WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis "Superman" Stevenson (24-1, 20 KO) had to dig deeper than most thought he would, but he proved Andrzej Fonfara (25-3) was not his kryptonite on Saturday night in Montreal.
World Boxing News has the official scorecard.
Stevenson won a hard-fought unanimous decision in a fight that saw both men hit the canvas.
Great body work was the key to the win for Stevenson. Steve Kim of Max Boxing agreed.
Things started with a bang. Stevenson used a straight left hand to put Fonfara down. Stevenson swarmed and landed several power shots, but he couldn't quite finish the rugged Polish fighter.
Fonfara showed off his chin and will to survive in the first round. In the second round, he still hadn't found an answer for Stevenson's hard left hand. The champion set the pace but peeled back the aggression.
After it was over, Stevenson indicated he suffered an injury to his hand that might have prompted the slowed pace.
In the third round, Fonfara had a few moments, as it appeared Stevenson was altering his style or perhaps showing the effects of the injury.
In the fourth round, Stevenson began to put money in the bank with hard shots to the body. A healthy withdrawal was made in the fifth when a left hand to the midsection sent Fonfara to a knee.
Like a warrior, Fonfara quickly rose from the shot and again survived the round.
Stevenson was content to pick his opponent apart with hard counter combinations to the head and body.
The edge in hand speed was apparent, but after the sixth round, Stevenson seemed to be tiring.
Stevenson was still in control, but Fonfara wouldn't allow him to relax. In the seventh round, the challenger fiercely grabbed the momentum.
Stevenson began to have problems slipping the long right hand. Fonfara appeared to win the seventh and eighth rounds. In the ninth, he made things really interesting.
A left-right combination sent the champion to the canvas for just the second time in his career, and the Montreal crowd had to fear its favorite was in trouble.
The challenger tried to finish, but he couldn't quite stop the exhausted Stevenson.
To the champion's credit, he came back and showed heart in the final three rounds. Fighting through stamina issues, he pounded Fonfara's battered body with myriad shots.
The final round was not for the faint of heart.
Both men slugged with a vengeance. They traded shots and taunted each other to the delight of the crowd.
Stevenson did the best work, and Fonfara was a bit dirty late. He threw about two punches that were well after the bell. But he still earned a ton of respect from his overall performance.
After it was over, Fonfara said what we were all thinking about him.
Most people regarded Fonfara as a joke of an opponent for Stevenson. It looked as if the champion was ducking WBO titleholder Sergey Kovalev in taking the bout.
Kovalev and Stevenson were seemingly on a collision course, but Stevenson bolted HBO for a deal with Showtime and manager Al Haymon.
If he was looking for a easy night, he didn't get one.
Fonfara clearly lost the fight, but he gave Stevenson all he could handle. The 26-year-old from Warsaw has an interesting future.
Stevenson's next fight could very well be a unification bout against WBA and IBF champion and future Hall of Famer Bernard Hopkins.
A Hopkins-Stevenson bout would be a huge attraction in both Canada and the United States. Fight fans all over the world can only hope it happens.
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