The 38 year-old, who holds the WBC title, has long been linked to a high-profile clash against big-punching Kovalev despite constant disagreements between both camps regarding terms.
A fight between the pair looks further away than ever following an ultimatum by Kathy Duva, Kovalev’s promoter, that the fight must take place solely on the HBO network. As Stevenson is loyal to rivals Showtime, a unification has already fallen through for a prospective June date. Add to that the fact that former super-middleweight king Andre Ward is set to be up next up for Kovalev in November, and Stevenson faces a wait of at least a year whilst ‘Krusher’ takes the spotlight.
In a recent interview with WBN, Stevenson stated that he was far from impressed with Kovalev’s recent double victory over Jean Pascal, and believes until he fights a dangerous opponent, or they ultimately meet, there is nobody out there to challenge the Russian – not even Ward.
“I wasn’t surprised when he fought Pascal again because who else is he going to fight? He fights Pascal because he knows he has a big chance against Pascal,” Stevenson exclusively told World Boxing News.
“Listen, Kovalev is good and he knocks people out, yeah, yeah and is making noise, but soon he’s going to fight a power puncher and it will be different.
“Everybody knows Pascal cannot punch and now Kovalev is talking about fighting Andre Ward soon. Ward is a good boxer and has the technical style, but at the end of the day, Andre Ward doesn’t connect like a power puncher.
“I know Kovalev will not have to respect Ward, so he’s going to try and knock him out too. But listen, soon Kovalev will fight a power-puncher and it will be totally different.
“Kovalev can punch, but Andre Ward has just moved up to the weight. Ward has good technique but he doesn’t have the power. If you fight Kovalev, you need the power to surprise him and if you want to beat him or knock him out or he won’t respect you and he’ll come get you.”
Kovalev could now use his summer outing to complete one of his mandatory duties as WBA, WBO and IBF champion, with Dominican Felix Valera, Dominic Boesel of Germany and Artur Beterbiev all possibilities.