One of the reasons, some people say, that boxers aren't as technically sound today as maybe they were in previous eras, is because too much attention is paid to record-building on the way up, and not enough learning of craft.
Unless you're a ultra-rare specimen, and were born with a facility for the craft of in-ring combat, you will be learning many of your lessons only after failing, only after is it presented to you, in sometimes rude fashion, what it is you didn't know, or couldn't do.
I was thinking about that dynamic, about the potentially positive effects of losing when chatting with Canadian welterweight Antonin Decarie.
The 31-year-old Montrealer with a 29-2 mark fights on Friday, March 28, against Mexican Pablo Munguia, at Lac Leamy Casino, in Gatineau, Quebec, on a show promoted by Eye of the Tiger, led by Camille Estephan.
Decarie (No. 8 in WBC) comes in against the 19-4 foe on a two-fight win streak, having beaten 18-3-2 Salim Larbi and then 21-5 Cesar Chavez in Montreal on Feb. 5 (TKO2). But before that, he'd been learning lessons. Decarie, who came across as an exceedingly even-tempered, good-head-on-his-shoulders sort who appears to be hungering for another shot at the big stage, to secure a crown, lost to Souleyman M'baye in May 2010, in a fight for the then vacant WBA world welter crown. That was a UD12 loss.
After four wins, including a solid TKO6 over Alex Perez on HBO, in Sept. 2012, he was graced with another most meaningful scrap. Against Luis Carlos Abregu in April 2013, Decarie went down in the eighth in Argentina, and lost a UD10 to the 34-1 Abregu, who snagged the vacant WBC silver welter crown. I asked Decarie what happened against M'baye first. "It was a very close fight," he said. "I wouldn't call it a robbery, but if it happened in Canada and not France, I would've won. There were a lot of close exchanges..." Decarie said M'baye had that needed seasoning coming in, and that was helpful to him. "But what doesn't kill you makes you stronger," he said.
He took some of that extra experience into the Perez bout, he said, and came up big, on short notice. With just three weeks notice, he kayoed the 16-0 prospect. Next, Abregu. "That gave me an opportunity on the undercard of the Sergio Martinez fight, in front of 50,000 people in Argentina. I came up short, but at the same time I learned a lot from these fights."
I was impressed, frankly, with Decaries' disposition. He was so positive, talking about what a good promoter Estephan is, the excellence of the boxing scene in Montreal, his desire to put on a great show against Munguia. "He means business, in his second to last fight, he beat an undefeated fighter from Canada, and then beat a 17-1 guy," Decarie said. "He's not coming here to just lose. He will try really hard. It will be good for the fans, I'm sure they will be pleased with the fight."
Decarie described himself as a "good boxer," sound technically, trains hard, throws a lot of punches, likes to work a solid gameplan, and said he can both lead and counter, and will adapt based on what his foe is doing.
For those interested in the out-of-the-ring Decarie, he has been with the same lady for 12 years, and he and Jamie have a 7-year-old son, Nathan, and a 4-year-old daughter, Eva.
He said he knows he can't be calling out Mayweather right away, that he needs to graduate in proper fashion up the chain, but that he wants to get a title crack by the end of the year or so.
"The only thing you can't buy is experience," Decarie said, in closing. "I had to go thru these difficult times, but the boxer I am now, I will be able to use it my advantage."
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French-Canadian welterweight contender Antonin Decarie (29-2, 9 KOs) takes on former Mexican welterweight champion Pablo Munguia (19-4, 11 KOs) in the 10-round main event this Friday night (Mar. 28) live on pay per view from Lac Leamy Casino in Gatineau, Ontario, Canada. Lebanese-born Montreal super featherweight Baha Laham (12-1-2, 5 KOs) battles southpaw Roody Pierre-Paul (8-1, 5 KOs) for vacant WBC Continental Americas title in the 10-round PPV co-feature. The PPV undercard also features many of Canada's most exciting prospects including Schiller Hyppolite (8-1, 5 KOs) vs. Bahamian super middleweight Jermain "Choo Choo" Mackey (18-7, 14 KOs) in a 10-round bout; (all in 4-round matches) super middleweight Pascal Villeneuve (3-0, 2 KOs) vs. Francois "The Tank" Miville (6-1, 2 KOs) and Mitch Louis-Charles (3-1-1, 2 KOs) vs. Guillaume Tremblay-Coude (2-0, 1 KO), cruiserweight Samer Baraket (2-0, 2 KOs) vs. Matt Heim (0-2), heavyweight Zack Bunce (2-0, 1 KO) vs. Steven Harvey (4-1, 2 KOs), and light middleweight prospect Steven Butler makes his professional debut versus Jean-Francois Plourde (1-0).
Fight Club Series, presented by Eye of the Tiger Management (EOTTM), is being distributed in the United States by Integrated Sports Media for live viewing at 7:00 p.m. ET - 4:00 p.m. PT on both cable and satellite pay-per-view via DIRECTV, iN Demand, DISH, and Avail-TVN. The event may also be watched worldwide on PPV at www.PunchingGrace.com.
Who will win #HOPKINSKOVALEV