SAN DIEGO, May 24, 2014 – Adonis Stevenson was expected to make short work of Andrzej Fonfara of Poland in their light heavyweight contest Saturday in Montreal.
Stevenson blasted Fonfara halfway through the first round with a powerful left hand and it seemed the predictions would come true, showing the form that made Steveson 2013 Fighter of the Year.
But Fonfara managed to get out of the first round. He made it through the next, and the next. Fonfara took some heat as he landed several successful punches, and kept on coming. Fonfara stood up to Stevenson and showed he wasn’t intimidated by him.
It seemed the moment of reckoning arrived in the middle of the fifth round when Stevenson caught Fonfara with a body shot knockdown. Fonfara got up and – you guessed it – once again he refused to give up. Stevenson caught him with several more nasty shots to the body at the end of the round, but couldn’t finish the job just yet.
The supportive crowd at the Bell Centre in Montreal chanted “Superman, Superman” in support of their hometown champion Stevenson. Stevenson continued to work the body, eating a shot here and there from Fonfara, but nothing to worry about.
Then in round nine, Fonfara returned the favor and put a shocked Stevenson down on the canvas for only the second time in his career. Stevenson came back to life in the tenth, marshalling his power to take it to Fonfara. But he couldn’t overcome the desire and the heart of Fonfara. The fight went the distance and went to the scorecards.
It was a unanimous decision for Stevenson with judges John McKaie and John Woodburn scoring it 115-110, and Richard de Carufel 116-109.
After the fight, Stevenson told Showtime’s Jim Gray he hurt his left hand in the second round, “so I used my head to box him … I fight a tough guy you know, I accept any challenge … I showed the world I go down, but I came back strong because I’m a true champion.
Gray asked Stevenson if he was ready for Bernard Hopkins, or the man most hoped to see Stevenson fight tonight, Sergey Kovalev. Stevenson said he’d let his advisor Al Haymon make the fight, no problem with either one.
Fonfara said after the fight, “I survive because I have the heart to fight. Every time he hit me I feel his punch. I think it was a great fight, you like it tonight? Tonight, Stevenson, he’s better. I’m still young, I’m training hard, and one day I’m world champion.
Fonfara waved off the polite congratulatiosn of Showtime’s Gray, saying, “I don’t have congratulations, I’ll work hard and train hard and I will be back.”
Fonfara is a fighter fans will welcome seeing again thanks to his performance Saturday. He gave it everything he had and he hung tough far longer than anyone expected. He is only 26, ten years younger than Stevenson, and he shows great promise.
You couldn’t help but watch the fight and think about what might have been had Stevenson taken on Russian knockout threat Sergey Kovalev. Fonfara did himself proud, but he isn’t Kovalev. Fans can’t help but be disappointed even after getting to see Stevenson in action.
Middleweight and Montreal native David Lemiuex (32-2, 30 KOs) fired up the hometown fans as he made short work of Fernando Guerrero (26-3, 19 KOs) of Salisbury, Maryland. Lemiuex scored a knockdown in the first round, and kept the pressure up, opening a cut over the right eye in the second round which started pouring blood. Guerrero could not figure out how to keep the aggressive Lemiuex off him, and chose to take a knee at the end of the round.
Guerrero took another knee halfway through the third round when he could not see out of the right eye. The ringside physician cleared him, and Lemiuex unleashed a furious attack, capped off by a vicious upper cut that ended the fight. With blood covering Guerrero’s face, he looked like an extra who got the worst of it in one of the many Memorial Day weekend action movies.
Count on seeing Lemiuex again soon on Showtime given his crowd pleasing performance. Quillin, Jacobs, Stevens, they’re all in the mix.
Junior middleweight Jermell Charlo (24-0, 11 KOs) maintained his unbeaten record against Charlie Ota of Japan (24-2-1, 16 KOs) in a unanimous decision. Neither fighter put on the kind of display that would make fans want to see them again. The less said, the better for both fighters.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +
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