Adonis Stevenson (28-1, 23 KOs) and challenger Andrzej Fonfara (29-4, 17 KOs) both weighed in successfully for their light heavyweight clash this Saturday night on Showtime Championship Boxing at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada. Stevenson, 39, weighed in at 173.5 pounds. He’ll be defending his World Boxing Council light 175 lb. title. Up until Friday, Stevenson and Fonfara had seemed like old friends than two fighters about to face each in the ring. There was no animosity between them at all until today.
Fonfara weighed in a little heavier at 174.5 lbs. During the face off Stevenson seemed to be trying to get to Fonfara by making faces. It looked a little theatrical on Stevenson’s part, because he’s usually low key during the faces offs with his opponents. Fonfara has been respectful of Stevenson during the build-up to the fight.
It gives me the impression that Stevenson is trying to get the boxing public excited about his fight with Fonfara. The interest in the Stevenson-Fonfara fight outside of Canada has been very low. The reason for that is obvious. Stevenson already beat Fonfara by a 12 round decision in 2014. The fight was one-sided enough to have no need for a rematch between them. On top of that, Fonfara was knocked out in the 1st round last year by Joe Smith Jr.
So by Stevenson giving Fonfara a rematch, it suggests that he’s getting the rematch because of failures rather than for his successes. It doesn’t look good for Stevenson to be fighting guys like this, especially when he’s already had a lot of soft title defenses since he won the WBC title 4 years ago. Stevenson hasn’t done much in shaking up the light heavyweight division during his reign as the WBC champion.
– When does Adonis Stevenson vs. Andrzej Fonfara start: The start time is at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
– Where can boxing fans watch Stevenson-Fonfara II fight: Showtime Championship Boxing
– Location of Stevenson vs. Fonfara card: Bell Centre, Montreal, Canada
– Co-feature fight: Eleider Alvarez vs. Jean Pascal
“I’m as strong as ever,” said Stevenson. “I know he’s dangerous, I know he’s tough. He has a new trainer and he’s going to do everything he can to take my title. But I’m going to go for the knockout. I’m going to show him I don’t only have the left, I have the right, too.”
Fonfara, 29, isn’t one of those types of fighters that scores knockouts with a single shot. He’s more of the type who needs to land a lot of shots over the course of his fights before he gets a knockout. You can’t really call Fonfara a dangerous fighter. To be sure, Fonfara has got heavy hands, but he’s not going to knockout Stevenson with a single shot unless he catches him with an unexpected blow to the head. The only positive about the Stevenson-Fonfara fight is the advanced age of Stevenson. He’s 39-years-old now. Stevenson will be turning 40-years-old in 3 months in September.
That’s pretty old for a fighter. Of course, with the match-making that’s been done for Stevenson in the last 4 years, he could probably continue to successfully defend his WBC title for 10 more years. That’s how bad his opposition. Stevenson is not facing the dangerous contenders. He’s fighting guys like Tommy Karpency, Fonfara, Thomas Williams Jr., Tavoris Cloud, Sakio Bika, Tony Bellew, and Dmitry Sukhotsky.
Bellew was a good fighter, but there are arguably a lot better fighters than Bellew at light heavyweight. Sergey Kovalev has wanted a fight with Stevenson for 3 years now, but he’s been unable to get a fight against him. Eleider Alvarez, Joe Smith Jr. and Oleksandr Gvozdyk all want title shots against Stevenson. Just how long they’ll need to wait before they get a chance to fight him is the big question.
“I’m the smarter guy now, and I have more experience,” Fonfara said. “I’m ready mentally and physically to take his belt. I’m here to put Stevenson down and become the new light heavyweight champion.”
It’s positive news that Fonfara is confident at least. You’d hate to see Fonfara second guessing himself as he enters the ring on Saturday night. Fonfara has good basic boxing ability. He’s going to need it to keep from getting knocked out by the southpaw Stevenson. The reason why Stevenson is so difficult to fight is because he’s a southpaw with excellent punching power, hand speed and boxing skills. Stevenson has a numbers of things that work for him to make him a nightmare for his opponents.
If all Stevenson had was his punching power, he’d still be a very dangerous fighter because he can crack. But when you add in Stevenson’s southpaw stance, speed and boxing ability, it makes him lethal to about anyone in the 175 pound division. We’d like to find out if Stevenson can hang with the better fighters in the light heavyweight like Andre “SOG” Ward, Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev, Oleksandr Gvozdyk, Artur Beterbiev, Sullivan Barrera, Joe Smith Jr. or Eleider Alvarez. Even Jean Pascal would be an upgrade to the guys that Stevenson has been fighting recently.
Fonfara and Stevenson both were knocked down in their 2014 fight with each. It was a fight that was briefly entertaining when Fonfara dropped Stevenson. After the knockdown, Stevenson buckled down and finished strong in out-boxing Fonfara and winning the final rounds in style.
Fonfara is now being trained by Virgil Hunter out of his gym in Hayward, California. Hunter also trains Andre Ward. It’s unclear how much improvement Hunter can make with Fonfara. He’s good fighter. Fonfara’s problems in the past have had to do with his slow hand speed, poor defensive skills, and his overly aggressive style of fighting. We saw how Fonfara’s reckless style of fighting can get him in trouble when he was knocked out in the 1st round last year by Joe Smith Jr. on June 18, 2016 at the UIC Pavilion in Chicago, Illinois. That was a fight that Fonfara would have had a good chance of winning if he’d started slowly, and boxed Smith Jr. cautiously.
Fonfara didn’t do that and it cost him the fight with Smith Jr. knocking him out after dropping him twice. Fonfara came back from that defeat to beat the past his prime former light heavyweight champion Chad Dawson by a 10th round knockout on March 4 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. Fonfara was losing the fight when he scored a 10th round knockout. It was pretty sad to see Fonfara losing to Dawson until he pulled out a victory in the 10th. Dawson’s once promising career has really gone downhill since his 10th round knockout loss to Andre Ward in 2012. Dawson has lost 3 fights since then in his last 6 fights. It’s scary how quickly Dawson went from being the best fighter in the light heavyweight division to being over-the-hill.
In the co-feature bout on Saturday’s Stevenson-Fonfara II card, #1 WBC Eleider Alvarez (22-0, 11 KOs) weighed in at 174 ½ pounds for his 12 round fight against former light heavyweight champion Jean Pascal (31-4-1, 18 KOs). Pascal weighed in at 174.5 lbs. Alvarez, 33, will be defending his World Boxing Council Siler light heavyweight title. The winner of the Alvarez vs. Pascal fight will be fighting the winner of the Stevenson vs. Fonfara fight. Alvarez is already Stevenson’s mandatory challenger, but he’s jumping through one more hoop before he finally gets his title shot.
It’s been a long grind for Alvarez in working his way into position for a title shot against Stevenson. It would be a shame to see Alvarez lose to Pascal on Saturday night and have to start all over again. Alvarez should be able to get past Pascal to get a crack at the winner of the Stevenson-Fonfara II fight. Pascal has suffered two knockout losses to Kovalev in the last 2 years. However, Pascal won his last fight in stopping Ricardo Macelo Ramallo in the 3rd round last December.