By Dave Spencer / Fightnews Canada
Looking for somebody to once again take him to the top, former WBA junior middleweight champion Joachim Alcine (30-1) finally found the answer he was looking for in Church. But it wasn’t so much divine intervention as it was simple logistics that brought in famed trainer Buddy McGirt as the man to step in and try and bring back Alcine from his only professional loss, a 6th round knockout to current champ Daniel Santos. The tragedy of Arturo Gatti’s funeral brought the two men together earlier this summer as both men were in Montreal to pay their final respects to the fallen warrior. “I saw him in the Church, he was sitting right behind me,” Alcine told Fightnews. “I told my wife, that’s Arturo’s coach, and she said: ‘that’s him, you’ve finally found a coach.’”
Alcine though was unwilling. Not this day, that belonged to Arturo, and not in Church. “I told her no, not in the Church, I don’t want to know nothing, I was there for Arturo and that was it.”
But while Alcine was looking for direction for a new trainer, his sense of direction on Montreal’s streets was similarly unclear. So was McGirt’s. And so the two would meet again, this time on their way from the Church to the burial, both men lost and looking for directions. “His wife pulled me over because he was shy,” said McGirt. “Then Jo came over and I said let’s meet later. We ended up going for dinner that night, we talked and he came to Florida and here we are.”
In Alcine, McGirt acquires a fighter one fight removed from a world championship who has been out of action for the past thirteen months. “You’ve got somebody who already got the foundation and the guy can fight, it makes my job that much easier. Just correct a couple of things, no big adjustments, just do the things he’s comfortable doing and make it work for him.”
“I’m anxious,” says Alcine who meets veteran Eric Mitchell (22-5-1, 11 KOs) tonight at the Casino de Montreal. “I want to show the world that the last fight was just bad luck. Sometimes in life you reach the top and you just think about the top. But there is higher than the top. I think after that defeat I realized that I have to go higher than the top. It was a blessing for me.
“I’m not a guy who’s going to get upset because I lost a fight. All champions go down, I can’t be different from everybody.”
After the defeat in his second defense of the title he won from Travis Simms, Alcine set up a gym and worked exclusively from home. “I had a gym in my garage and was training for a year non-stop, I ran, I did my weights, I did everything I had to do, the only thing I was not doing was sparring. When I went down to see Buddy McGirt in Vero Beach, that’s when I started doing some sparring.
“The way he was training me was with my style. My own style. I was fighting the way I should fight. That’s what made things easy for me. There’s more combinations and I see more speed. It’s not like my ex-coach (Howard Grant) who didn’t do a good job. He did a great job because I was a world champion. But there is always something new to learn, so I think I made the right choice at the right time and I definitely believe I’m going to go forward.”
Alcine who has only sparred for just over two weeks believes he is at 80 percent physically coming into tonight’s headline bout, but is at full capacity on a mental level. I’m going in there 110 percent mentally, during this year, there was a lot of things that needed to be fixed. I don’t really want to talk about them, but all these things are fixed, that’s why my mantra is different now. Psychologically I’m definitely better than before.”
As far as not fighting for over a year, McGirt believes it is best not to focus on that and move forward. “The key is to not even think about that, we gotta go in there and do what we have to do and fight like we fought last month. I just want to see him get his rhythm and his confidence back. He has all the ability in the world, so let’s get in there, get his confidence back, get through this fight and we’ll keep on working after this. He has all the tools; it’s just a question of re-sharpening them and getting to work for him.”