Canada’s own Adonis Stevenson will return to his home country as his rematch against Andrzej Fonfara takes place at Montreal’s Bell Centre for the ninth consecutive time on June 3. The nation’s favorite is a knockout artist to say the least with a 28-1-0 overall record and 23 KO/TKOs with his only loss (also the only time he’s been stopped) being over seven years ago against Darnell Boone.
The Odds: Thanks to this, Stevenson is the oddsmakers’ favorite at -1,100 compared to the +650 challenger in Fonfara going into his next defense of the WBC light heavyweight (174-pound) championship. Why?
The First Go -‘Round
In his initial meeting with the then-26-year-old orthodox Warsaw, Poland native, the 36-year-old southpaw in Stevenson scored a knockdown within the opening three minutes and continued to volume-strike his way to a 116-109, 115-110, 115-110 unanimous decision in his then-third defense of the belt. The representative of the Great White North cut Fonfara’s right eyelid in the third round, was put down on one knee in the fifth, being held up by the ropes in the sixth following a devastating shot to the torso.
Fonfara would then stay in the fight through his clinch game. He would surprise the viewing public by padding his striking total through the seventh and eighth frames and get his own knockdown in the next after bloodying Stevenson’s nose. Both men recovered over the next two rounds (Fonfara took a low blow in Round 11) and then they started swinging with reckless abandon before earning a standing ovation per BoxRec.
The Next Chapter
Stevenson is riding a 6-0 streak since his last defeat while Chicago’s Fonfara is at 4-2 in his last 6 fights and 6-2 in his last eight contests. While the challenger has once again worked his way back into contention, his last two bouts are widely regarded as lesser despite the fact they were victorious efforts. Also, in spite of an age gap of ten years, Stevenson has proven that he has more raw power (Fonfara has 17 KO/TKOs in comparison to the Haitian-born champion although five of seven wins for the challenger were stoppages.)
Fonfara will have a size advantage at 6’ 2” and with a 77-inch reach (Stevenson matches him in reach despite being 5’ 11”) as well as having more accurate strikes, picking his moments, using counter-punches when needed but not necessarily being defined stylistically as strictly a counter-puncher. Like plenty of modern-day pugilists, both men have great cardio that allows them to last a full 36 minutes.
However, some are already counting out the challenger due to a perceived weak chin given bouts with his two defeats by stoppage including one against Joe Smith Jr. in which SportsChatPlace.com notes that it was a massive upset with Fonfara coming in as the obvious favorite at -2,300.
To his credit though, Fonfara has been active as recently as March while Stevenson has not been inside a ring since July of last year after a proposed bout against Seanie Monaghan failed to come to fruition for reasons unknown to the boxing community. While the “Superman” in Stevenson is the heavy favorite across the board, some in said community feel that a possible upset is on the horizon given that Fonfara matched him on the feet relatively well including matching him 1-1 in knockdowns as mentioned above.
“I feel good that I’m back here after three years,” Fonfara told BoxingScene.com recently. “I’m ready for revenge. I’m a different fighter physically and mentally. I’ve shown in a couple of fights that I’m a better fighter. It’s a great opportunity to get the rematch and be a world champion. The last fight against Chad Dawson gave me experience because it was very technical.
But really, all the fights since then – Julio Chavez, Jr., Nathan Cleverly and even Joe Smith – have helped me prepare for Stevenson again. I changed my team, got a new coach and a trainer, which makes me physically and mentally where I need to be for this fight. I don’t have a problem fighting in Montreal. I love Montreal. It’s a beautiful city with beautiful people. It will be a great night of boxing and I’m sure that I will be victorious on the night of June 3.”
Now at 29 and 39 years of age respectively, Stevenson echoed his opponents sentiments as far as meeting again thanks to how well chapter one went over with all who saw it and fighting back in his home country, but his strategy remains the same as it was in 2014: to always go for the kill. He went on to say, in essence, that unlike that first bout, the rematch will not be going the distance.
Boxing experts across the internet have noted not just Stevenson’s power but that he’s able to string those shots together in a way that Fonfara is evidently not. He does have the youth and that often means that the young lion is the faster of the two.
As Stevenson nears the age of 40 and retirement approaches whether he likes it or not, the key is not to feel a need to prove himself by recklessly going for the KO just because he can. Fonfara on the other hand needs to use footwork to make the champion dance, to lead him, and not just go for the simple one-off shots. He needs to dance and move his head because if he doesn’t, that chin isn’t expected to hold up.
Predicition: (C) Adonis Stevenson defeats Andrzej Fonfara by way of another Unanimous Decision
More importantly, this is one of two big name events (with Andre Ward vs. Sergey Kovalev II taking place on June 17) that will put some life back into the sport of boxing as a whole, and in this case, Canada’s own rich boxing scene. Regardless of how the first fight went, the contrast in style between the two names on the marquee are predicted to get the audience on their feet once more.
The pay-per-view broadcast begins at 9 p.m. Eastern Standard Time.
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