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Stevenson looks to battle Froch for IBF title

Associated Press

1/4/2013 4:34:39 PM

MONTREAL -- Adonis Stevenson's next fight will be for a world super-middleweight title, but it's unclear who the Canadian boxer be facing in the ring.

Promoter Yvon Michel said the International Boxing Federation has called a purse bid on Jan. 15 for a bout between top-ranked contender Stevenson and champion Carl Froch.

It's a fight Froch (30-2) doesn't want right away, and the Englishman may choose to give up his championship belt if he and promoter Eddie Hearn succeed in arranging the bout they really covet against World Boxing Association champion Mikkel Kessler (46-2) of Denmark.

If Froch opts out, Stevenson (19-1) would fight the next highest-ranked available opponent for the IBF title. That could be American Edwin Rodriguez (22-0), fellow Montrealer Lucian Bute (31-1) or South African Thomas Oosthuizen (21-0-1).

"I think it's going to be Froch," Michel said Friday. "I may be mistaken, but they had a full month to negotiate a unification fight and they haven't been able to come to an agreement with Kessler.

"I don't know what would change drastically for them to reach an agreement, especially since Froch would no longer be IBF champ. It would no longer be a unification."

The winner of a purse bid gets to decide when and where a fight is held, and Michel hopes to make a big offer to have it either in Montreal or Quebec City in March or April.

Froch has scored victories in his hometown of Nottingham, England over Jean Pascal of Laval, Que., in 2008 and Bute last May 26, when he battered the previously unbeaten left-hander in five rounds to take the IBF title. Hearn would likely battle just as hard to have it in Nottingham.

Either way, Stevenson, a power-hitting southpaw, said he is ready to face the physical and highly experienced Froch. Both are 35.

"His style is good for me," said Stevenson. "He doesn't run.

"I really hope it's him. I prefer if it's here. He beat Bute and Pascal and it would be big in Montreal. But if it's England, I'll go there and bring back the title."

Froch has said he wants his next three bouts to be against Kessler, who beat him in a 12-round decision in 2010, Bute, who has a rematch clause from their first fight, and American Andre Ward, who beat him in 2011.

Froch's camp may want to put off the Bute rematch until the Romania native rebuilds his reputation after the one-sided loss in England. It seems Bute's close 12-round win over Russian Denis Grachev in November was unconvincing.

Bute is scheduled to fight March 23 against an undetermined opponent.

Stevenson has won three in a row since he began working at the famous Kronk Gym in Detroit under Emanuel Steward. The Hall of Fame trainer died in the fall, but his nephew Javan (Sugar) Hill has taken over the work he started.

At Kronk, Stevenson has managed to add some footwork and movement to his game while remaining a devastating power puncher.

"Manny's still in my memory, but his nephew has a lot of experience too," said Stevenson. "I'll bring back the title for Emanuel and for Quebec."

There is an opening to fight Oosthuizen on an HBO card in March, but Michel wants to see what Froch's camp decides first.

Another of Michel's fighters, middleweight David Lemieux, is scheduled to headline a Feb. 18 card in Montreal against Jose Miguel Torres, but he may have to pull out with a hand injury. Lemieux is to see a doctor on Monday to determine if he can fight.

Pascal will try to win back the WBC light heavyweight title when he faces American Chad Dawson in March.

Canadian Bermane Stiverne's heavyweight elimination bout with American Chris Arreola has been moved from Jan. 26 to March 2 in Los Angeles.