See if you can follow this… on Saturday night, Showtime will air a main event that was all set to air on HBO but will not face any head-to-head competition because HBO’s replacement 2 fight card was cancelled when one if its main event participants suffered an injury and that main event was put on the undercard of a future televised event while one of the co-feature’s fighters moves to the main event of that same card. Got that? If not, do not worry about it. We can just say “its complicated.”
Network complications though are an integral part of why Saturday night’s main event featuring Adonis Stevenson (23-1) defending the light heavyweight championship of the world against Andrzej Fonfara (25-2) was originally made. Stevenson’s promoter, Yvon Michel, initially arranged for this fight as part of a planned 2 fight series to air on HBO. The second fight was to be a highly anticipated title unification bout against Sergey Kovalev. However, Stevenson was reportedly unhappy with his purses for these bouts and eventually signed with Al Haymon who used his close ties with Showtime to arrange for a bigger purse for the Fonfara bout without the guarantee of a second bout. Once that was arranged, Showtime obtained a highly regarded champion and potential opponent for Bernard Hopkins but Kovalev’s promoters filed a lawsuit against Haymon, Showtime, Stevenson, Michel and Golden Boy Promotions (Hopkins’ promoter).
Despite the changes in networks, the fight essentially serves the same purpose. When it was to air on HBO, Fonfara was considered a showcase opponent to make Stevenson look great once again (just as Cedric Agnew was for Kovalev in March) and to serve as an advertisement for the highly anticipated Stevenson-Kovalev fight. Now it serves as a way to introduce Stevenson to Showtime’s subscribers and to drum up interest for a fall unification bout between Stevenson and Hopkins. The oddsmakers see what the networks were/are thinking and have installed Stevenson as a significant favorite (www.bet365.com lists “Superman” at 1-16 and Fonfara at 8-1; www.sportbet.com gives you -1900 for taking Stevenson and +1200 for Fonfara; and www.bovada.lv has Stevenson at -1600 and Fonfara at +800).
The other factors that weigh into the odds are Stevenson’s athleticism, speed and recent run of notable victories over Darnell Boone (to avenge his only loss),Chad Dawson, Tavoris Cloud and Tony Bellew. Most importantly though is that Stevenson has absolute dynamite in both hands… he is as pure a knock out puncher as there is in boxing. Fonfara on the other hand is not known as a puncher and he was stopped by journeyman Derrick Findley. Interestingly though, as pointed out by Maxboxing’s Gabriel Montoya, Fonfara has a 10 year age advantage, a three inch height advantage and a five inch reach advantage. Those traits will not be enough here… Stevenson is the easy pick.
Not surprisingly, there are no odds on the undercard fights. Undefeated junior middleweight contender Jermell Charlo (23-0) faces Charlie Ota (24-1-1). Charlo is coming off a career best win over Gabriel Rosado while Ota has faced mostly Japanese junior middleweights… Charlo is the pick. Additionally, two former can’t miss middleweight prospects, David Lemieux (31-2) and Fernando Guerrero (26-2). The key to this match is who can take the other’s punch. Lemieux seems a little better preserved as Guerrero’s punch resistance is basically all but gone. Lemieux is also the bigger fighter and fighting at home… Lemieux is the pick.
Author’s Record for the Year: 21-11 (2-0 last week!)
Author’s Record for 2013: 70-24-6