Quebec Fighters Victorious…Except Against Brian Vera

By John G. Thompson - This Friday evening at the Uniprix Stadium in Montreal, Quebec, Canada every local fighter won, with the exception of those who fought Texan Brian Vera and Mexican Alfredo Chavez. While the second round knockout of Manolis Plaitis 15-1-1 (7 KO’s) by Chavez 5-1 (3 KO’s) was not televised, the third round stoppage of Sebastien Demers 31-3 (11 KO’s) by Vera 17-4 (11 KO’s) was something to see.

Vera had been considered an underdog going into the bout, having lost his last three fights (or four of his last six). Upon closer inspection, however, Brian Vera has fought nothing but undefeated fighters in his last four bouts.. In the two bouts prior to that, Vera’s opponents each had only one loss. One of Vera’s knockout losses came at the hands of the dangerously talented James Kirkland, who will be released from prison soon according to recent news. Vera also possesses a decent stoppage win over then undefeated Andy Lee. Sebastien Demers holds wins over Matt Vanda and William Joppy, and has been in with the likes of former middleweight champion Arthur Abraham.

Demers did well in the first two rounds, controlling the action with his jab and moving forward. By the start of the third round, however, Vera took the lead and backed up Demers. One minute into the round Vera connected with a hard jab and followed it up with a right hook, knocking Demers down. The Canadian got up before referee Marlon B. Wright started the mandatory eight count. This was the controversial Montreal referee who’s career will live in infamy following a long count which allowed hometown favorite Lucian Bute to retain his title against Librado Andrade. Though to be fair, Wright may have gotten it right this evening. Vera smelled the win and threw everything in his arsenal, backing Demers into the ropes and dropping him again with a series of shots. After another eight count, Demers continued, only to absorb flush straight rights and overhand rights, until Wright justifiably stepped in to stop the bout with fifty-seven seconds left in the third round.

The main event of this ESPN Friday Night Fights broadcast was a complete blowout as Montreal’s own David Lemieux 23-0 (22 KO’s) faced “The Wrath of God” Elvin Ayala 20-5-1 (9 KO’s) of New Haven, Connecticut, knocking him down three times to earn a first round stoppage. Lemieux may have been somewhat untested; he fought all of his professional bouts in Canada and twelve of his prior opponents did not possess winning records. But a fighter is not entirely defined by the level of his competition, and Lemieux showed his talents against the exciting Ayala.

Both fighters pressed the action early on trying to establish dominance. Ayala may have been throwing more punches, but Lemieux’s tight shell defense blocked almost every shot. When Lemieux let his hands go his accuracy and power became instantly apparent and at just over one minute into the round he let loose with a left hook - right hook - left hook combination which sent Ayala down into the ropes. Ayala got up quickly as he never went completely down, though referee Gerry Bolen correctly ruled it a knockdown as the ropes were the only thing holding Ayala up.

After the eight count, Lemieux went to work with hooks and uppercuts putting Ayala down again. Ringside commentator Joe Tessitore yelled, “Ayala just crumbles to the ground! Can he steady himself? Can he get up?” Ayala did get up on the count of nine, with just thirty seconds left in the first round. To Ayala’s warrior credit (though perhaps not representative of good sense), instead of holding on he chose to fight. Lemieux hit Ayala with a hard right which sent him into the ropes and as Ayala was bouncing off the ropes, Lemieux hit him with a left hook which put Ayala down again. Referee Bolen immediately waved off the fight. The promising middleweight David Lemieux said it best in the post fight interview, when he commented, “I can punch.”

Marlon Wright refereed another bout this evening between another Montreal resident, Tony Luis 9-0 (3 KO’s), and the more experienced Adrian Valdez 19-8-3 (10 KO’s) of Mexico. The fight between these lightweights was marred by numerous low blows, shots to the back of the head, and the occasional shoulder shot.

In the first round Valdez landed a low blow while his head was being held down by Luis. While Wright attempted to separate them, Luis answered with a low blow of his own. In the second round, Luis started hopping up and down during a clench, obviously trying to hit Valdez with his shoulder, prompting Valdez to throw a shoulder of his own. There were several shots to the back of the head by each fighter in the third and the low blow story repeated itself in the fourth. In the fifth round, Luis landed a beautiful left hook which Valdez never saw coming, as he was attempting a hook of his own. After seeing his fighter to a neutral corner, Wright promptly started the count at five. Valdez got up at nine, but his corner stopped the fight. On the whole, Luis looked decent and his work rate picked up as the rounds went on. It seems odd that this was only his third knockout in nine bouts.

Also in action in Montreal, super featherweight Kevin Lavallee 1-0 (1 KO) made his professional debut in his homeland, as the college business administration major took on Carlos Martinez 5-7 (3 KO’s) of Mexico City. Both men came to fight, though Lavallee controlled the action from the start. Lavallee also showed great fundamentals as he backed Martinez into a corner with a double jab which set up the perfect right which followed, connecting flush with the nose of Martinez. Martinez went down and made no effort to beat the count, blood streaming from his nose. You don’t get much better of a start for a fighter than a first round knockout in his hometown.

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Article posted on 12.06.2010

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