Joe Smith Jr. at Friday’s weigh-in/Photo courtesy of Nabeel Ahmad, Premier Boxing Champions
Andrzej Fonfara had something to say about Joe Smith Jr. in the days leading to their light heavyweight bout Saturday at UIC Pavilion in Chicago.
“I know he has a big punch, because he wins fights by knockout,” Fonfara said of Smith, who took a record of 21-1 and 17 knockouts into their bout. “But who has he knocked out? The guy who was a little bit better, Will Rosinsky, he went the distance (with Smith). He has heavy, wide punches and we will be ready for him.”
Famous last words.
Some of those heavy punches found the heavily favored Fonfara (28-4). He was sent crashing to the canvas twice in the first round, the second time ending the fight as Smith shockingly knocked out Fonfara with 28 seconds left.
The fight was televised by NBC.
Fonfara came in ranked as high as No. 2 by one of the four major governing bodies. Smith (22-1, 18 KOs), of Long Island, N.Y., was unranked, but figures to find his way into the rankings after this.
Fonfara, of Chicago via Poland, was fighting in front of his fans.
Rau’shee Warren of Cincinnati got revenge when he won a majority decision over Juan Carlos Payano of Miami via the Dominican Republic to take Payano’s bantamweight world title. Scores were 114-114 and 115-113, 115-113 in favor of Warren (14-1).
Payano (17-1) had made the first defense of his belt when he won a split-decision over Warren this past August in Winter Park, Fla.