Steve Cunningham had made his intentions to move to the heavyweight division clear a little while back, but now the former two-time cruiserweight titlist has signed with Kathy Duva's Main Events and made it official.
"I am very excited about this new chapter and signing with Main Events," said Cunningham in a press release. "I'm looking forward to working closely with them as we plan my entry into the heavyweight division. It is going to be a welcome change to be fighting close to home again."
Cunningham, from Philadelphia, has fought in Germany for the last couple of years after signing with Sauerland Event, a move that was necessary after his career had stalled under Don King. It was also necessary simply because Europe is where the cruiserweight division matters.
With the move to heavyweight, the 36-year-old Cunningham will be able to stay home and still get attractive fights. He's lost two in a row, both to Yoan Pablo Hernandez. In October of last year, he dropped a very controversial technical decision, and in February, lost a grueling rematch on points.
"Moving to heavyweight has always been a move I knew I would make at some point. After my last fight we sat down and looked at our options. It was either continue at cruiserweight and go for another world title, but I felt like, 'what's the point?' I have been there and done that twice; or I could finally make the move to heavyweight. This felt like the right thing to do."
Cunningham (24-4, 12 KO) will have the same skeptics that any cruiser moving up faces, and there are valid concerns. He hasn't shown the greatest chin over his career, but he's also been a good survivor, and never stopped. Will his (already limited) power carry up? And at his age, is he simply too old to become a factor in the division?
Kathy Duva of Main Events feels that Cunningham will do just fine.
"Steve Cunningham's decision to move up to boxing's top division will make the US heavyweight scene that much more lively and interesting," said Duva. "At 6'3" Steve certainly has the frame to carry more weight and gain strength. We look forward to watching Steve test his skills against the best the division has to offer, and expect fireworks."
One thing can be considered likely if not certain: Cunningham won't be boring, no matter how he does in the new division.