THIS WEEKEND'S MONTREAL UNDERCARD
Press Release: While media attention has focused on Saturday night's main event in Montreal (airing live on HBO in the United States) featuring world light heavyweight champion Adonis "Superman" Stevenson (21-1, 18 KOs) in his first title defense against ex-IBF titlist Tavoris "Thunder" Cloud (24-1, 19 KOs), the remainder of the show presents five other Groupe Yvon Michel (GYM) boxers in action. First, former world light heavyweight champion Jean Pascal (22-2-1, 16 KOs) returns to the ring for the first time since last December, and his opponent is American George "Honey Boy" Blades (23-4-2, 16 KOs).
"It is a privilege and a luxury to have Pascal's participation in Saturday night's event," said President Yvon Michel of GYM. "He is still considered one of the biggest stars in the light heavyweight division and we all look forward to seeing him back in action. He's fighting for all the right reasons on Saturday and it was good to see him happily smiling during training camp. Currently there is no opponent who is more important for Jean's career than Blades. I expect an inspired performance from him as HBO executives watch him in action."
The 39-year-old Blades has been a professional boxer since 1999. From his pro debut through 2007, he won 20 of his first 22 pro fights. In June of 2007, he had a title shot against WBO light heavyweight champion Zsolt Erdei, who won by 11th round technical knockout in Hungary. Blades has won his last two fights, most recently against James Morrow (12-19-3), on February 16th in his home state of Indiana.
Another Montreal-based light heavyweight appearing this weekend is Eleider "Storm" Alavarez (12-0, 8 KOs), who faces fellow Colombian Edison "Pantera" Miranda (35-8-0, 30 KOs). Alvarez has won his last three fights by knockout, including the last two against Danny McIntosh and Nicholson Poulard.
Miranda [though now a frequent loser, remains] a dangerous puncher, whose early meteoric rise resulted in a pair of unsuccessful world title fights, seeks to revive his career. According to his promoter Leon Margules, Miranda doubled his training workouts, "Edison is only 32 years old but he is aware that he must absolutely win September 28th because it is his last chance... Because he and Alvarez are both Colombian, their fight is more personal, passionate and emotional for both warriors."
Another GYM fighter in action Saturday will be middleweight David Lemieux (29-2-0, 28 KOs), who takes on American upset-specialist Marcus Upshaw (15-10-2, 7 KOs) . The latter is well-known in Quebec having shocked Quebec fighter Renan St-Juste three years ago in Quebec City "At 6' 4'' with an aggressive style, it is possible that David may look bad at times in this fight, but this is the kind of strong and complicated opponent that will allow David to grow," Lemieux' trainer Marc Ramsay commented.
Lemieux has won his last four fights by KO and his opponents lasted a total of only six rounds during this sequence.
Welterweight Antonin Decarie (27-2, 7 KOs) fought his last two times before HBO cameras but is coming off a loss to Argentina's Carlos Abregu (35-1, 28 KOs). The 30-year-old Decarie has been selected to represent North America in the WBC's World Cup tournament that should get underway in late 2013. In a six-rounder to stay active, Decarie will face the Frenchman Salim Larbi (17-3-2, 5 KOs) this Saturday evening.
Welterweight Kevin Bizier (20-0, 14 KOs), of Quebec, will also be back in action after fully recovering from an ankle sprain. His opponent is veteran Giuseppe Lauri (53-14, 31 KOs), a native of Italy who now lives in Hungary. Bizier could be one of the main headliners of a GYM event tentatively scheduled for November in Quebec City.
Finally, Saturday night's event will allow former world amateur champion Artur Beterbiev (1-0) to continue learning, this time in a six-round, light heavyweight fight. To demonstrate the confidence that GYM places in Beterbiev, in only his second professional outing, the Russian prospect will fight a veteran of 47 professional fights, Rayco Saunders (23-22-2, 10 KOs). It's highly usual for a young prospect like Beterbiev, who hasn't lost since a cut cost him an amateur match in 2003, to fight a veteran such as Saunders so early into his pro career.
Tickets are available at Bell Centre, on www.evenko.ca, at GYM (514) 383-0666 or Boxing Club Champion (514) 376-0980.