By Dan Rafael
The super middleweight title eliminator between Quebec's power-punching Adonis Stevenson and Chicago's Donovan George -- in need of a date after the card it was supposed to be on was postponed -- will headline the Aug. 17 season finale of ESPN2's "Friday Nights Fights," Leon Margules, George's co-promoter, told ESPN.com on Wednesday.
The winner of the bout will become the mandatory challenger for super middleweight titlist Carl Froch.
Stevenson-George was originally scheduled to take place Aug. 11 at the Bell Centre in Montreal on a Showtime card headlined by the light heavyweight title fight between Tavoris Cloud and Jean Pascal. However, two weeks ago Cloud-Pascal was postponed after Pascal suffered a right-hand injury in training. A new date has not been determined, though the earliest it would be is October, much longer than the promoters wanted to wait to put on the Stevenson-George match.
That left Margules and co-promoter Dominic Pesoli, and Stevenson promoter Yvon Michel, hunting for a new date for the bout.
Originally, they thought Showtime would accommodate the bout as a main event of a "ShoBox: The New Generation" card, but the network declined, Margules said.
As it turned out, ESPN2 was looking for a new fight to headline the season finale because its original match had fallen apart.
That card was supposed to feature junior welterweight Karim Mayfield, fighting in his hometown of San Francisco, against Mauricio Herrera. But Herrera withdrew a few weeks ago because of an injury, and then, before a replacement could be found, Mayfield also dropped out with an injury.
So it was a natural fit for ESPN2 to pick up Stevenson-George, which, according to Margules, likely will take place at the Buffalo Run Casino in Miami, Okla. Margules said he expected that part of the deal to be finalized on Thursday.
Opening the card will be junior middleweight contender Carlos Molina (19-5-2, 6 KOs) against Damian Frias (19-4-1, 10 KOs) in a scheduled 10-rounder. The fight will be Molina's first since he suffered a highly controversial 10th-round disqualification loss against James Kirkland on March 24. Molina was outclassing Kirkland but was disqualified after one of Molina's cornermen entered the ring after the bell rang to end the round -- but before referee Jon Schorle had completed a count that Molina easily could have beaten after being knocked down.
"We've been trying to get Carlos a premium cable fight, but he has to do this to keep busy because none of the top guys are looking to fight him," Margules said.
Margules said they were planning for the card to take place at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago, where George and Molina are from, but that was scrapped on Wednesday because of an obscure regulation.
"Chicago has a 20-day rule where you can't file for a permit to put on a boxing show inside 20 days of the event," Margules said. "I didn't even know the rule existed until I was filling out the permit form. So it looks like we're going to Buffalo Run, which is a nice site where they have had a lot of boxing shows."
Margules said he was able to work out the deal with Michel very easily and was pleased that Stevenson had been willing to come to George's hometown had they been able to put the fight in Chicago.
"It was able to happen because Yvon is my dear friend and he was very reasonable and fair in terms of negotiations to move this fight," Margules said.
Now trained by International Boxing Hall of Famer Emanuel Steward, Stevenson (18-1, 15 KOs), 34, has knocked out his past five opponents, some in murderous fashion, since his lone defeat, an upset second-round knockout loss to Darnell Boone in April 2010.
The 27-year-old George (22-2-1, 19 KOs) is coming off a 10-round unanimous decision loss to undefeated Edwin Rodriguez on March 17.