At the StubHub Center, California, Andrzej Fonfara became the first fighter to both knockdown and stop Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. The son of Mexican legend Chavez Sr. quit on his stool following a violent 9th round that saw him taste the canvas.
After a rough start which included some unsavory Queensberry manners, such as ill-positioned heads, pushing and headlocks, the bout got underway. Former Middleweight champ Chavez (48-2-1, 32 KO) held his own with Fonfara in the 172-pound catchweight contest. Punches were traded and fight fans were mostly happy.
But Fonfara (27-3, 16 KO) quickly began to adapt to his opponent and establish the greater rhythm, timing and range. His punches were more speed than power, but more than did the job. Chavez’s head was met by leather, snapping back and bouncing from shoulder to shoulder.
Already questions were starting to rise. Was this a rusty Chavez or a very good Fonfara? And most importantly: had Chavez bitten off more than he could chew in his return bout following a 13-month layoff?
All of the above seemed to be true when Fonfara continued to do damage and drop Chavez in the 9th, courtesy of a left-hook. The knockdown came as Fonfara’s exclamation point in the fight. Chavez beat the count, survived the round, but looked spent as he returned to his corner.
It was in between rounds that he then quit on his stool, unequivocally telling trainer Joe Goossen that enough was enough. And so Fonfara picked up the biggest win of his career, taking out Mexico’s favorite son – or certainly one of them, along with Canelo Alvarez and co – for the very first time. (Chavez Jr vs Fonfara Highlights)
Chavez has and always will have his detractors, but you have to feel for the guy here. Whatever the reason for hitting the ejector seat button in this fight, he didn’t deserve the cacophony of boos and riotous behavior from the crowd. Was it necessary to throw beer bottles and other culinary paraphernalia at and into the ring? Probably not.
Always compared to his famous father Chavez Sr., there is always going to be pressure on Chavez. Had he have won that night, he would of course still been criticized and engulfed by the media-created shadow of his father.
But moving on…
What does this outcome mean for boxing? Needless to say, very bad things for Chavez in just about every sense. The public forget knockouts and shutout decisions, but they seldom forget ‘quitters’. The alias of boxing legend Roberto Duran is as much recalled today as ‘No Mas’ (No More in English) as it is ‘Hands of Stone’ – all because of his retirement against Sugar Ray Leonard.
A loss to a lesser-known fighter like Fonfara (prior to the fight) will come as a major setback – not to mention swiftly removing Gennady Golovkin’s offer of $4.5 million to fight him. Ouch.
As for the night’s conqueror, Fonfara, he is sitting atop cloud nine right now. Big matches await, and he may well get his wish of landing a rematch with Adonis Stevenson. Fonfara isn’t quite Sergey Kovalev, so fight fans gonna’ hate if this bout materializes. But what can you do? Boxing politics and all that jazz…
Let us know your own take on Chavez vs Fonfara in the comments. Can Chavez rebuild, and what does the future have in store for Fonfara?
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