Andrzej Fonfara dominates Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. to earn TKO win

April 19, 2015

Carson, Calif.  -- Years from now, boxing historians may mark down the date of April 18, 2015, as the day the Julio Cesar Chavez Junior hype machine officially ended.

The erosion process already had been well underway.  Struggles to make weight, failed drug tests, and an indifferent attitude toward training, all had started to disillusion Chavez Junior's once-blindly loyal fanbase.

But after getting thoroughly outworked through nine rounds Saturday night, and then refusing to answer the bell for Round 10, Chavez Junior committed an unpardonable sin, at least in the eyes of his fans.  Their displeasure was immediately obvious, as beer and boos rained down into the ring from all sections of the raucous crowd of 8,636.

Make no mistake, the busier Andrzej Fonfara (27-3, 16 KOs) was the primary cause of Chavez Junior's demise, as he proved to be the vastly better boxer and exposed Junior's many flaws.

Fonfara's stiff left jab, superior hand speed, and rapid combination punching dominated Chavez Jr. (48-2-1, 32 KOs) en route to his technical knockout victory at the StubHub Center.  Fonfara floored the son of the Mexican legend late in Round 9, setting the scene for Chavez Junior's corner to stop the fight between rounds.

At the time of the stoppage, the judges had the bout scored 88-81, 88-81, and 89-80 all for Fonfara.  The DSH scored it 87-82 for Fonfara.  Fonfara had one point deducted in Round Seven for improperly ramming Chavez Junior with his shoulder.

Fonfara, a confident fighter who has competed well against such world class boxers as Adonis Stevenson, wasted no time establishing who was boss in the ring, as he peppered Chavez Junior with sharp, crisp combinations in Round One.

“I knew he was a tough fighter, quick and in good shape, but when he hit me for the first time in the first round, I knew I was going to win this fight," said Fonfara.  "He didn’t punch as hard as everybody said he did."

Chavez tried to respond by attacking Fonfara's body, landing some thudding left hooks in Rounds 2 and 4.  Fonfara, however, took those shots well and seemed to always throw a quick countering combination in response.

“Chavez said before the fight that he didn’t think I could take his body punch," said Fonfara.  "I think I took them pretty good and passed that test."

Tactically, Chavez Junior erred because he failed to set up his power shots with jabs.

According to Compubox's punch statistics, of the 328 total punches thrown by Chavez Jr., only 60 were jabs.  Worse yet for Chavez, only nine of those jabs (15%) landed.  The lack of a consistent jab, coupled with Chavez Junior's slow hands, allowed Fonfara to see the shots coming for the most part.

Meanwhile, Fonfara was a workhorse the entire night, throwing 821 total punches and landing 285 -- more than double the 118 landed by Chavez Jr.  Moreover, Fonfara frequently got off first in the exchanges and let his jab dictate his offense, throwing 293 jabs and connecting on 77 (26%).

Fonfara's accuracy seemed to improve throughout the fight, as Chavez Junior's lack of head movement made him an easy target.  Whenever Chavez had his opponent pinned against the ropes, Fonfara would simply pivot to his left and unleash a left hook to get himself out of harm's way.

In the decisive ninth round, that same escape strategy proved to be the difference for Fonfara, as he launched a vicious left hook to Chavez's head with 50 seconds remaining.  The shot dropped Chavez Junior immediately, putting him on the canvas for the first time in 52 professional fights.

“I saw his punches easily coming in," said Fonfara.  "I know I threw more punches. I was a little surprised that he did not come out for the (10th) but he was cut, had been getting beat up and had just got knocked down, so he knew what would happen if he came out.

After Round Nine, Chavez Junior could be heard telling trainer Joe Goossen that his leg was hurt and that he was done.  Moments later, the fight was halted.

"It was my decision," said Goossen, perhaps trying to save face for his fighter.  "I didn’t like what I saw."

Over the years, Chavez Jr. has proven that aside from his family name, he has possessed one asset allowing him to regularly win fights -- his ability to shed weight.

Often Chavez would make weight and then drastically balloon back up on fight night without those fluctuations significantly draining his energy.  As a result, he always had a size and strength advantage over his opponents that compensated for his slow hands and plodding style.

As Chavez has aged however, it has become more difficult for him to make weight.  He has gone from middleweight to super middleweight, and then chose to fight Fonfara at a catch weight between the super middleweight and light heavyweight limit.

As a result, for perhaps the first time in his career, Chavez Jr. entered the ring -- after a one-year layoff, no less -- as the smaller man and without his trademark size advantage.  Lacking the skills and athleticism to compensate for the size difference, Chavez Junior was dominated thoroughly.

For Chavez Jr., one can claim, without exaggeration, that this is the low point of his career.  Although he was dominated by Sergio Martinez a few fights ago, Martinez was an elite fighter, and Chavez gamely rallied in the final round of that fight.

This loss is worse for so many reasons.

First, the manner of the loss -- seemingly quitting on his stool -- has permanently cost him some fans.  Second, he has learned that he probably is not built to fight the best light heavyweights, shutting down that division as a career option.  Third, his questionable dedication to training cannot guarantee that he can make even make weight at super middleweight should he elect to compete at 168 pounds.  As such, his career is at a crossroads, and his choices are somewhat limited.

“Maybe 170,172 pounds is too big for me, maybe I’ll go back down," said Chavez Jr.  "I’m not sure what my future holds. It was a very tough fight. But I congratulate Andrzej.”

Fonfara, on the other hand, could be in line for a rematch with Adonis Stevenson, especially since a Stevenson-Sergey Kovalev bout once again appears to be scuttled.

“I know there are things I can still work on in training to become a more complete boxer, but tonight was a dream come true," said Fonfara.  "I want a rematch with (Light Heavyweight World Champion) Adonis Stevenson.”

The Undercard

On the undercard, undefeated world-ranked super lightweight Amir Imam (17-0, 14 KOs) won a lopsided 10-round decision over Walter Castillo.

The judges'  scores failed to reflect the competitive nature of the bout, as Castillo's determined body attack along the ropes in the early rounds made things uncomfortable for Imam.

“I thought I won the fight," said Castillo.  "I didn’t get credit for the punches I threw. The judge [Jack Reiss] who scored it 100-90; well, that gives me no chance to win here. The cut bothered me in the early rounds, but was not a factor after.”

Imam, 24, adjusted as the fight progressed, as his left jab and straight right hand began to have an effect on Castillo.  Imam seemed to hurt Castillo in Rounds Seven and Ten, as his footwork and quick hands proved to be the difference.

“My combinations were effective the whole night, we stuck to our gameplan and came out victorious,’’ said Imam. “I want any of the world champions next.’’

The loss ended Castillo's nine-fight winning streak.

By Mike Elliott
Editor for

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