By Jake Donovan
It was a huge letdown earlier in the year when Pier-Olivier Cote was forced to withdraw from his scheduled February 3 showdown with Mauricio Herrera. The bout was set to air on Showtime’s ‘Shobox: The New Generation’ series, with the winner that much closer towards a 140 lb. title shot.
Despite sitting out for nearly seven months, Cote showed no signs of ring rust – or jet lag, traveling from Canada to the UK – to systematically pick apart Brit journeyman Mark Lloyd. The EPIX-televised preliminary bout ended with a convincing stoppage win for Cote at 2:45 of round five.
The bout was never competitive, as Cote was in control from the opening bell. The 36-year old Lloyd offered little to no offense; his most effective weapon was his ability to clinch. Once referee Terry O’Connell took that away after a warning in round four, the end was well in sight.
Cote closed the show strong in the fifth, scoring two knockdowns before the third man came to Lloyd’s rescue during a flurry at the end of the round. The ending came after Cote – by his own admission – struggled to maintain his early aggression.
“I’ve been out of the ring long enough and was ready to perform,” Cote (19-0, 13KO) said afterward. “The game plan was to work the body. It got away from me in rounds three and four. I came back in the fifth round to work the body and create the opening to finish like I did.”
The second knockdown of the round featured Cote’s pure athleticism. The Canadian prospect split Lloyd’s guard in scoring a well-placed left hook. Lloyd’s knees buckled before crumbling to the canvas. Cote was caught slightly off-guard as he was preparing to follow up with a right hand, instead leaping over his opponent to dart to a neutral corner.
Once action resumed following the knockdown, Cote closed the show like a future champ. Lloyd was on the ropes and under fire before referee Terry O’Connell intervened.
The bout marked just the third time Cote fought outside of Canada, though all shows coming within his last four contests over the course of the past 55 weeks. It was his first fight in the United Kingdom, though Cote hopes for more to come. He even has his next potential opponent in mind.
“I’ve been well-received here,” Cote acknowledged. “I would love to come back and fight one of the champions here like Gavin Rees.”
Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Boxingscene.com. Follow Jake on Twitter: @JakeNDaBox or submit questions/comments via e-mail.