Early weekend results: Lemieux destroys Ayala, Vera upsets Demers, McCloskey retains European title

David Lemieux took another big step forward in his career tonight, decimating the normally sturdy Elvin Ayala in the first round. via www.champsboxing.com

Montreal, Quebec

  • David Lemieux battered Elvin Ayala for a little under three minutes until knocking out Elvin Ayala with his third knockdown of the first round.  This was supposed to be both a step up and a coming out for Lemieux, but it proved only to be the latter.  Ayala, who has given tough fights to Sergio Mora (with whom he drew), Arthur Abraham, David Banks and LaJuan Simon, was expected to give Lemieux some rounds and some looks he hadn't seen before.  Instead, Ayala made the stupid tactical decision of trying to trade, and as might be expected for someone with 21 knockouts in 22 fights, Lemieux was able to hurt him and knock him down.  While it's hard to tell too much from a fight this short, it was still a very impressive performance for Lemieux, who after the fight said he's targeting a title shot in his next three to four fights.
  • Brian Vera scored a mild upset over light-hitting crowd favorite Sebastian Demers.  After warring it out for a couple of rounds, the aggressive Vera was able to find a home for his big punches, knocking out Demers in the third round.  This has been the story of Vera's career so far.  He does have four losses, all to decent fighters, but every time it seems like he might be at the end of the line, he pulls off a big upset - first Samuel Miller, then Andy Lee, and now rebounding Demers.  Still, it's hard not to root for Vera, who's tough as nails and tries very hard to get the most out of his limited talent.  
  • Kevin Bizier kept his undefeated record, forcing Johnny Navarette to quit on his stool before the final round.  Bizier moves to 11-0, and is probably about ready to start taking on decent challenges at welterweight.
  • Kevin Lavallee looked impressive in his pro debut, scoring a first round KO over 5-6 Carlos Martinez. 

Belfast, Northern Ireland

  • European junior welterweight champion Paul McCloskey retained his title by scoring a solid one-punch knockout of Giuseppe Lauri in the 11th round.  McCloskey also dropped Lauri in the second.  McCloskey did have some troubles with Lauri in the other rounds, getting cut over both eyes, but his power was able to carry the day and was probably on his way to victory even without the exclamation point.
  • Cagey veteran Kevin McIntyre scored a mild upset over Stephen Haughian to win the Celtic welterweight title. 

St. Paul, Minnesota

  • Caleb Truax won a unanimous decision over Antwun Echols to maintain his undefeated record.  Once upon a time, Echols was probably a decent scalp.  While he still has a beard, the man has only won one fight in the last 5 1/2 years, and that win was over someone who was 2-8.  Truax gets back on the winning track after a draw against Phil Williams, and don't be too surprised to see him step up on a televised bout in the near future.  Call it a pipe dream, but I'd love to see Truax face Don George in a battle of aggressive but somewhat limited midwestern prospects who are strong local draws. 

Mansfield, Australia

  • On Thursday, Philip Holiday won a split decision over Jason Kanofski to win the Australian light middleweight title.  This is the same Philip Holiday who, 13 years ago, Shane Mosley defeated to win his first world title.  This was the 40-year old Holiday's first win since 2002, and his second fight since coming back after a seven-year retirement. 
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