By Cliff Rold
28-year old Welterweight hopeful Antonin Decarie (25-1, 7 KO) of Laval, Quebec, Canada, used two knockdowns and an educated right to earn a rugged ten round unanimous decision over 34-year old veteran Shamone Alvarez (21-4, 12 KO) of Atlantic City, New Jersey in the main event at the Bell Centre in Montreal on Friday night.
Both men weighed in at the Welterweight limit of 147 lbs.
The southpaw Alvarez attempted a strong start in the first, his right jab popping to get him close for quick flurries. Decarie used his left jab and feet to create wise space and assumed control by the middle of the round, pinning the shorter man down and landing straight, isolated right hands.
Alvarez remained wired up for the second, already near mid-ring as the bell sounded while Decarie took more relaxed steps off the stool. Sliding to his right, Decarie looked for countering opportunities. Both men struggled to gauge the distance to target until the latter half of the round, Decarie landing hard to the body and Alvarez finding some quick long lefts.
With their feet a constant threat of tangle, both men stayed close to each other for lengthy spots in the third, falling into each other with clubbing power shots. A right hand from Decarie in the final ten seconds landed clean and true, Alvarez taking it well and still plugging forward. It was the Decarie left at the end of the fourth stunning the older man, an accidental head clash aiding the impact.
Alvarez pressed Decarie to the ropes early in the fifth but the left of Decarie had him struggling again just past the minute mark. Pressing, Decarie timed a right and Alvarez was on the seat of his trunks. Up by referee Marlon Wrights count of six, Alvarez nodded to continue at the end of the standing eight. Alvarez fought back, Decarie going to the body but touched with two lefts in the final fifteen seconds.
The sixth round was the worst of the night for Alvarez, Decarie repeatedly landing stiff rights and, sporadically, looking for left hooks behind them. Alvarez was unrelenting, still landing lefts when he could, but the punishment was mounting. The action remained steady in the seventh and eighth, Alvarez doing some of his best work in the latter until the closing seconds. His left eye sporting fresh crimson earned moments earlier, a Decarie right hand deposited Alvarez towards the floor, his love glove scraping the canvas for a ruled knockdown. Replays showed the paint at ring center might have aided the trip.
Well behind in the fight after two knockdowns scored, and fighting as the visiting team, Alvarez entered the final two rounds with a knockout his only real path to victory. It was not a path he could tread. Both men continued their earnest showing, no knockdowns scored over the final six minutes and Decarie staying ahead with the cleaner, harder shots. The local stars work was rewarded at scores of 97-91, 99-89 and 98-90.
Decarie will hope to improve on his #7 WBC rating at Welterweight. Alvarez drops his second straight by decision.
In the swing bout, fans got a look at promising 26-year old Congo native Lightweight Ghislain Maduma (3-0, 1 KO) of Montreal. He gave an impressive exhibition of speed and counter punching over four rounds versus the game but outmatched 28-year old Issac Bejarano (9-9-1, 7 KO) of Mexico en route to a four round unanimous decision.
Bejarano, 135, looking to get inside with the left jab, continually walked into lead lefts and long rights from the markedly faster Maduma, 133 ½, in the first. Matters improved little in the second but Maduma was unable to put the tough Bejarano on the floor. The effort to do so created some opportunities for Bejarano in the third, his game willingness to persist through punishment paying off with some nicely landed body blows. Maduma, accurate throughout the contest, was the least precise in the third as he loaded up for a finish but still lead comfortably. Maduma relaxed in the fourth and closed boxing strongly, ending with matching scores of 40-36 and an even more dominant 40-34 indicating two 10-8 rounds for Maduma.
The referee was Jean-Guy Brousseau.
The broadcast portion of the card opened with the second consecutive victory for solid, if unheralded, 29-year old Romanian Welterweight contender Jo Jo Dan (28-1, 15 KO), 146, of Montreal, since a controversial split decision loss to Selcuk Aydin in June 2010. Dan was contested well by 33-year old former Jr. Lightweight titlist Steve Forbes (35-9, 11 KO), 147, of Las Vegas, Nevada, until a nasty cut, caused by an accidental headbutt, sent the bout to the cards in the sixth round.
Dan, approximately four inches taller at 511 and a southpaw, controlled the bulk of the action though Forbes was always right there with him. The head clash came inside the final minute of the sixth, Forbes gouged badly above the left eye and ruled unable to continue. With Forbes shaking his head in frustration, Dan was awarded victory by unanimous scores of 58-56.
Forbes loses his sixth in nine contests, all over the distance. Forbes has never been stopped. Dan entered the contest rated #3 at Welterweight by the WBC and #7 by the WBA. The referee was Michael Griffin.
The card was televised in the U.S. on ESPN2 as part of its Friday Night Fights series.
Cliff Rold is a member of the Ring Magazine Ratings Advisory Panel and the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org