Andrzej Fonfara (27-3, 16 KO) came to Carson, California, to win, and that's exactly what he did in handing Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (48-2-1) the second loss of his second career. Fonfara secured a dominant ninth-round TKO when Chavez Jr. asked his corner to stop the fight between rounds, per the interpretation of Showtime's Felix De Jesus.
Initially, the pro-Chavez crowd at the StubHub Center was none too happy with the announcement that the fight was being stopped. They were likely under the impression that the decision came from the doctor or referee.
Showtime's Brian Custer talked about the current scene:
Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix applauded Showtime for bringing fans the audio confirming Chavez's submission on his stool:
Chavez had just been dropped for the first time in his professional career at the end of the ninth round. He made it to his feet, and actually kept slugging, but the sequence apparently broke his will to continue. Showtime Sports provided highlights:
Fonfara used his length and size to control the fight from the beginning of the bout. Whether it was on the inside with sharp and accurate uppercuts to the head and body or on the outside with a steady and consistent jab, Fonfara simply punished Chavez without reprieve.
Had the corner elected to stop the bout before it did, it wouldn't have been a bad idea. This one was never in doubt.
When the bout was over, Fonfara talked about passing the body-shot test with Showtime's Jim Gray (via Isaac Estrada of Real Boxing News):
Fonfara also called for a rematch with WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson, whom he floored, but lost a unanimous decision to in May 2014.
Chavez was a bit delusional after the bout and didn't own up to asking for the fight to be stopped. As a matter of fact, he told Gray that he believed he was winning the fight. Sports Visionz captured the look on Gray's face as Chavez said he thought he was ahead in the bout:
The fight was contested at a 173-pound catchweight. That is two pounds less than Fonfara's natural 175-pound weight limit and much more than the 160-pound weight class where Chavez has had the majority of his success.
Truth be told, 160 pounds is still the best weight class for Chavez, but there are serious concerns as to whether he's willing to discipline himself enough to make the weight. It seemed clear, Fonfara was too big and strong for him.
We'd never seen Chavez hurt prior to this bout, let alone dropped. It was a humbling experience for the son of the Mexican legend Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. We'll see where Chavez Jr. goes from here, but this loss should put him at a crossroads in his career.
He mentioned a rematch in the post-fight interview, but it's hard to imagine why that would be necessary.
Fonfara has put together three straight impressive performances. He had his moments in defeat against Stevenson. Fonfara then easily won a unanimous decision over Doudou Ngumbu in Novemeber 2014 prior to Saturday night's win.
If he doesn't get Stevenson next, Fonfara is at least in line for another solid spot on a card.
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