Canadian Adonis “Superman” Stevenson beats Andrzej Fonfara of Chicago, and retains his WBC and Ring Magazine light heavyweight title in over 12 rounds of action against an exceedingly tough challenger. It’s never a walk in the park for Stevenson as the fight previews suggests, as both men tasted what’s it’s like to be in the canvas. Although the scorecards were one-sided in favor of the reigning champion who earned the unanimous decision.
Stevenson (24-1, 20 KO) started the first round cautious and tried to box, move around while the 26 year old challenger stalked him. Stevenson landed a text book 1-2 combination that sent Fonfara on the floor. I thought that was it! Fonfara showed toughness absorbing some and defending barrage of punches thrown to him after the mandatory count. He survived the bumpy first round!
From that point onwards, although, Fonfara (25-3, 15 KO’s) is stalking the hometown champion—Stevenson is sweeping rounds until round eight. Stevenson landed crisp combination to the head and body and smothering Fonfara’s counters.
In the 5th round, again Stevenson floored Fonfara with a shot to the mid section. But Fonfara’s extreme tolerance with pain stood instantly and continued the fight gallantly.
It seemed to me that Fonfara’s best chance is when Stevenson slows down in the latter rounds. But that if he has the energy to do so, after absorbing power-zapping body blows from Stevenson.
The ecstatic crowd at the Bell Centre in Montreal was silenced in round 9, as Fonfara floored Stevenson with a left hook followed by a right hand that landed flush on the chin—that was intense! Fonfara showed some patience and didn’t rush things up to finish the job. Stevenson survived.
Fonfara told Jim Gray after the fight, “In the ninth round, I got him right on the chin. I didn’t want to go crazy, because maybe he’d counter me. But he survived. He got knocked down, but he came back. I got knocked down, I came back. It was a good fight.“
Stevenson showed the human side of a “superman” tonight and that a fighter that hits hard can shoots down a flying “superman”.
But Stevenson showed also a Rocky Balboa heart and comeback strong in the 10th frame attacking Fonfara with real bad intention. He engaged Fonfara in the championship round although it is safe to fight cautiously as he is ahead on points. The official scorecard reads 115-110, 115-110, and 116-109.
“And you know, who doesn’t get knocked down? Muhammad Ali, Roy Jones, all the best go down. But I came back strong. I still came back strong, because I’m a true champion.” said Stevenson when Grey asked about the ninth round knockdown.
“Are you tired in the ninth round?” asked Grey. “No… no I’m not tired… but he got me real good so I came back strong. I was off-balance and he catch me.”
Fonfara on the other hand told Grey “I survived because I have the heart to fight, you know? Every time he hit me, I felt his punch. He’s a great fighter. I think it was a great fight, and the fans liked it. Tonight, Stevenson was better. But I’m still young. I’m just 26 years old. I’ll train hard, and one day I’ll be world champion.”
With Fonfara’s performance tonight, I could not disagree with him.
What’s next for Stevenson?
Ask about who he will be fighting next. Stevenson told Grey that “Bernard can be next. I’ll let Al Haymon negotiate for that,” Stevenson said.
“All my fans, do you want Bernard Hopkin?“ (That is without s) ask Stevenson to the crowd.
As for a fight with Sergey Kovalev, Stevenson replied that: “No problem with Kovalev. If I fight him, I fight him. Al Haymon’s going to negotiate that, with Yvon Michel. I’m the true champion. Superman baby!“
Who do you want Stevenson to fight next?