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Weekend Wrap–“Superman” Returns

Adonis Stevenson Jean Pascal

By Donavan Leonard: WBC Light Heavyweight Champion Adonis “Superman” Stevenson (29-1, 24 KOs), reminded challenger Andrzej Fonfara (29-5, 17 KOs) of two time-tested adages. “Don’t tug on Superman’s cape”, and “Be careful what you wish might get it”. 

Their first bout in May 2014 had been entertaining, with Fonfara hitting the canvas twice but dropping Stevenson and holding his own over the latter rounds of the match. Stevenson emerged with his belt, but also a cloud of doubt due to Fonfara’s stiff challenge. Some of the luster of the rematch wore off after Fonfara’s unexpected first-round  loss to Joe Smith in June 2016. His loss could be deemed justifiable, as Fonfara had Smith in trouble, only to get careless, drop his defense, and ultimately get  knocked out by the fighter who would later go on to retire Bernard Hopkins. Fonfara now had the rematch that he had asked for, and in the end was mercilessly granted. In front of 6,183 fans in the  Bell Centre in Montreal,  Stevenson unleashed the fury of his “Superman” moniker in the first stanza,  knocking down Fonfara and battering him for the remainder of the round. Round two started off even less promising, and Fonfara’s trainer Virgil Hunter had seen enough of the carnage, jumping up on the ring apron to stop the fight only 28 seconds into round 2.

On the undercard, Eleider Alvarez (23-0, 11 KOs) won a majority decision over the popular Jean Pascal (31-5-1, 18 KOs). Alvarez used a good job, command of distance, and enough threat of power to overcome the crafty Pascal.  Alvarez is now the mandatory challenger to Stevenson.

Winner–Adonis Stevenson  Maybe this will light the fire to get the Stevenson-Ward/Kovalev winner together.  Although Alvarez is the mandatory, there will hopefully be momentum to find out who is truly the best light heavyweight. If PPV sales are again on the light side for Ward/Kovalev,  there may be no financial reason for Stevenson to take on the winner. Not only is there the question of which fighter commands the lion’s share of the purse, but being connected to different networks can continue to cause issues. If a unification bout does not make enough money to get Showtime and HBO to work together, the bout may never happen. It did occur with the Vladimir Klitschko-Anthony Joshua bout, so at least there is hope.

Loser–Jean Pascal   Pascal looked good for what he is…a past-his-prime former champion. He held his own against a young, disciplined fighter, but the result shows that he is no longer a threat to regain a championship. If he cannot handle Alvarez, he surely cannot handle the likes of Artur Beterbiev, Dmitri Bivol, or Oleksandr Gvozdyk. There is no shame in his career, and no shame in calling it a career. He would be an asset to young fighters seeking to learn the game.

Other notes….WBC Minimumweight Champion Chayaphon Moonsri (47-0, 17 KOs) continues his run to the “record” with a decision win over Omari Kimweri (16-4, 6 KOs)….In a great scrap, cruiserweight WBC #1 ranked Dmitry Kudryshov (21-1, 21 KOs), avenged his lone defeat with a 5th round TKO over WBC #2 Olanrewaju Duodola (25-4, 23 KOs). Kudryshov is now the mandatory for WBC Champion Mairis Briedis.   Kudryshov would be a great addition to the World Boxing Super Series, as Briedis (22-0, 18 KOs)  has already been named a participant, along with IBF Champ Murat Gassiev (24-0, 17 KOs), and former WBC Champion Krzysztof Wlodarczyk (53-3-1, 37 KOs).

Fights to watch this week– IBF Bantamweight championship Lee Haskins (34-3, 14 KOs) vs Ryan Burnett (16-0, 9 KOs), Super lightweight Joel Diaz Jr (23-0, 19 KOs) takes on even hotter prospect Regis Prograis (19-0, 16 KOs). Classic 2012 fight between Marcos Maidana and Jesus Soto Karass. A real treat.

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