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Adonis Stevenson or Sergey Kovalev: Who wins the must-have battle at light heavyweight?

Light heavyweight sluggers Adonis Stevenson and Sergey Kovalev are red-hot and in a perfect world, would be headed straight to a showdown. Who would win if they went head-to-head?

Ed Mulholland/HBO
Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

Last night from Quebec City on HBO Boxing After Dark, Adonis "Superman" Stevenson and Sergey "Krusher" Kovalev made year-ending statements with stoppage wins over Tony Bellew and Ismayl Sillakh, leading fans to further desire a fight between the two powerful light heavyweight titleholders.

Stevenson (23-1, 20 KO) pounded out his win over Bellew in the sixth round, while Kovalev (23-0-1, 21 KO) smashed Sillakh early in round two. It's been a big breakout year for both fighters, with Stevenson going 4-0 in 2013, avenging his only career defeat against Darnell Boone before moving up to light heavyweight to knock out Chad Dawson and win the WBC title, followed by dominant defenses against Tavoris Cloud and Bellew.

Kovalev went 4-0 as well, destroying Gabriel Campillo (TKO-3), Cornelius White (TKO-3), Nathan Cleverly (TKO-4), and Sillakh.

For now, it doesn't look like the fight is a real priority for Team Stevenson. Understandably, the 36-year-old fighter and his promoter Yvon Michel are looking to maximize Stevenson's earnings, because it may be a short window as a top fighter given his age, though he's short on ring miles.

Stevenson said last night that he would fight Kovalev if HBO puts up the big money, but that "fans in Quebec" want to see him fight Carl Froch or Bernard Hopkins. On paper, it would seem both of those fights would be worth bigger money, but Stevenson would almost certainly have to travel to face Froch, who has given no indication he's looking to move up to 175, either, and Hopkins is nearing his 49th birthday and is himself looking to make the most money he can. There's also the fact that a Stevenson-Hopkins clash would have to be on Showtime, given that Bernard is a Golden Boy fighter/executive, and Stevenson and Michel have been working with HBO, who surely would like to keep that relationship strong. As for Kovalev, he's seemingly open to anything.

Let's say the fight happened. Who would you pick to win? Would Kovalev trounce Stevenson as he's done his other recent foes, or would Stevenson's southpaw stance and straight left hand be trouble for the Russian? And is there any chance it goes the distance?

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