Manfredo Jr. Stops Smichet!
By: Dave Spencer / Fightnews Canada at ringside
Photography by Emily Harney
In a tremendous action fight, former Contender star Peter Manfredo Jr. (31-7, 17 KOs) scored a knockout victory over Walid Smichet (20-6-3,
14 KOs ) at 3:00 of the seventh round as boxing returned to the Casino de Montreal on Saturday afternoon. Smichet came as advertised as an extremely hard nut to crack, but Manfredo Jr. who would often go toe-to-toe with the tough Tunisian born boxer had his boxing skills and power won out. A sweeping left hook put Smichet down and out just as the ten-second warning was sounded. “I was just too strong for him,” said Manfredo Jr. after the fight. “I only had three weeks to prepare for this but I felt good in there. I’m on my way back to 160 and right now John Duddy is the guy we’re after.”
Manfredo Jr. returned to the ring for the first time since coming off the most devastating loss of his career, a third round drubbing at the hands of fellow Contender alum Sakio Bika. “It was my first fight back and I thought I controlled things for the seven rounds that it went,” said Manfredo Jr., “I just figured it was a matter of time, there’s only so many punches you can take, I knew I was going to catch up with him and I did.”
Manfredo Jr. scored a third round knockdown of Smichet who tried his best to hold on but went down to his knees necessitating referee Marlon Wright to count to eight. Despite the setback, Smichet remained in pursuit throughout the round and managed to comeback with some damaging right hands of his own on Manfredo Jr. as ‘The Pride of Providence’ couldn’t put the finishing touches on his opponent.
Smichet began the fight aggressively however after a successful first round, Manfredo’s pedigree soon started to take over. The former world title challenger was able to duck under the big hooks of the hometown fighter and started landing some clean combinations including a right-left to the body and finishing upstairs, zeroing on the target and rarely missing.
“I think that’s my real asset, being a boxer, I think that’s what went wrong in the Bika fight, I went in there believing I was a tough guy and could knock him out, I didn’t box, and that’s my asset.”
While boxing was the game plan, that didn’t stop both fighters from going toe-to-toe and some wildly entertaining exchanges. Smichet proved that no matter what, if he was still standing, he was still dangerous.
In what will be a Canadian round of the year candidate for the third stanza, Smichet showed just how much heart he brought to the table. Despite the knockdown and eating some vicious bombs, Smichet kept coming and started scoring when Manfredo’s energy reserves were bordering on empty. “He was very, tough, a lot of guys I hit like that and hurt like that, they don’t finish the round, and he did. He wore me out in that third round, I caught him with a lot of hard punches and kind of over-exhorted myself and was trying to catch my breath. Then he started coming back. He was definitely tough, but like I said, there’s just so many of those shots you can take in a ten round fight. I knew it would eventually catch up to him, as long as I stayed in control and kept my defense where it had to be, I knew eventually what happened to him would happen.”
There would many times where Manfredo Jr. would land jarring shots, only to see his opponent come back. A crunching left hook to the body in the fifth forced Smichet to try and find his legs and a lethal right-left combination to begin the sixth had the Montreal boxer almost touching down a glove as he reeled across the ring. Smichet would answer back each time, but the returns were quickly diminishing.
After looking like he might go at any time during the sixth round, the seventh until its dramatic ending would prove to be the most pedestrian on the day. Manfredo Jr. backed off his aggressive approach and started controlling the ring, toning things down and working his jab and going to the body. For a legless Smichet, it was all he could do to keep up and try to pursue his eventual conqueror.
“It was my jab that opened things up and kept him off balance, there was a lot of things I worked on in there, I’m happy with my first performance back.”
In Manfredo’s sights is undefeated top-ten ranked middleweight John Duddy, someone that Smichet was able to push to a majority decision. “I want to work my way down (from super-middleweight) gradually and eventually that’s the man, John Duddy.”
Overall, Manfredo Jr. was very pleased with the effort put forth on the day. “I think when I get into that hot shower, I’m going to feel very good about myself, and there are a lot of guys who can’t come back from a defeat like that. I wanted to see if I still had it and obviously I do. I’m very proud of myself for what I did. I fought a very tough opponent tonight, this kid came to fight and came to win, I did what I had to do and I’m very proud.”
Chebah Stops Juarez !
The headline bout of the day featured Ali Chebah (30-1, 23 KOs) as he scored a second round knockout of Joel Juarez (23-6-1, 22 KOs ) with a straight right hand at 1:40 of the second round.
Chebah from France captured the NABF super-lightweight title and retains his WBC Youth title over the 30 year-old Juarez . “We’ve seen great improvement in him,” said Chebah’s Canadian promoter Yvon Michel. He’s taken an apartment in Montreal and is finding out what it takes to be a boxer at this level. He’s dedicated himself to the sport and the results are showing.”
The fight is the fourth in the city for the 23 year-old now trained by Howard Grant after boxing the majority of his career in Europe . Juarez proved to be of little challenge and simply remained on his knees as he patiently awaited the count of ten by referee Gerry Bolen.
Abbiw Shocks Besmi!
There was no quit in London Ontario welterweight Frank Abbiw (3-2, 1 KO) who after losing the first five rounds on the scorecards to Benyamine Besmi (10-1, 5 KOs ) came back and scored a dramatic come from behind victory with a TKO over the previously undefeated fighter.
“I was getting close to him in the last round,” said Abbiw after the fight. “He was sneaky but I stayed close, but as soon as he threw, I came right back with a counter right hand to finish it.”
Finish it he did, with Besmi reeling, Abbiw jumped on the opportunity and brought Besmi down with another right, landing the undefeated fighter face down with his chin resting on the bottom rope.
The Montreal fighter did his best and stumbled to his feet, but was clearly out of it and the fight was called. “He was an undefeated fighter, and now he knows what it means to lose,” said Abbiw who now has three wins a row. “I threw my power hand and the tree went down.”
Lemieux KOs Davis!
Undefeated middleweight David Lemieux (15-0, 15 KOs) wasted no time in dispatching Thomas Davis (12-10-2, 7 KOs ) as he scored his fifteenth knockout in as many tries at the 47 second mark of the opening round.
Lemieux almost immediately cornered and unleashed a furious combination against Davis, who managed to hand former world title holder Kendall Holt his first loss.
Davis went reeling along the ropes and onto his knees where Lemieux motioned for him to get up, but a full ten count was served up by referee Alain Villeneuve.
Bizier Stops Duarte in 15 Seconds!
Not fighting for five months certainly wasn’t a problem for welterweight Kevin Bizier (4-0, 3 KOs) who wasted no time at all in destroying Ulisses Duarte (18-20-1, 16 KOs ) at just 15 seconds of the opening round.
A left hook to the body on the fight’s first exchange had the Mexican crumpling down to the canvas where he would remain prone for the next two minutes. This fight, that referee Marlon Wright called, as Duarte laid on the canvas goes down as one of the quickest fight in Canadian history.
Mansour Stops Murphy!
Heavyweight Ali Mansour (4-0, 2 KOs) of Windsor , Ontario overwhelmed Ken Murphy (22-25-2, 16 KOs) of Chicago by stopping the veteran at 2:23 of the second round.
Murphy who back-peddled from a busy Mansour had finally had enough and waived his right hand to signal ‘no more.’ It was the most effective use of his right on the day.
The fight returns Mansour, who hopes to have ten fights by the end of the year, back to Montreal to where he made his pro debut five years ago. “I throw between 100 and 120 punches a round which is huge for a heavyweight,” Mansour told Fightnews after the fight. “The plan today was to begin slowly and keep that rate going for the whole six rounds.”