Before we get into who and what might be next for WBC light-heavyweight ruler Adonis Stevenson, a few words simply have to be written in tribute to the unearthly toughness, grit and determination of Andrzej Fonfara. Last night in Canada, the Polish warrior put on a display of guts and character that at times staggered belief.
We all know how heavy a hitter Stevenson is, yet Fonfara, although hurt multiple times, to the body especially, refused to be taken out. Also refusing to quit when he had a number of occasions when he could have waved the white flag and not had it held against him, the 26-year-old instead gave us a graphic example of how mentally and physically strong boxers often are.
Fonfara didn’t win the fight, but he sure won the hearts of millions of fight fans the world over. If the beating he at times fought on and took hasn’t taken too much out of him, “The Polish Prince” will be back and fans will welcome him back with open arms.
Now, to Stevenson. “Superman” failed to live up to his soaring nickname last night, but the 36-year-old also showed he can dig deep and fight through pain (an injured hand) and fatigue (Stevenson really looking tired in some of the later rounds). When his vaunted power is not enough to get the job done, the athletic southpaw can rely on his heart and conditioning to get him through. At least he showed he can do that against the Fonfaras of the world (teak tough but not a power puncher or a slick boxer) – but can Stevenson do that against a Bernard Hopkins or a Sergey Kovalev; these two light-heavyweights the two top choices for who the fan want to see Stevenson rumble with next.
Hopkins may be 49, but he remains as cute and tricky and as nightmarish for a young fighter as can be. Stevenson is not that young in terms of age at 36 but he is relatively inexperienced next to B-Hop (then again who isn’t!). Watching last night’s fight as he surely did, Hopkins is also sure to have picked up more than enough ideas on how to befuddle and defeat Stevenson. It would be a completely different way to the way Fonfara tied to upset Stevenson, but Hopkins has always done things his own way. Would you bet against the Philly legend pulling off a points win against the WBC king? I wouldn’t.
Then there’s the ultra hard-hitting Kovalev. If he were to hit Stevenson as many times as Fonfara did last night (Fonfara even decking Stevenson) just imagine what damage he could possibly inflict. Both Kovalev and Stevenson hit very hard, but there is just something about Kovalev that makes him look like one of the single hardest hitters on the scene today.
Stevenson had a great year last year, but the remainder of 2014 looks set to be a very rough road for him when it comes to his remaining as a champion. Whether it’s Hopkins or Kovalev next, judging solely by last night’s showing on the part of the WBC boss (and maybe that’s unfair, as Stevenson perhaps underestimated Fonfara; something he would not do heading into a fight with either Hopkins or Kovalev) Stevenson looks set for the hardest fight of his career.