The promoter of light heavyweight Andrzej Fonfara contends that the Polish-born Chicago resident not only "showed that he belonged with the best at that weight" during Saturay's unanimous decision loss to RING/WBC titleholder Adonis Stevenson, but that both Fonfara and Stevenson "can beat" WBO beltholder Sergey Kovalev.
A 36-year-old southpaw, Stevenson (24-1, 20 knockouts) scored knockdowns in the first and fifth rounds and rose from the canvas himself in the ninth for the triumph over Fonfara (25-3, 15 KOs), 26, who brought a run of 15 straight victories, 12 by knockout, to the Showtime-televised clash in Montreal.
"Listen, he's a pretty good fighter, and he learned a lot, but I wasn't surprised. We expected to win the fight," said Leon Margules, of Warriors Boxing, Fonfara's promoter, during an interview with RingTV.com.
"Obviously, Andrzej showed he belonged with the best at that weight. He came within a hair of knocking out Stevenson, who, to me, is the best of all of them."
Stevenson had stopped 10 consecutive opponents prior to facing Fonfara, his last loss being a second-round TKO by Darnell Boone in April 2010.
In victory over Fonfara, Stevenson is hoping for a showdown with 49-year-old Bernard Hopkins, who was in action last month with a majority-decision victory over Beibut Shumenov, unifying the IBF and WBA belts.
Meanwhile, Kovalev (24-0-1, 22 KOs) was last in the ring scoring three knockdowns on the way to a seventh-round knockout of previously unbeaten southpaw Cedric Agnew, which followed November's second-round knockout of Ismayl Sillakh. The 6-foot Kovalev is 12-0-1 with 12 knockouts in his past 13 fights.
Before facing the 5-foot-11 Stevenson, the nearly 6-foot-3 Fonfara was last in action during December's second-round knockout of Samuel Miller, which followed a ninth-round stoppage of ex-beltholder Gabriel Campillo in August. He had last suffered defeat against Derrick Findley by second-round stoppage in July 2008.
"Kovalev would be a fight that we would be interested in," said Margules. "I think that Andrzej can beat Kovalev, and I think that Stevenson can beat Kovalev, but that's just my opinion."