It was just eight months ago that Montreal's power-punching middleweight David Lemieux was considered one of the top prospects in boxing, a must-watch kid with ferocious thunder in his fists whose trajectory was going sky high.
Then came Marco Antonio Rubio, a veteran good enough to withstand Lemieux's early power and take him into the famed deep waters, where he stopped the youngster in the seventh round, live on Friday Night Fights on April 8.
Since then, Lemieux has taken a break from the sport. He ditched trainer Russ Anber. And last night he returned, not with a super easy comeback bout and guaranteed win, but with a fight against Joachim Alcine, a former 154-pound titlist who has looked finished in recent fights.
But if anyone looked finished last night at the Bell Centre, it was Lemieux, who dropped a majority decision on scores of 116-112, 116-112, and 114-114, and the only questionable card was the one on which Lemieux received an even score.
Lemieux (25-2, 24 KO) had a solid start, but by the middle rounds he had pretty much fallen apart. Alcine (33-2-1, 19 KO) completely took over the pace of the fight, and just plain outboxed and out-fought the 22-year-old, who started looking more and more like a lost cause as the fight progressed.
It's clear that Lemieux is very limited. Like many who have gone on big runs of first and second round knockout wins, Lemieux has been exposed as a guy who has little to offer past a certain point in a fight. He doesn't adjust well, is predictable offensively, and right now, does not look like any sort of future contender.
With his last two fights, though the opponents certainly weren't bums or anything, you'd be forgiven for writing Lemieux off. And if he's dedicated to boxing (which is an open question), maybe that's not the worst thing for him. He's young, he can punch, and he can be fixed. It's not whether or not he wants to be fixed -- if he cares enough to put in the work.
On the undercard, Adonis Stevenson completely dominated and beat the hell out of Aaron Pryor Jr, stopping him in the ninth round of a one-sided performance. Stevenson (16-1, 13 KO) is 34 years old, and any push to the top of the super middleweight division will have to come quickly. In April 2010, he suffered a shocking TKO-2 loss to tough trial horse Darnell Boone, but since then has gone 3-0 and looked last night as if he'd totally gotten his groove back, dropping Pryor (16-5, 11 KO) in the first round, then two times in the third, before putting him away in the ninth.
Pryor, 33, was fighting tough again because his own clock is ticking. He won a very close fight in May over Librado Andrade, but has now lost his last two, including a clear decision loss in September to Thomas Oosthuizen. They gave it a shot with Pryor, and he gave the best he had, but he's not a top-level boxer.
Featherweight prospect Tyler Asselstine improved to 8-0 (5 KO) with an eight-round shutout win over Philippe Frenois (14-5-1, 0 KO).