WATCH Fonfara put Chavez on the canvas for the first time! http://t.co/as5hZdIU1r— SHOWTIME SPORTS (@SHOsports) April 19, 2015
CARSON, Calif. -- Andrzej Fonfara spoiled Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.'s return the ring, stopping him after nine rounds on Saturday night in front of 8,636 at StubHub Center.
Chavez (48-2-1, 32 KOs), a former WBC middleweight champion who was fighting for the first time in 13 months after a protracted contract dispute with Top Rank, bit off more than he could chew by taking on the Polish-born Fonfara (27-3, 16 KOs), who took lineal light-heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson the distance in a loss last year.
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"When he hit me for the first time in the first round, I knew I was going to win this fight," Fonfara said. "He doesn't punch as hard as people said he did. I could see all his punches coming."
Chavez tried to establish himself as the aggressor early in the fight, but he was unable to do any damage to Fonfara with his body shots. Fonfara answered with combinations, uppercuts and left hooks every time Chavez tried to generate any offense.
Fonfara was starting to bust up Chavez face by the sixth round. Chavez tried to fight back bravely, but Fonfara more than doubled his punch output and connect rate. Fonfara threw 821 total punches and connected on 285, while Chavez threw 328 and landed 118.
Fonfara had a point deducted for holding and hitting in the seventh round, but he was clearly starting to pull away from him.
Fonfara moved in for the kill in the ninth round. Fonfara connected with a left hook that got Chavez's attention early in the round. He couldn't miss with his uppercuts. Chavez landed a left hook to the body, but Fonfara countered with a left hook to the jaw that sent the Mexican crashing to the canvas. Chavez beat the count and tried to fight back, but he was clearly hurt.
Joe Goossen, who just took over as Chavez's trainer prior to this fight, advised the referee to stop the fight between rounds.
"It was my decision," Goossen said. "I didn't like what I saw."
Fonfara said he expected the fight to continue.
"I was a little surprised he didn't come out for the next round," said Fonfara, who said he wants a rematch with Stevenson. "But he was cut and getting beat up and he just got knocked down, so he knew what was going to happen if he came out."
It appears Chavez, who had never been knocked down or stopped, is headed back down in weight.
"Maybe, 170 or 172 is too big for me," said Chavez, who was taken to the hospital after the fight as a precautionary measure. "He's a tough fighter. It was a tough fight. I congratulate him. Maybe I need to go back down."
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