With a devastating display of punching power and “sweet science” technique, Andrzej Fonfara most likely put the “B side” phase of his boxing career in the rear-view mirror.
Fonfara made the ballyhooed Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. pull a “no mas” delivering a thorough beating that caused Chavez to quit his stool after nine rounds of their 172-pound fight on Saturday night at the StubHub Center in Carson, California.
A national TV audience on Showtime no doubt had its appetite whetted to see more of Fonfara (27-3, 16 KOs), who had come up short in his other big-time opportunity, dropping a unanimous decision to WBC (and lineal) light-heavyweight titlist Adonis Stevenson in 2014 in the champ’s hometown of Montreal. But in his second shot in the spotlight, the “Polish Prince” put to rest the notion that he is no more than an ethnic drawing card in Chicago. His performance ranks perhaps as the most-impressive by a local fighter on the national stage since Angel Manfredy stopped Arturo Gatti on cuts in 1998.
Fonfara, 27, made no bones about what he hopes the future holds.
“This fight [showed that] I deserve a rematch with Stevenson—and the big money!” he said. “I want a rematch with Stevenson and I [will] beat him in the next fight.”
The monkey wrench in that deal could be that this victory might have made Fonfara too dangerous an opponent for Stevenson’s camp, which has shown little inclination of late to have their fighter tackle risky opponents. But the light-heavyweight division is loaded, with knockout artist Sergey Kovalev, the “Russian Crusher,” presenting another tantalizing possibility for Fonfara, who is eighth (and likely rising) in Ring magazine’s 175-pound ratings.
Against Chavez Jr. (48-2-1), who was moving up in weight, Fonfara simply was, to borrow a line from Stacey King, “too big, too strong, too fast, too good.”
“When I started the first round, I knew I would win this fight,” Fonfara said in halting English during the postfight hubbub at the StubHub. “He hit me with like one good punch. I catch it and I say this guy don’t have punch, because he punch me the hardest he can in the first round. Then I’m open a little bit and move, because I am not afraid of his punches and his power.”
He held an overwhelming statistical advantage, more than doubling Chavez in punches landed (285 to 118) and thrown (821 to 328). Fonfara was by far the superior technician. Pull-no-punches Showtime analyst Paulie Malignaggi lauded the victor for his technique and noted that Chavez’s “fundamentals are terrible.”
In the telling ninth round, moments after the Showtime crew began to speculate on a potential rematch with Stevenson, as if on cue, Fonfara delivered one of those jaw-dropping “wow” moments so crucial to a fighter’s marketability.
A picture-perfect left hook over the dropped guard of a gassed fighter did the trick, sending Chavez to the deck for the first time in his career. The punch locked Chavez’s knees and he went “timber” like a felled tree, eyes glazed, landing on his backside and bring propped up in a sitting position by the ropes.
Malignaggi, a former welterweight world champion, gushed, “That was some hook Fonfara landed to drop him! His feet were in the southpaw position when he threw it, so it came from the back end. [Fonfara] was able to generate more leverage because it came from a farther distance.”
Whether his next big fight comes against Stevenson, Kovalev or even perhaps the ageless Bernard Hopkins, after producing such drama, Fonfara figures to be well-paid for it.
PUNCHES TELL THE TALE
In his TKO victory against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. on Saturday night, Andrzej Fonfara piled up a huge statistical advantage. Here is a punch-by-punch breakdown:
77 for 293 …Jabs …9 for 60
208 of 528 …Power shots …109 of 268
285 of 821 …Total punches …118 of 328