Montreal, Quebec (SportsNetwork.com) - WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson did both the expected and the unexpected en route to retaining his title with a unanimous 12-round decision over challenger Andrzej Fonfara before an enthusiastic 7,500 fans at the Bell Centre.
Stevenson dropped his foe with a straight left hand to the head in the first round and again with a left to the body in the fifth, but had to rise from the canvas himself in the ninth after Fonfara -- 10 years younger at age 26 -- landed a short left hook and a long right hand.
He rallied well after the surprise, however, and resumed stalking Fonfara in rounds 10 and 11 before engaging in a memorable final three minutes in which both fighters landed telling blows.
Stevenson won two scorecards with counts of 115-110 and the third by 116-109.
"I fight tough guys and accept all challenges," he said. "I went down, but I still came back strong because I'm a true champion. Who gets knocked down? All the best ones, Ali, Roy Jones, all the best guys. I told everybody that (Fonfara) was strong and he was ready. He came to be a world champion."
The decision ended a streak of 13 straight wins by stoppage for Stevenson, who's now 24-1.
Fonfara, who'd briefly held the IBO's title at 175 pounds in 2013, is 25-3 after losing for the first time in six years.
"Tonight, Stevenson was better, but I'm still a young guy and one day I'll be a world champion," he said. "In the ninth round I got him, but he survived. He did everything a true champion needed to do."
Montreal fan favorite David Lemieux won his seventh straight fight since a two-bout skid three years ago, hammering Fernando Guerrero into a third-round knockout defeat in a scheduled 12-rounder for the vacant North American Boxing Federation middleweight championship.
Lemieux boosted his record to 32-2 and scored his 30th KO, ultimately finishing the fight with a left hook and a crunching right uppercut that dropped Guerrero for a 10-count by referee Michael Griffin at 1:56 of round three.
"Once I started to land my shots I could see it in his eyes that the game started to change," Lemieux said. "I'd love to fight anybody in the world at 160 (pounds). I have no problem fighting anybody. I am determined to be a world champion. I've worked very hard for this."
Lemieux landed 49 power punches to 19 for Guerrero, who sustained a jagged cut over his right eye and saw his career mark slide to 26-3, including three losses in eight fights after a 21-0 start.
Houston-based 154-pounder Jermell Charlo won his 24th straight fight as a pro with a wide unanimous decision over Charlie Ota in a 12-round bout. Charlo is a top-10 contender in rankings supplied by the IBF, IBO and WBO and is slotted at No. 14 by the Independent World Boxing Rankings.
He won the decision over Ota by scores of 115-111, 118-109 and 118-109.
Ota fell to 24-2-1 as a pro.
Other winners on the undercard included Yves Ulysse Jr., who stopped Carlos Olivera in one round at junior welterweight; Julian Williams, who improved to 16-0 with an eighth-round stoppage of Michael Medina at junior middleweight; and Colombian-born Eleider Alvarez, who's now 15-0 after a unanimous 10-round decision over Alexander Johnson at light heavyweight.