Trainer Javan ‘Sugar’ Hill reflects back on the chance encounter between Adonis Stevenson and Sergey Kovalev in Las Vegas

Sergey Kovalev and Adonis Stevenson in Las Vegas in October of 2013 at the Top Rank Gym 


By Chris Robinson

On Oct. 12 of last year, two-division world champion Tim Bradley produced perhaps his most complete performance as a professional in edging future Hall-of-Famer Juan Manuel Marquez via split-decision over 12 tense and tactical rounds inside of the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada.

While the fight was a nice chess battle, there was actually plenty of news and developments taking place outside of the squared circle that week. During any notable fight week in Las Vegas, you are always sure to find your share of boxing notables around town and there were no shortage of luminaries on hand.

It was about a year ago that serious buzz began building regarding a huge light heavyweight duel between fellow champions Sergey Kovalev and Adonis Stevenson.

At the time, Kovalev was fresh off of a title-winning effort in the UK, as he hammered out hometown favorite Nathan Cleverly in under four rounds. So too was the hype beginning to increase for Stevenson, who had just snatched a pair of stoppage victories over former champs Chad Dawson and Tavoris Cloud in impressive fashion.

It turns out that Kovalev and Stevenson, who have since begun taking shots at one another in the media, actually crossed paths with one another during that week, as they both were in town for the Bradley-Marquez duel.

Speaking exclusively with’s Joseph Herron, Stevenson’s trainer Javan “Sugar” Hill explained that Adonis and Kovalev had actually first briefly interacted with one another inside of the nearby Top Rank Gym. Kovalev was finishing up a workout while Stevenson was looking to get started.

After that brief moment, possibly the next day, the two prizefighters would have some kind words for one another while Stevenson and his team were out in the city looking for a bite to eat. They spotted Kovalev, who approached them and exchanged pleasantries with Stevenson.

“It was just two champions talking,” stated Hill. “It was funny for me to be right there watching and listening. I told Sergey ‘You’re a good fighters and I know you guys will meet up.’ It was nice to have been sitting there with him at the time.”

Interesting and refreshing to see such respect on the table given the high tensions surrounding the match.

Kovalev has since elevated his status to a new level with his victory over Bernard Hopkins last month while Stevenson too has continued to rack up victories despite some public criticism regarding the way his career is moving.

Kovalev faces off with the very formidable Jean Pascal on March 14 on HBO and Stevenson has already declared his interest in facing the winner of that match.

*** Please check below for the FULL audio clip from Javan “Sugar” Hill

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