By Dave Spencer/Fightnews Canada at ringside
Super-middleweight Sebastien Demers scored a tough fought majority decision over former three-time world champion William Joppy by 97-93, 97-93, 95-95 at the Casino de Montreal Saturday afternoon. The veteran Joppy was the busier of the two fighters for much of the afternoon but Demers saved his best for last, pounding out and securing the decision over the last two rounds. As was the case the last time Joppy appeared in Montreal (February 2008 versus Lucian Bute) Joppy announced to his retirement to the crowd in attendance, congratulating his opponent on his victory.
Nicholson Poulard (14-4 6KO) scored a knockdown of former Canadian middleweight champion Larry Sharpe (24-8-1 12KO) in the opening seconds of their eight round encounter and stayed strong throughout for 78-73, 79-72, 79-72 victory.
A straight right hand up the middle put a squared up Sharpe on his backside about twenty seconds in. The Manitoba fighter was able to escape without any further damage. With a 10-8 already in the bank and a history of fading in the past, Poulard was quite happy to ride out the remainder of the first three minutes with the early lead.
Sharpe was able to get himself back into the fight in the third round, avoiding the powerful right hand of Poulard who was content to load up with powerful hammer for most of the afternoon. The southpaw was able to reach Poulard along the ropes and unloading some nice left hands. Poulard though was able to snatch back momentum in the fourth with Sharpe content to stay back at a comfortable distance and the Montreal fighter content to look the one big shot and often finding it in a round that had limited exchanges. Sharpe was able to win the fifth on all three judges’ scorecards, but the workrate wasn’t enough to slow the hard hitting Poulard who finally upped his production over the final three rounds.
Referee jean Guy Brosseau did his best to ruin what was a good fight. On a half-hearted ordered break in the 7th round, Sharpe was tagged with a flagrant late right hand. Somewhat disoriented and getting no help from the officials on the day, Sharpe who had to endure a series of low blows that went with little or no warning in the early going pulled a veteran move and took a knee in the corner, taking full advantage of time allotted to him to recover, having doctors check him out. The strategy seemed to work for the southpaw who landed his best right of the day when action finally resumed. It wasn’t enough though to sway the round or the fight as Poulard went onto the decision win.
Lightweight Logan McGuinness fought his toughest fight to date and notched his 10th victory in as many attempts, coming away with a 77-75,77-75, 79-74 decision over a determined Pedro Navarrete (24-7-3 13KO). This one was not easy for the Orangeville fighter who was on the wrong end of Navarrete’s combinations in the early going, having a tough time establishing position for the first half of the fight. The fourth round belonged all to the Mexican fighter who has proved to be very tough in the past, including taking former world champion Jorge Linares the distance. The final three rounds would prove to be key for Mcguinness who looked to be in his best shape to date and came in at a career low, 129.75 pounds. Down the stretch the Canadian was able to fire back and walk through any combinations that were previously backing him up. McGuinness was able to stay in the pocket, firing away and eventually slowing down and backing up Navarrete who was the first fighter with a winning record to step in the ring with the undefeated fighter. It was a large step up for McGuinness and an impressive victory against a quality opponent.
It took little time for welterweight prospect Kevin Bizier (9-0 6KO) to take care of business, stopping the usually tough Noel Cortez (17-17 12KO) at just 1:29 of the first round. A left hook to the body that was heard throughout the Casino de Montreal brought down the tough Mexican fighter who was making his third Montreal appearance. Cortez remained on his knees for the full ten and well beyond as Bizier celebrated his third first round knockout victory in a row. Cortez in his previous two visits to Montreal had dropped a tight decision to Canadian champion Manolis Plaitis and pushed undefeated Phil Logreco to a majority decision.
Welterweight Samuel Vargas remained perfect, moving to 2-0 with a six round decision over Pascal Leonard, sweeping the scorecards with a 60-52, 60-54, 60-54 decision. The Toronto fighter rode a powerful right hand to the body in the early rounds and was able to dominate his Quebec counterpart throughout. It was the first time past four rounds for either fighter and Vargas who had scored an early knockout in his only other bout remained strong throughout. A badly fatigued Leonard battled a cut over his left eye was able to hang on for the final round, doing his best to time his opponent with his right hand, but with little success. Leonard who had been idle for the past eighteen months falls even to 2-2.