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Adonis Stevenson and Andrzej Fonfara meet in a rematch for the WBC light heavyweight title on Saturday night having first slugged it out just over three years ago.
The clash in May 2014 was a cracker which Stevenson (28-1) won via unanimous decision, but Fonfara (29-4) impressed as he ended ‘Superman’s’ 10-fight knockout streak.
Stevenson has been the WBC champ since knocking out Chad Dawson in June 2013 but has been accused of ducking challenges since then, most notably Sergey Kovalev.
Fonfara, resident of Chicago but born in Poland, has picked up impressive wins over Nathan Cleverly, Julio Cesar Chaz Jr and Dawson since he lost to Stevenson, but a knockout loss to Joe Smith Jr last year set him back a little.
Despite making seven consecutive defenses of his WBC light heavyweight title since his first-round knockout of lineal champion Chad Dawson in 2013, Adonis Stevenson hasn’t necessarily been the darling of his many critics.
Stevenson, 39, has made the most of his late career surge from a financial standpoint and has never been shy in flaunting his lifestyle on social media. But the native of Haiti who fights out of Montreal has also largely benefited from convenient matchmaking, facing a steady stream of opponents ranging between solid and unacceptable.
While his return on Saturday certainly won’t bring us any closer to finding out whether he’s truly the best 175-pound fighter on the planet, Stevenson (28-1, 23 KOs), at the very least, will be running back his most difficult title defense to date.
Three years after Stevenson got up off the canvas to outpoint a determined Andrzej Fonfara (29-4, 17 KOs) at the Bell Centre in Montreal, the two fighters will return to the same site for Saturday’s rematch (Showtime, 9 p.m. ET).
If Stevenson is victorious, Saturday’s co-main event should produce his next opponent as WBC No. 1 contender Eleider Alvarez (22-0, 11 KOs) faces former champion Jean Pascal (31-4-1, 18 KOs).
“I’m ready because I know Fonfara is dangerous; we’re not underestimating him,” Stevenson said. “I’m training for the knockout. Emanuel Steward 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.”
Fonfara, 29, a native of Poland who fights out of Chicago, overcame an early knockdown against Stevenson in their first fight and stayed consistent in his forward pursuit. In Round 9, he floored a fatigued Stevenson and bloodied his nose but was unable to complete the upset.
“I’m a much smarter fighter now. Mentally, I’m much strong and smarter,” Fonfara said. “I bettered myself. [New trainer] Virgil [Hunter] has taught me a lot of new stuff. Some things worked in my last fight with Chad Dawson [a 10th-round TKO in March], some things didn’t. But that was our first fight together. Now I’m ready to show everything in this fight.”
Despite the fact that his actions have yet to match his words, Stevenson maintains a showdown with the division’s best remains in his plans.
“My goal is to unify the titles with the winner of [Sergey] Kovalev and [Andre} Ward,” Stevenson said. “I want the unification, but if not I’ll make my mandatory. If Ward wins, I want to fight him; if Kovalev wins I want to fight him. I’m ready.”