Mike Coppinger has reported that sources have told him that Stevenson will be fighting Rafael Rivera in his next fight. This event is supposed to be taking place in Las Vegas behind closed doors on June 9th however there hasn’t been an official announcement yet. I’m not sure this event will actually go ahead as its under a month to go and it still hasn’t been announced and while that doesn’t matter with no tickets to be sold you would think the boxers would need 8 weeks to prepare. While the boxers could have been told a few weeks ago it is improbable that they have been able to get any sparring done and with how Bob Arum has talked about the virus i’m surprised that hes rushing back so quickly.
I thought instead of just repeating the same thing that every other website is doing with the Stevenson news I’d go over what I think the plan is for Stevenson and Conlan over the next few years.
Stevenson will have this easy defense of his title before moving up to 130 pounds where he will fight someone like Andrew Cancio before going after one of the champions. I think its likely that he ends up getting a vacant WBO shot at some point after Jamel Herring moves up as hes a big super featherweight and has talked about wanting to be a two division champ. He’ll then get given fighters he can beat but have a decent name such as Masayuki Ito, Miguel Roman among others. This is going quite far into the future so I could get it completely wrong but Top Rank are very good at moving their people around and beefing up their resumes with low risk fights.
I’m only mentioning Conlan because hes one of the main reasons I think Top Rank will pressure Stevenson to move up. Conlan is a big draw and so Top Rank want him to get a world title so they can get him to headline at Madison Square Garden on St Patricks day which will make them a lot of money. Hes very highly ranked by the WBO right now and if Stevenson vacates then he would fight for the title and with Top Ranks relationship with the WBO they would be pretty much able to choose his opponent. They are obviously trying to get him a vacant title shot and have no confidence in him beating Stevenson which is why that fight never gets talked about even though both are with Top Rank.
Once Conlan wins the vacant title he’ll reel off a few defenses versus lower tier opposition before getting a gift decision over a decent fighter and moving up a division while blaming the weight cut for his performance. At this point who knows what happens as really Top Rank have done their job as soon as they manage to gift him a world title later this year.
This is one of the more obvious plans that Top Rank has made and most people that are involved with boxing understand what is going to happen. I’m not a fan of people being maneuvered into getting a vacant title shot but I can also admire the absolute machine that Top Rank is and how they get fighters who aren’t world level and make them into world champions through clever match making.