By Keith Idec
Perhaps the greatest regret of Andrzej Fonfara’s 11-year pro boxing career is that he didn’t finish Adonis Stevenson in the ninth round of their light heavyweight title fight.
Fonfara knocked down Stevenson with a straight right hand during their May 2014 fight at Bell Centre in Montreal. The Polish contender had about 2½ minutes left in the round to hurt Stevenson again and knock him out.
Fonfara landed two more solid right hands in the round, but otherwise allowed Stevenson to hold him and move out of Fonfara’s punching range. The WBC 175-pound champion recovered from that trouble and went on to defeat Fonfara by unanimous decision (116-109, 115-110, 115-110).
If Fonfara is fortunate enough to drop Stevenson in their rematch Saturday night at Bell Centre, the Chicago resident realizes he can’t squander another opportunity.
“I must pick the right punch in the right spot,” Fonfara told BoxingScene.com. “I knocked him down, but later I rushed too much. I rushed my punches. That’s why I didn’t knock him down again and didn’t finish the fight. This time, if he goes down again I wanna finish my job. I know I can do that.”
The 29-year-old Fonfara (29-4, 17 KOs, 1 NC) also acknowledges that he must be better defensively this time around against a powerful southpaw who has won 13 of his past 15 bouts by knockout or technical knockout.
The 39-year-old Stevenson (28-1, 23 KOs) floored Fonfara with a straight left hand to the chin in the first round three years ago. The Haitian-born, Quebec-based Stevenson later dropped Fonfara with a stiff left hand to the body in the fifth round.
Fonfara recovered and eventually sent Stevenson to the canvas, but he expects to be more effective defensively in their rematch (Showtime; 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT).
“I can’t take the punches I took in the first fight,” Fonfara said. “I can’t get caught with his left hand because his left hand is great. He punched me in the body and he punched me in the chin. Those punches to the body hurt me more because my energy was not the same. But I came back stronger and knocked him down in the ninth round. It was a good fight for me. I’m glad I did that, but I can’t make the same mistakes I made in the first fight.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.