SAN DIEGO, June 3, 2017 – WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson of Montreal made even shorter work of Andrzej Fonfara of Poland Saturday than he did in their first bout three years ago.
Stevenson’s lethal left hook blasted Fonfara halfway through the first round in a virtual repeat of their first bout. This time, Stevenson made it stick. He launched left after left, and had Fonfara pinne against the corner near the end of the first round. It looked as if referee Michael Griffin would stop the bout before the end of the round, but he let Fonfara hear the bell.
Fonfara survived, but unlike the first fight he didn’t have much left in the tank. He came out for the second round, eating several left hooks from Stevenson in a row. Fonfara’s trainer Virgil Hunter signaled to referee Griffin his man was done, giving Stevenson an impressive second round TKO at 28 seconds.
Criticize Stevenson all you want for not having many weapons and not being able to go 12 rounds. When you possess a left hook like he does, you don’t need anything else.
It was Stevenson’s (29-1, 24 KOs) eighth defense of his title, and a disappointing loss for Fonfara (29-5, 17 KOs) who suffered a similar fate against the surprising Joe Smith Jr. last year.
Hunter said of his decision to stop the fight, “There was no need to continue, he (Fonfara) was hurt the first round. He survived, but when he came to the corner he wasn’t all the way there.
“It’s a game of inches, and that little inch, that foot, that was enough to put him in distress,” said Hunter.
Fonfara admitted, “He got me in the second round, some punch and that changed everything … He showed me tonight he’s really the champ. I need to train and come back harder.” Fonfara said he didn’t blame Hunter for trying to protect him from getting badly hurt and stopping the bout.
“I was in focus this time, you see what happened,” said Stevenson after the fight. “Fonfara tried, but I knew I would be ready for this fight, my hands were good.” Stevenson told Showtime’s Jim Gray he knew Fonfara could be dangerous. “I catch him when I have the chance to catch him. I was very ready, I take my time, I take my time and I finish the job. I catch him on my left, and I knew he was coming so I counterpunch him.”
Try as he did, Gray could not get Stevenson to offer a name of who he’s like to fight next. Wearing a Burger King crown and fur trimmed red velvet cape, Stevenson declared, “I’m the greatest at 175, the champ baby. I’m the greatest, I’m the king, I don’t have to call anybody baby. I’m Superman baby. Whoever Al Haymon puts in front of me, I’m ready baby.
Prior to the fight, Stevenson said he’s like to fight the winner of the Ward vs. Kovalev rematch, but Stevenson has called out Kovalev and then ducked him in the past. Whether he’d be more willing to face Ward should he prevail again, who knows. He can default to the WBC mandatory challenger, Eleider Alvarez.
Alvarez (23-0, 11 KOs) of Montreal via Colombia remains undefeated and remains the WBC mandatory challenger for Stevenson after a majority decision win over former champion and longtime sparring partner Jean Pascal (31-5-1, 18 KOs) of Montreal via Haiti.
It was a tactical fight, with Alvarez much busier during the bout overall, and Pascal remaining patient, waiting for opportunities to counterpunch, then engaging in a frenzy of activity in the last 20 seconds of each round trying to steal it from the judges.
It nearly worked, with Canadian judge Richard DeCarufel scoring it a 114-114 draw, overruled by judges Rodolfo Ramirez (117-111) of Mexico and Jack Woodburn (116-112) of Canada. But Pascal didn’t do nearly enough. Alvarez worked nicely behind his jab, which has real punch (pardon the pun). At times Pascal delivered some nice body work but not nearly enough. It was a feint-fest for long stretches, interesting to watch in the way a chess match between two guys who know each other well can be interesting to watch. Montreal fans love Pascal and did their best to encourage him during the fight.
Alvarez landed four times the jabs (99 of 317 thrown) as Pascal (26 of 136 thrown). The pair were nearly even in power punches (75 for Alvarez, 78 for Pascal); the jabs wrote the script Saturday.
Speaking in French, Alvarez thanked everyone from Quebec for coming and supporting the fight. “I knew it would be a hard fight, I know Jean, so I got well prepared.” Alvarez didn’t have to risk a loss while waiting for his mandatory title shot, but said “I wanted the fight because world champions fight world champions. I waited two years to get a title shot.” Alvarez said he’d prefer to face Fonfara, but this was before the beatdown, so Stevenson it is.
Pascal, speaking in English, said he knew it was a close fight. “I think that I win the fight but I have to respect the judges’ decision. I think the fans enjoyed the fight, I will try to come back stronger.”
Will Pascal fight again? “Right now, we don’t know. I need to sit down with my team. I know for a fact I pleased the crowd, we had a tremendous fight. We will sit down and see what’s next for me. I love my fans, I love Montreal, I love Quebec, I’d love to have a rematch. It’s never over till it’s over.”
Give Pascal credit for this: he’s never ducked a tough fight, facing seven world champions and multiple undefeated opponents including Alvarez, with noteworthy victories against Lucien Bute, Bernard Hopkins and Chad Dawson, but he suffered two beatings at the hands of Sergey Kovalev and one from Carl Froch for good measure. If this is the end of his career, he can hold his head high.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a veteran boxing observer covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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