Stevenson Wins,Yet Fonfara Survives
Adonis Stevenson outpointed Polish challenger Andrzej Fonfara via unanimous decision to retain the WBC Light Welterweight title at the Bell Center in Montreal, Canada on Saturday night.
Stevenson got more than what he bargained for with his challenger. After knocking down Fonfara in the first and fifth rounds, the challenger returned the favor by decking Stevenson in the ninth round. Stevenson however dismissed the knockdown and said that he was “off-balanced” and got caught by Fonfara. Regardless of the reason, Fonfara made the fight tougher for the Canadian champion as he became the first opponent since 2007 to take Stevenson to the full 12 round route. Judges John McKay and Jack Woodburn both scored the bout 115-110 while Richard DeCarufel scored it 116-109.
As usual, Superman Stevenson had a fast start. He was all over Fonfara as soon as the opening bell sounded. Stevenson peppered Fonfara with crisp shots and well-timed counters. An overhand left split Fonfara’s gloves and sent him to the floor. But the courageous challenger survived the round and Stevenson’s opening salvo.
Fonfara found some success with his right hand but Stevenson cut him near the right eye in round 3. Stevenson continued to hit his challenger with hard body shots and knocked him down again in the fifth round. Stevenson’s speed and power seemed too much for Fonfara who looked physically overmatched in the ring.
Having The Heart
Despite the physical disadvantage, Fonfara showed a lot of determination. He acknowledged it by saying that he survived because had the heart to fight. Fonfara admitted that he felt Stevenson’s punches each time he got hit. He praised Stevenson for being a true champion but that he will train harder to be a champion one day.
For his part, Stevenson said that Fonfara was “tough fighter” and a “good fighter”. But Stevenson also said that he injured his left hand in the second round and that he had to use his head and boxing to win.
More Than Brawn
Not only did Stevenson use his head, he also used his will above his power. He answered the lingering questions on his cardio by surviving the ninth round scare and finishing strong. He had to dig deep in his arsenal and his heart to finally put away the game Fonfara. Stevenson used a relentless body attack to weaken his challenger and weather the storm. He proved that he is more than just the brawn of his knockouts by going the distance.
Compubox number had Stevenson landing 329 out of 790 punches while Fonfara connected on just 217 out of 613 punches.
Good But Not Great
Stevenson proved that he is the best light heavyweight in the world with the 12 round victory. He showed that he possessed skills other than his knockout punch. He was dominant over a lowly ranked opponent, and had a little scare late in the bout. Stevenson was good, but he wasn’t great and was far from being superman.
Before the fight, Stevenson was preaching knockouts. He believed that knockouts sell fights like in the times of Mike Tyson. That was his only game plan. But he had to change that against Fonfara. Now he knows that boxing isn’t all about knockouts.
What The Future Holds
The win could’ve set up a potential fight with ageless wonder Bernard Hopkins who called out Stevenson during his last fight. Hopkins vowed to be the undisputed Light Heavyweight champion by the end of the year. Stevenson responded during the post-fight interview by saying he “accepts any challenge” and that “Bernard can be next”. However, he said that he will let Al Haymon decide on his next opponent.
Haymon was responsible for taking Stevenson to Showtime, in a move that angered many boxing fans because it ended the hopes of Stevenson fighting fellow undefeated WBO light heavyweight champion Sergei Kovalev, who fights under rival HBO. A Stevenson-Kovalev bout was in the air at HBO when Stevenson defected to Showtime.
But the Showtime deal could obviously lead to the bigger match against the 49 year old Hopkins. Hopkins is with Golden Boy and Golden Boy has an exclusive deal with Showtime.
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