Promoter Yvon Michel has been hard at work scheduling 2012 for his charges, and has already secured five dates for the ongoing “Fast and Furious” series. Typically, the cards have been showcases for the young talent in Quebec, and while that still remains one of their functions, much of that young talent is approaching title contention.
According to Michel, three of the confirmed events will take place at the Bell Centre in Montreal, and two will land in Quebec City, with at least one of those likely in the Pepsi Coliseum. The two known dates are February 18 and May 11, with official days yet to be determined for March, another May and June.
The February 18 card is already slated to include super middleweight contender Adonis Stevenson (16-1, 13 knockouts), rising junior welterweight Dierry Jean (20-0, 13 KOs) and the returning David Lemieux (25-2, 24 KOs). Residents of Canada will be able to purchase the event on pay-per-view, while American viewers can watch for free with a subscription to Fight NOW TV.
Michel has also confirmed that one of the two Quebec City dates will feature Kevin Bizier (17-0, 12 KOs) in the main event. The welterweight prospect has a huge following in the town, and produced a reasonably entertaining bout with Lanardo Tyner in December. Simply put, other than Lucian Bute, Jean Pascal, or a new incarnation of the Quebec Nordiques, nobody is getting a bigger ovation at the Coliseum than Bizier.
SPLITTING IT UP
Here’s wonderful lesson on hedging your bets.
Yvon Michel will also have future dates for Joachim “Ti-Joa” Alcine to consider, as he managed to nab a 50% stake in the former titlist following his victory over David Lemieux.
Michel will team up with Lou DiBella to handle Alcine (33-2, 19 KOs), which is a smart business strategy overall. DiBella has a firm grasp on how to get his fighters on American premium cable, while Michel clearly has no trouble marketing Quebec natives to fans in Quebec in order to produce a tremendous live gate.
What is unusual is that prior to the Alcine-Lemieux bout, all of the trash talking and animosity was between Alcine and Michel, rather than the combatants. The Haitian-born Canadian (living in California) accused Michel, who has promoted him in the past, of trying to sabotage his career after the two split. The promoter replied, saying that his former charge was simply distraught over his lack of recent success.
In the end, everyone was wrong. “Ti-Joa” still has something left in the tank, and Michel is more than happy to help him make some money while the engine’s still running.
Samuel Vargas, who is quickly gaining a reputation as Canada’s best action fighter, returns to the ring on February 11 in his hometown of Mississauga, Ontario. The Colombian-born brawler will face Montreal’s Manolis Plaitis, which will continue the recent “Ontario vs. Quebec” theme established on Hennessy Sports events.
In a nice gesture, Team Vargas will donate 75 cents for every punch he throws against Plaitis to the Team Up Foundation, which works to provide for less fortunate youth in Ontario.
That dollar figure could get rather high if the bout turns out to be anything like his war with Ahmad Cheikho.
WACH-ING INTO FIELDS
Just to prove that it’s never over in the heavyweight division if you’re recognizable—and tall—Tye Fields will get another shot, this time against hot prospect Mariusz Wach.
The two behemoths are set to go at it on March 30 in New Jersey. Wach is, of course, loading up on opponents over 6’6” until he is deemed ready to challenge one of the Klitschko brothers.
Fighting Fields isn’t exactly a simulation of Vitali or Wladimir. For one, he’s a southpaw, he doesn’t jab, and he’s mostly moving forward at all times. However, if Fields connects with anyone, he’s liable to lay them out flat, so we might find out if Wach can take a punch this time around. More than anything, that is the requisite skill for competing with the Ukranian champions.
As for Fields (49-4, 44 KOs), he remains a terrific live draw in his adopted hometown of Edmonton, Alberta no matter what he does. His last knockout wins over journeymen David Whittom and Raphael Butler have drawn just as well as any of his fights in Canada, so there’s no reason to suspect that if Fields chooses to continue in the event of a loss to Wach, he can’t continue make a healthy living starching the division’s working class.
Corey Erdman is also the host of RingTV Radio. Follow him on Twitter @corey_erdman
Photos by Chris Cozzone/Fightwireimages.com