By Chris LaBate
Very few pundits were giving former junior middleweight champion Joachim Alcine (33-2) a shot at beating David Lemieux on Saturday at the Bell Centre in Montreal. Alcine, winless in two years and moving up to middleweight, appeared to be a safe comeback opponent for Lemieux, who was trying to get his career back on track after suffering a TKO loss to Marco Antonio Rubio in April.
It looked safe at first, until Alcine's experience overwhelmed the younger Lemieux (25-2, 24KOs). Alcine's punches were more accurate, he was busier and he hurt Lemieux several times in the contest. Alcine dominated several rounds so clean that everyone forgot who the underdog was. Two judges had it 116-112 for Alcine, with the third scoring it a draw.
Lemieux felt he won a close decision but offered few excuses.
"I tip my hat to him, he's a true champion. I really thought I won. Now I have to return to the gym and start working out. I was prepared for this fight and took it very seriously, but I may have mismanaged my energy. Joachim, he knew what he had to do. I know what mistakes I made and I know that I can beat him."
Even Lemieux's promoter was stunned by Alcine's performance.
"We underestimated Joachim Alcine," said Lemieux's promoter Yvon Michel. "We expected strong opposition, but never like this. The fight, however, was closer than the scores would indicate."