Coming off the longest layoff of his career, former middleweight titlist Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. took a dangerous comeback fight above his natural weight against light heavyweight contender Andrzej Fonfara.
And the results were disastrous. Chavez was beaten to the punch repeatedly and lacked any semblance of defense on Saturday in a one-sided TKO loss at the StubHub Center in Carson, California. The fight was contested at a catchweight of 172 pounds.
After getting knocked down for the first time in his career in Round 9, Chavez (48-2-1, 32 KOs) - who was bleeding from his nose and suffered bad swelling around both eyes -- asked out of the fight between rounds, telling trainer Joe Goossen he injured his leg.
"I think I [was winning] the fight," said Chavez, who was trailing by a wide margin on all three scorecards at the time of the stoppage. "My strategy is to work the body but the guy is too heavy for me. He's a good fighter. I want a rematch at 170."
Chavez, 29, was making his first appearance since outpointing middleweight Bryan Vera in their rematch -- held at 168 pounds -- last March. But he was in over his head from the very beginning against Fonfara (27-1, 16 KOs), a native of Warsaw, Poland, who fights out of Chicago.
Fonfara, 27, sent a message in Round 1 by routinely backing Chavez up with right hands over the top and simply outmuscled him in close.
"I know Chavez is tough fighter. He don't quit. He's in good shape. But what I saw in the first round, I knew I would win this fight," Fonfara said. "He hit me with one good punch, I catch it, and I say this guy don't have punch because he hit me as hard as he can.
"I'm open a little bit and I move because I don't fear his punches and his power."
Chavez, who attempted just nine jabs in the fight and was outlanded 285 to 118, according to CompuBox, rallied to gain back respect in Round 2 by walking Fonfara down with body shots and uppercuts in close. But any success for Chavez was few and far between moving forward as his output lowered the more Fonfara's confidence grew.
As Chavez routinely dropped his head and bore forward without covering up, Fonfara caught him coming in round after round with hard shots to swell his face.
"[Chavez] led with his head a lot. He thought I [would] stay straight and he could get me with right hands," Fonfara said. Before in an interview, he said I can't take body shots. I tried my best and showed that I could take them."
Fonfara was docked a point in Round 7 for leading with his shoulder. But he came back in Round 9 to floor Chavez with a perfect short left hook.
"I feel good, this is just a different weight," Chavez said. "I tried to make my fight and go to the body but the guy is heavy. 172 is too much for me."