Andrzej Fonfara and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. did their best to match the excitement of Matthysse-Provodnikov at the StubHub Center in Los Angeles California. They didn't achieve quite those heights, but it was a hell of a good fight.
Chavez didn't exactly make himself likable early as he complained incessantly to the referee about everything from Fonfara pushing down on his head (after putting it right under his arm to be pushed) to headbutts (despite his own rough head positioning tactics). Still, he was competitive with Fonfara in the early stages of the fight, trading rounds and punches with him. By the middle of the bout, however, Fonfara seemed to have found his range, and his rhythm.
He popped Chavez repeatedly with short punches, not sitting down on them but putting just enough force into each to snap Chavez's head back, while keeping them fast enough to be thrown in machine-gun combination. Fonfara lost a point for a very rough shoulder bump in the seventh, which didn't really make sense considering the fact that Chavez was driving into him with forehead and shoulder all night, but he recovered admirably, went on to win a 9-9 round, and then dropped Chavez just two rounds later for the first time in his career.
Chavez quit on the stool shortly after, emphatically telling trainer Joe Goossen that he wanted no more. The fans booed uproariously, even pelting the ring and everyone in it with refuse and beer containers. The sad thing about this is that Chavez really can't win. Fight fans--especially Mexican fans--feel obligated to root for him because of the name he shares with his father, a true legend of the sport. And yet this arbitrary adoration turns into abject hatred the moment he doesn't stack up to his incomparable ancestor. It's a tough situation to figure out. Less difficult to figure out is this: Andrzej Fonfara looked great, and reestablished himself as a top light heavyweight.
Andrzej Fonfara defeats Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. by TKO (retirement), round nine
In the first televised bout of the night, touted prospect Amir Imam fought hard-nosed Walter Castillo in the main event. Imam (17-0, 14 KO) has been celebrated for his knockout power in the past but, like Keith Thurman, he proved tonight that he can really box. Castillo (25-2-0, 18 KO) gave Imam a serious run for his money early in the fight, especially after discovering that Imam doesn't deal with left hooks so well. It didn't help that Imam was frequently content to sit and wait on Castillo to come in, trying to counter him with everyone's favorite new cliche, the shoulder roll right hand.
When Imam straightened up and got back on his jab, he began to pull ahead. It was close for several more rounds, but Imam stabbed high and low with his left, hammered Castillo with occasional right hands, and used his footwork more and more to keep the distance between himself and his pressure-fighting foe. What was at first a close fight ended up feeling like a walkout, and this was an important win for Imam over a very credible opponent.
Amir Imam defeats Walter Castillo by Unanimous Decision (99-91, 100-90, 98-92)
Bad Left Hook scored it 98-92 for Imam.