Adonis Stevenson told anyone who would listen that an injured left hand was the only reason he didn’t knock out Andrzej Fonfara in their first title fight three years ago.
Possessing two healthy hands this time around, Stevenson put something behind his words Saturday night. The powerful southpaw almost took Fonfara out in the first round before finishing him off in Round 2 to retain his 175-pound world championship at the Bell Centre in Montreal.
Adonis Stevenson (29-1, 24 KOs) was even more dominant than he was in his first victory over Fonfara at the Bell Centre in May 2014, when he floored the “Polish Prince” twice on his way to earning a unanimous decision.
In that first meeting, Andrzej Fonfara (29-5, 17 KOs) roared back late and gained a ninth-round knockdown of Stevenson, but he never mustered any threat in the rematch as "Superman” overwhelmed the challenger with punishing left hands.
“My hands were very good for this fight and you saw what happened,” Stevenson said after making the eighth defense of the world title he first earned by stopping Chad Dawson in June 2013.
The bout was Stevenson’s first since scoring a highlight-reel fourth-round KO of Thomas Williams Jr. last July, but even approaching his 40th birthday in September, the oldest reigning world champion looked sharp as he denied Fonfara the title for a second time.
Fonfara, 29, never fully recovered from a straight left from Stevenson that led to him being knocked to the deck midway through the opening round. The Poland-born, Chicago-based challenger managed to beat the count and somehow survive the round, but barely as the champ battered him with a fusillade of power punches.
Stevenson was so dominant in Round 1 that judge Omar Mintun scored it 10-7 despite Fonfara being knocked down just once.
Fonfara’s trainer, Virgil Hunter, instructed his charge to stay away from the champion in Round 2 until he could recover from the early onslaught. Once Stevenson quickly resumed his punishment of Fonfara, however, Hunter jumped up on the ring apron and implored referee Michael Griffin to stop the bout, with the official end coming 28 seconds into the round.
“It was a good stoppage,” said Fonfara, who has now suffered two knockout defeats in his last three fights. “Adonis Stevenson is a great champion.”
While Stevenson didn’t express a desire to take on any particular fighter next, his next opponent might have been in the same ring earlier in the night.
In the co-main event, Eleider Alvarez (23-0, 11 KOs) preserved his place as the mandatory challenger for Stevenson’s title with a 12-round majority decision over former world champion Jean Pascal (31-5-1, 18 KOs).
Alvarez, a 33-year-old Colombia native who has lived in Montreal his entire professional career, was the busier and more active fighter as he relied on a sharp jab to outbox Pascal.
Judge Richard DeCarufel saw the bout even at 114-114, but fellow ringside scorers Rodolfo Ramirez and John Woodburn ruled in favor of Alvarez, 117-111 and 116-112, respectively.
It was Alvarez’s second victory over a former 175-pound champion this year following his fifth-round KO of Lucian Bute in Quebec City in February.
“I wanted this fight because real champions take on real champions,” Alvarez said. “I won this fight and earned my title shot. I can’t wait.”
For a complete look at Stevenson vs Fonfara, visit our fight page.