Will the Boxing Spotlight Be Back On Canada In 2014?
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Will the Boxing Spotlight Be Back On Canada In 2014?
By Joseph “The Mad Boxing Genius” Torres, Doghouse Boxing (Dec 19, 2013)

Canada Boxing Spotlight by Chee
Image by Chee, Doghouse Boxing Inc.
Back in 2007, Canada started putting their “Maple Leaf” stamp on the boxing world in a major way.

In late 2007, Joachim Alicine captured a 154 lbs. world championship belt which started the snowball effect. This led to a “shark sighting” as Adrian Diaconu decided he wanted to become a world champ too and took the WBC title. This momentum proved to be contagious as boxing success north of the border soon rubbed off on future world champions and pound for pound entrants Lucian Bute and Jean Pascal. Then, there was David Lemieux! He was Canada’s and the middleweight divisions version of Oscar De La Hoya – a young, good looking, charismatic, power punching prospect that was being groomed as a sure fire PPV main event star.

Now, keep in mind all of these fighters have a Quebec (specifically The City of Montreal) link. Canada’s best fighters have always had a link to the province of Quebec; Arturo Gatti, the Hilton Brothers, Stephane Oulette and Eric Lucas. It’s like our version of Philly fighters… there’s just something special about them. But, even the usually boxing wasteland of Ontario, Canada managed to pull off a world class fighter of their own in the undefeated IBF super-bantamweight world champion Steve Molitor. These were just a few names that were in mainstream boxing. We have even more up and coming fighters that had all the potential in the world that wouldn’t have been noticed as easily if it weren’t for the warriors mentioned above.

This was an era that lasted a few years – roughly between 2007 to early 2012. Canadian boxing was certainly at an all-time high when it came to producing elite fighters and big time fights.

Sure, we had a few fighters scattered throughout history that would make noise like George Chuvalo, Donny Lalonde and Billy Irwin but this era was much different from theirs. There had never been another time in Canadian boxing history that had as many elite boxers competing all at once.

But, with all the fighters and the buzz, the big showdown that not only had all of Canada salivating for but fans all over the world, was a match-up between IBF super-middleweight champion Lucian Bute and WBC and universally recognized light-heavyweight champion Jean Pascal.

These two men were the epitome of elite skill and superior athleticism. They were both undefeated and had a strong belief in their abilities, almost to the point of being cocky. Always being within a division of each other throughout their careers the fight was inevitable. They even had a little back story going for them as Jean Pascal’s promoter Yvon Michel used to work for the promotional company that Lucian Bute is associated with, InterBox. Yes, this was a fight that would really solidify Canada (or at least the City of Montreal) as a legitimate place to hold big time fights!

But alas, like any meal that you leave cooking for too long, you then run the risk of burning it. And, burn it did when Jean Pascal lost it all to the ageless wonder in Bernard Hopkins. Then, not too long after, Lucian Bute lost his title and undefeated record by devastating TKO to Carl Froch. Many considered both men exposed. Jean Pascal considered nothing more than a world class 4-round fighter while people started to believe that Lucian Bute didn’t have the world class jaw to stay at the highest level of the sport.

This was a major setback to Canadian boxing but it isn’t the only one that went down – thus leading to the country’s recent downfall.

Steve Molitor lost his IBF championship and undefeated record to fellow titlist Celestino Caballero by 4th round TKO within this period… 2008 to be exact. Although he wasn’t the same after that fight, he did manage to regain his title only to lose it again to a man he had beaten twice before. One more loss in late 2012 and he officially called it a career earlier this year.

David Lemieux, the good looking, charismatic prospect lost a title eliminator to Marco Antonio Rubio when his trainer Russ Anber threw in the towel in a competitive contest on ESPN’s Friday Night Fights. He then lost his next match-up to fellow Canadian and underachieving former champion Joachim Alcine.

Canadian boxing had pretty much crumbled off the map until Lucian Bute and Jean Pascal not only rebounded with wins but managed to finalize their long awaited match-up together. Perhaps a little late, but the recent wins along with intelligent promotional marketing regained some of the luster that was lost.

Now, there’s legitimate interest in this match-up world wide. And, it’s not because it brings back big time boxing back to The Great White North but rather the consequences and rewards that will follow. The loser will likely be done as a serious attraction and as an A-type of fighter. The winner however, will go on to bigger and better things specifically a chance to face fellow Canadian fighter, rising star, the recognized lineal light-heavyweight champion and as this article is being written, SI.com’s Fighter of the Year 2013 in Adonis Stevenson. And of course, Sergey Kovalev is in the mix at light-heavyweight as well. He’s a fast rising light-heavyweight titlist from Russia known as “Krusher”. He will certainly make his presence felt on Canadian territory if (but most likely when) he faces Stevenson in an all-out, bombs away unification bout.

In addition to this exciting link of the three light heavyweight Canadian fighters (and 1 Russian knockout artist) that could muster up several interesting bouts, the Canadian boxing scene has more to offer than just this.

David Lemieux has since rebounded with 6 victories with 5 of them coming within the distance. Orangeville, Ontario’s Logan McGuiness is still an undefeated fighter going into 2014 and as of the November rankings, is a top-10 contender for the WBA 130 lbs. strap.

It looks like after a short layoff from the big stage, Canada is making a comeback (or at least appears to be on the mend). Oh Canada indeed, Eh?

- TO WRITE FOR DOGHOUSE BOXING: E-mail John J. Raspanti now at: marlow_58@hotmail.com

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