It seemed that all the skills that made Joachim Alcine a junior middleweight titleholder years ago were missing going into Saturday’s bout against heavily favored David Lemieux.
As it turned out though, the only thing that was missing was someone to believe in the 35-year-old veteran.
Alcine scored a major upset by out-pointing the highly regarded middleweight prospect to a 12-round majority decision in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Heading into the bout, everything was working against Alcine, who won by scores of 114-114, and 116-112 (twice). He was coming off a draw with New Hampshire club fighter Jose Medina, and prior to that, a disastrous first-round knockout loss to Alfredo Angulo on HBO.
All empirical evidence suggested that his legs and his punch resistance were long gone.
It was supposed to be a full-circle moment for Alcine—the same way he crushed fading fellow Quebec star Stephane Ouellet in one round in 2004 at the Bell Centre, Lemieux was expected to produce the same result in the very same venue.
“All of this is all confidence,” Alcine (33-2-1, 19 knockouts) said at the post-fight press conference. “I know Lemieux is a good fighter, he can hit. But the fact that I got hit with him, and I didn’t really feel his punch, it just (brought) more confidence.”
Everything about Alcine seemed new in Montreal on Saturday. He was in the hands of a new promotional outfit, DiBella Entertainment, after Groupe Yvon Michel (Lemieux’s promoter) dismissed him following the Angulo loss. He changed his training headquarters to California, and hooked up with a new trainer, Anthony Wilson.
It appeared that the new found support changed his very attitude in the ring. Gone was the passive counter puncher, and the humble demeanour. From the first round onward, Alcine took Lemieux’s best punches, slammed his chest defiantly and mocked his opponent, before coming forward unleashing attacks of his own.
“I was playing with him mentality. I was playing with his mind. He’s young, and he doesn’t know those games,” said Alcine of his 22-year-old opponent. “He was the one who was telling me, your punches won’t hurt me, you can’t even touch me. But the thing is, when I (caught) him clean, I hurt him.”
Alcine didn’t exactly follow the blueprint of Marco Antonio Rubio, who handed Lemieux (25-2, 24 KOs) his first loss, but there were similarities. The Haitian-born Canadian weathered an early storm, and assumed the role of the boxer in the early rounds. However, after an overhand right hurt Lemieux in the fourth round, Alcine decided he could push the pace, and began bullying his younger foe around the ring, shouting and taunting all the while.
By the eighth round, he was in complete control, trapping Lemieux along the ropes and unloading with measured power shots.
“I wanted to bring him into deep waters. I knew that after four or five rounds, he was going to get lost,” said Alcine.
There were clues that something was going to be different with Alcine during fight week. Reporters noted frequently that he was exuding an unusual amount of confidence, and that he was oddly relaxed and jovial. He made weight with ease, and even told RingTV.com that he would welcome an opportunity to fight at welterweight, claiming that he walks around near 153 pounds, suggesting that his body could be suited for 147.
Following his win, his attitude hadn’t changed. If anything, his confidence had grown even more, and he seemed eager to put this new version of himself to the test. An even better one than we saw against Lemieux.
“Five weeks of training is not enough. Next time I’m going to stay longer in the camp, and we’ll do even better than that,” said Alcine.