The Adonis Stevenson vs Andrzej Fonfara rematch takes place this weekend. Here’s what you need to know ahead of the world title fight.
This time the expectation is at it’s highest for the Canadian to do so in style.
On Saturday, we find out if a year out of the ring will prove a help or a hindrance to the 39-year old long-time WBC Light Heavyweight ruler.
But as he approaches 40, there is certainly no time to waste if he is to legitimise himself at the top of the 175lbs division.
Stevenson 28-1(23KO’s) has slowly become the forgotten man, as the once two-horse race between himself and Sergey Kovalev has been interrupted, with Andre Ward defeating Kovalev to become the man at Light Heavy.
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Kovalev and Ward will rematch later this year, while Stevenson – who has done himself little favours over the years in securing a super-fight – will have to wait on the outside looking in.
And now, with the aforementioned division leaders locking horns, Stevenson has become the man that all contenders are aiming for.
Fonfara 29-4(17KO’s) gave Stevenson plenty to ponder over in 2014, but at the same Bell Centre in Montreal, he is likely to come up short again in his second bid to gain world honours.
Wins over Julio Cesar Chavez Jr and Nathan Cleverly put his name firmly back on the map, but a stunning first round defeat to Joe Smith Jr pushed him back to where he started, and for nearly 10 rounds it looked as if his name was set to fade further into the distance before Chad Dawson gassed out and was stopped in the final round of their March clash.
While Fonfara can cause problems once again for the champion, Stevenson is heavily favoured to get the job done again, this time inside the scheduled distance. Pick: Stevenson TKO 7
The most significant fight takes place in the co-feature as Eleider Alvarez must remain patient as his long wait to face Stevenson goes on.
The Columbian born fighter – living out of Canada – is now 33-years old and will no doubt have concerns that a slip up against the experienced Jean Pascal could end his title dreams altogether.
Alvarez 22-0(11KO’s) has served a good apprenticeship, coming through his toughest test against Isaac Chilemba in November 2015. A fifth-round stoppage of a faded Lucian Bute has pushed him one step closer to his end goal.
But there is far more left in the legs of Jean Pascal 31-4-1(18KO’s), and the slick Canadian will teach his fresher counterpart more than a few valuable lessons this weekend.
Pascal will need to bring an intensity that he has experienced with the likes of Kovalev (twice), Carl Froch, Bernard Hopkins (twice) and many more world class operators.
Alvarez will be keen to keep it at range and earn his stripes in a clean-cut fight. Pascal must fight in bursts and pressurise the favourite from the very start.
This will be an integral learning curve, but one Alvarez can come through after 12 hard rounds.
Pascal will feel hard done by, but the judges will prefer the cleaner work from Alvarez as opposed to the authoritative bursts from the challenger. Pick: Alvarez MD