As you may know already, "The Ring" has stripped Adonis Stevenson of his light heavyweight title. Why? Because he hasn't fought a top five contender in over two years. Mr. Stevenson now finds himself ranked number two on "The Ring's" light heavyweight list...behind, you guessed it, Sergey Kovalev.
There are those who find the stripping of Stevenson to be no big deal, including the highly regarded and excellent ESPN fight journalist Dan Rafael. Yet, with all due respect to Rafael and others, "The Ring's" decision is a relevant one indeed. While the publication is neither a major sanctioning body nor an arbitrator of who is and isn't a "lineal" champion, it remains a much read and highly regarded outlet.
That means Stevenson has been publicly put down here in a massive and official way by an institution of note for his choice of opponents. That's not good for any fighter, much less one who has been under blistering criticism for the foes he's recently fought, as well as the foes he hasn't (Sergey Kovalev, Jean Pascal, Bernard Hopkins), as Stevenson has.
While Stevenson still holds the lineal and WBC world light heavyweight championships, he might well be on the road to becoming a nonentity in the bigger scheme of things. This in and of itself is startling. "The man who beat the man" in a major boxing division used to be, as a rule, held in high regard. Those days are over, however, and Stevenson now finds himself close to becoming a nominal monarch and nothing more.
The question is, does the well paid, Al Haymon backed Stevenson actually care?