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Andrzej Fonfara faces Adonis Stevenson tonight

Adonis Stevenson


By Allan Fox: Andrzej Fonfara will be seeking to avenge his previous loss to Adonis Stevenson tonight in a light heavyweight fight on Showtime Championship Boxing. The network has to hope that they didn’t make a mistake in agreeing to televise the Stevenson-Fonfara II rematch, as it’s not a compelling fight.

Fonfara was recently knocked out in the 1st round by Joe Smith Jr. last year. It makes Stevenson look bad in the eyes of the knowledgeable boxing fans that follow the sport that he’s picked out a guy that was knocked out just 2 fights ago in Fonfara. If you’re trying to raise your profile in boxing, you don’t defend your title against someone that was blown out in the 1st round like Fonfara.

You’re supposed to be trying to impress the boxing fans by taking on fighters that are doing well with their careers, not fighters that were blasted out quickly by a younger fighter. At 39, I don’t think Stevenson cares too much about increasing his fan base. I get the impression that he’s milking his WBC title against fighters that he can beat. Stevenson obviously knows he can beat Fonfara.

Stevenson (28-1, 23 KOs) already beat #6 WBC Fonfara (29-4, 17 KOs) by a 12 round unanimous decision by a 12 round unanimous decision in 2014, and there’s no real reason for Stevenson to be fighting him again other than it being a safer fight for him than many of the top contenders in the World Boxing Council’s rankings. The WBC’s top 15 rankings have a lot of tough contenders now that would give Stevenson a lot of problems.

Fonfara used to be one of the toughest guys in the WBC’s top 15. Not anymore. Now you’ve got some really talented fighters like Oleksandr Gvozdyk, Joe Smith Jr., Badou Jack, Artur Beterbiev, Sullivan Barrera, and Marcus Browne. Even some of the lower ranked contenders in the WBC’s rankings would give Stevenson problems. For this reason, Fonfara is now one of the safer fights that Stevenson can take. It just goes to show you how quickly things change in boxing. The old get old and the young move past them and become real threats. Stevenson is going to have to start facing the good opposition REAL soon, because he’s had 4 solid years of nothing but easy fights against mostly poor opponents.

Fonfara gave Stevenson some problems in their fight in 2014 in dropping him. A lot was made about that. It was a flash knockdown in the 9th round. Stevenson had eased off the gas pedal after knocking Fonfara down two times in the earlier rounds in the 3rd and 5th. Stevenson won the fight by the scores 116-109, 115-110 and 115-110.

Tonight’s Stevenson vs. Fonfara can be seen on TV on Showtime Championship Boxing . That’s where most fans will see it. When it starts, it showed be an interesting fight for as long as its lasts, which probably won’t be more than 6 rounds at best. Stevenson-Fonfara starts at 9:00 p.m. ET/6:00 p.m. PT. The location of the fight is at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada. This is fight that will be in Stevenson’s home country of Canada. The fans that show up for this fight will mostly be Stevenson’s fans. To be honest, this fight is not likely going to go to the scorecards. It doesn’t matter that Fonfara is fighting in Stevenson’s backyard. The judges are likely not going to play a factor in this fight.

“I’m ready because I know Fonfara is dangerous. We’re not underestimating him,” Stevenson said via ESPN.com. “I’ve prepared for everything; everything he brings in the ring I’ll be ready for it. I’m training for the knockout. (The late) Emanuel Steward (Stevenson’s former trainer) always told me, ‘Knockouts sell.’ When I get in the ring I’m going for a knockout. It’s not an option for me to go 12 rounds.”

I don’t know if Stevenson is going to be able to increase the buzz surrounding his name by knocking out Fonfara. The problem is Joe Smith Jr. already knocked out Fonfara last year by a 1st round knockout. Unless Stevenson can do the same thing, he’s not going to be able to create a big stir from knocking out the Polish fighter.

The boxing world didn’t get excited about Stevenson’s recent knockout wins over Tommy Karpency and Thomas Williams Jr. Stevenson knocked them both out, but the fans didn’t make a fuss out of the wins. The reason is the opposition was not well thought of by the boxing public. The late Emanuel Steward should have told Stevenson that knockouts only mean something when you’re knocking out QUALITY fighters the boxing public knows about and rates highly. Fonfara is not rated highly, so there’s no upside in knocking him out.

It should be interesting to see if this is the only fight for Stevenson in 2017. Stevenson only fought once in 2016 in beating Thomas Williams Jr. If Stevenson sticks with fighting just once per year, he should burn through the remainder if his career in another 5 to 6 fights. By that time, Stevenson will be 45-years-old. I cannot see Stevenson being a factor in the light heavyweight division unless he’s able to steer around his mandatory defenses and take 4 to 5 voluntary defenses before having to fight his No.1 contender.

I believe the last No.1 contender Stevenson fought was in 2013 in his 6th round knockout win over Tony Bellew. Stevenson has since had 5 voluntary defenses that have consumed 3 years. If Stevenson can beat Fonfara and then his mandatory challenger Eleider Alvarez after that, then we might not see Stevenson facing his next mandatory challenger until 2021. That’s a long time from now.

Stevenson says he wants to fight the winner of the June 17th fight between Sergey Kovalev and Andre Ward. There are some boxing fans that don’t believe Stevenson. They think he’s just talking so he can get fans interested in his second fight with Fonfara, because it’s a fight that has mostly been tuned out by the fans, who are more interested in looking forward to the Ward-Kovalev 2 fight.

If you look at the boxing news, the fans are talking more about the Ward vs. Kovalev fight now than tonight’s fight between Stevenson and Fonfara. That tells you right there that Stevenson made a mistake in choosing to fight Fonfara again. You never want to shift your career into reverse by fighting the same guys again the way Stevenson is doing with Fonfara. The fight would make sense if Stevenson had lost to Fonfara or if the Polish fighter was a huge star. Fonfara is NOT a star in boxing, and Stevenson DID NOT lose to him. There’s no reason for Stevenson to be fighting Fonfara again other than for title-milking purposes.

“My goal is to unify the titles with the winner of Kovalev and Ward. I want the unification, but if not, I’ll make my mandatory,” Stevenson said. “If Ward wins I want to fight him. If Kovalev wins I want to fight him. I’m ready.”

Ward is expected to beat Kovalev again, and he’s already said that he’s not interested in fighting Stevenson. Ward doesn’t like how Stevenson chose not to fight Kovalev in the past when he had the chance to prove that he’s the best in boxing. Ward doesn’t feel that Stevenson is worth fighting. Ward has a better option to fight Kovalev a third time in a trilogy fight. That’s the best fight for Ward. Stevenson lacks the profile in the U.S for a fight between him and Ward to be worth it.

Ward isn’t going to go to Canada to fight Stevenson. With Ward not interested, Stevenson is going to have to fight his mandatory challenger Eleider Alvarez. It might not be a thrilling fight, but it could prove to be a bad one for Stevenson, because Alvarez, 33, is a little younger than him, and he’s coming off of a big 5th round knockout win over Lucian Bute. Alvarez will be fighting on the undercard of the Stevenson-Fonfara II card tonight against Jean Pascal.

Alvarez is considered the favorite to win the fight, but you never know. Pascal has a real chance to win this fight if he can use his speed and combination punching to get to Alvarez. Pascal has lost a couple of times recently to Kovalev, but he was facing a guy that was a lot bigger than him in both of those fights. Alvarez is more of the same size as Pascal, and he doesn’t have the same punching power that Kovalev. Pascal hasa real chance tonight for an upset.


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