In a tougher and more entertaining bout than expected Adonis “Superman” Stevenson (24-1, 21KO) defended the lineal light heavyweight championship by a unanimous decision against the underrated Andrzej Fonfara (25-3, 15KO). Stevenson survived a late rally by Fonfara by using his underrated skills and heart.
The fight, deemed a mismatch by most experts, seemed to unfold this way when Stevenson knocked down Fonfara with a powerful left-hand in the first round.
Stevenson continued his early success by mixing his offense up and downstairs and putting Fonfara on the defensive as the Chicago-based Pole was hesitant to attack. A second knockdown in the fifth round by Stevenson after a left-hand to Fonfara’s stomach showed the power of the Haitian-Canadian as the champion continued to punish his opponent with debilitating power shots to the head and body.
Fonfara showed his grit by surviving the early onslaught from Stevenson and began to get back into the fight after the second knockdown. The Pole stepped up the pressure and by the end of round eight Fonfara reestablished himself with right hands and left hooks.
In the early moments of round nine Fonfara landed a series of blows punctuated by a right hand which floored Stevenson. The challenger pressed his advantage but Stevenson managed to clinch and move away enough to survive the round although he suffered a bleeding nose from Fonfara’s attack.
Showing the heart of a champ, Stevenson rallied in rounds 10-11 by outworking Fonfara and attacking his body. The final round saw both fighters land good combinations and the momentum switched periodically. A hard right and left by Fonfara followed by a punch after the bell ended the bout.
Stevenson won by scores of 115-110 (twice) and 116-109 but Fonfara won fans both in Montreal and throughout the world by showing determination and skills on the world stage.
The difficulty of this bout will cause critics to question Stevenson in potential bouts with the ageless Bernard Hopkins and rising star Sergey Kovalev. If Stevenson fights the way he fought on Saturday against Hopkins, he’ll lose the fight. Hopkins is a crafty veteran who is extremely effective against aggressive but defensively lacking fighters.
Stevenson will need to tighten up his defense no matter who he fights against but especially a powerful puncher like Kovalev.
Fonfara gained respect and admiration from the boxing community for his spirited effort and his refusal to settle for a ‘moral’ victory. He showed that he is a top contender for any title in the division. This will not be the last we see of him.
Perhaps even for Stevenson.