The first meeting between Adonis Stevenson and Andrzej Fonfara was staged at Montreal’s Bell Centre on May 24, 2014. Stevenson won a wide decision, prevailing by 5 points on two of the scorecards and by 7 points on the other, but Fonfara, who was then looked upon as nothing more than a fringe contender, won legions of new fans with his gritty performance. On the deck in round one and again in round five, he fought his way back into the fight, assuming command in round nine, but was unable to sustain the momentum.
Saturday they went at it again with the Bell Centre again serving as the venue. A resident of Quebec since the age of seven, the Haiti-born Stevenson was making the eighth defense of his WBC light heavyweight title and riding a 15-fight winning streak. He extended it to 16 with an unexpectedly one-sided demolition of Fonfara, knocking the Chicago-based Pole almost out in the opening round and then ending matters in the second when Fonfara’s trainer Virgil Hunter mercifully threw in the towel. In total, the fight lasted only three minutes and 28 seconds.
At the press conference preceding the fight, Fonfara said, (Stevenson) has only basic boxing skills…he only has a good left hand.” But Fonfara, a notoriously slow starter, had no answer for that left hand. He ate it repeatedly during the brief time that the fight lasted.
At age 39, it would seem that Adonis Stevenson (28-1, 23 KOs) has only a few years left to maximize his earning potential. But Stevenson is a young 39. He had fewer than 40 amateur fights and started his pro career late at age 29 after spending several years in prison. As a pro, he has answered the bell for only 131 rounds.
In the co-feature, Eleider Alvarez (22-0, 11 KOs), took advantage of his 3 1/2-inch longer reach to out-work Jean Pascal en route a 12-round majority decision. The scores were 117-111, 116-112, and 114-114.
Alvarez, a Quebecois originally from Columbia, did his best work in the early rounds when he repeatedly beat Pascal to the punch. Pascal (31-5-1), from Quebec by way of Haiti, had fought stiffer opposition – his previous losses were to Carl Froch, Bernard Hopkins, and Sergey Kovalev twice – but tonight he looked older than his 34 years. Pascal had Roy Jones Jr. in his corner but that proved to be mere window dressing. There were no knockdowns.
Alvarez was the mandatory challenger to Stevenson but took step-aside money to allow the Stevenson-Fonfara fight to go forward. Waiting in the wings is Artur Beterbiev, the Russian transplant who also resides in Quebec. French-speaking Canada doesn’t house the best light heavyweight on the planet (we will reserve that designation for the Ward-Kovalev winner), but the Montreal area has a surfeit of good 175-pounders.
In another bout of note, Mikael Zewksi, a former 4-time Canadian national amateur champion, returned to the ring after a 19-month absence and showed little rust in turning away Mexican journeyman Fernando Silva. Zewski (28-1) won every round on all three scorecards. The match was fought at a catch-weight 150 pounds.
A scheduled 8-round contest between Nova Scotia welterweight Custio Clayton, a 2012 Olympian, and Mexico’s Oscar Cortez fell out when Cortez came in 25 (!) pounds overweight. The 23-year-old Cortez, who began his pro career as a featherweight, appears to have a serious eating disorder.
Check out more boxing news on video at The Boxing Channel.