By Dave Spencer
Photo Richard Anber
Super-featherweight Kevin Lavallee(11-0-1 9KO) avenged the only blemish on his otherwise stellar record in style Saturday night as a howitzer left hook to the body put Isaac Bejarano (9-13-1) down and out for a count of ten and beyond at 2:10 of the 5th round. Bjarno who got of to good start in the opening round working the body collapsed instantly to his knees and spat out his mouthpiece at eight. In obvious pain he rolled onto his back and remained motionless for four minutes and then eventually climbed to feet.
The victory helps erase the memories of their first fight two years ago where the Montreal fighter was forced to the scorecards and settled for a draw.
The draw for Bejarano has been the only bright spot in the last four years and has been sandwiched by eleven losses for the Mexican fighter who was making his seventh trip to Montreal. ‘Pollo’ has been a measuring stick for all 130 to 135 pounders and a right of passage and means of comparison for fans. He brings effort, provides rounds and often pushes his opponents Canadian opponents to the scorecards.
Simply put it was a fight Lavallee needed and needed impressively or risk getting left behind.
With a draw to pin his hopes on, Bejarano came out aggressively in the first, going to the body and avoiding Lavallee who was loading up a bit on his punches.
With eight rounds to work with, there was no desperation but instead a unremitting determination that quickly manifested itself in the second round. Lavallee was quickly able to turn things around as his sharp counter combinations peppered Bejarano. The Mexican was eating thre and four punches at a time and had trouble keeping up with Lavallee’s ring movement. By the third round the Montreal fighter was working in an uppercut into his arsenal and whatever resolve Bejarano came in with was quickly disappearing. All the more so in the fourth when the punches being served up from the undefeated fighter were done so with even more authority and maximum leverage.
As much as it seemed the end was inevitable, it came surprisingly abruptly in the fifth with a mammoth left hook that left no doubt. Lavallee had one shot at redemption, and ended things with one shot.
What happens when you have two journeymen heavyweights with six wins between them in a total of 55 professional fights? Two combatants who have travelled the world and served up as fodder to build records for other hopefuls finally being given a chance at a rare and sacred win? A draw of course, six rounds settled nothing between Stephane Tessier (3-29-2) and Taffo Asongwed 3-12-8 who battled to a 58-56, 56-58, 57-57 stalemate.
The battle was indicative of both fighter’s careers. Asongwed came out strong and faded. He did manage some good body work and actually threw some good combinations.
Tessier persevered and was still around at the end throwing left hooks and not quitting. The 38 year-old who had so often played the role of survivor over the years hasn’t had a win since 2005, so not surprisingly he had a hard time pulling the trigger in the first half of the fight. The last two rounds though had a reinvigorated Tessier determined and pressing the action, and dare we say, trying for a stoppage. It didn’t come surprisingly, but to see the veteran fighter go on the offensive to finish a fight certainly was a turn of the tables.
A loss with such a finishing effort would be hard to take, even for somebody who has made a career of it. Perhaps a draw was the best result for everyone.
Another Hungarian, another first round knockout. Frank Cotroni (6-1 4KO) had no problem scoring a TKO victory at 1:35 with 3 knockdowns of 56 fight veteran Antal Kubicsek (20-31-5). Cotroni barely broke a sweat as he scored with a well placed right hand to start and continued as Kubicesek kept going down. Cotroni had his opponent through the ropes and almost onto the commission in what was not somehow scored a knockdown. It hardly mattered as this mismatch was quickly over moments later.
The first right hand Andrew Gardiner (5-0) threw had Hungarian Gabor Zsalek (9-21-2) crumpling to his knees for an eight count from the crippling body blow. It wasn't too long until Gardiner would find the same spot two more times scoring a TKO victory at 2:16 of the opening round.
Another competitve fight for a fighter making their pro debut as Steve Lantagne went toe-to-toe with Michel Tsalla (0-2) and was able to score a 40-36 decision on all three scorecards.
Francois Miville (6-1) recovered from a first round knockdown and came roaring back to stop Dale Golden (2-3) at 1:58 of the 2nd round. Both fighters charged out from the opening bell and traded massive shots with little regard to defence. Miville seemed to get the better of the exchanges but found himself on the canvas thanks to a left hand counter halfway through the round. The setback was only temporary though as his work rate didn't slow and he was able to return the favour a minute later on what officially was ruled a slip but help turn possible scoring to a 10-9 round. Miville scored with a massive right in the second and couldn't miss Golden who ate a boatload of leather before the bout was finally stopped.
Glisandy Meija (3-0) scored three second round knockdowns to score a TKO victory over Patrick Guerin(1-2) who was coming off an eleven year layoff.
Marc Pagcaliwangan made his pro debut a successful one as the London Ontario based Filipino fighter stopped Gerard Audate 0-5-1 at 1:30 of the third round. At best it was a quick stoppage in a fight that was far more competitive than you expect from a fighter making his pro debut in front of a large and vocal contingent. A tiring Audate who answered back for as long as the fight lasted was beginning to get hit clean by the Ontario fighter who came out with an increased intensity to start the third. In all, it was a solid debut for Pagcaliwangan who seemed jittery to start but has significant hand speed. The young prospect will have to shorten up his punches a bit and tighten the defense as he progresses though.