DEMERS: good boxer, questionable chin. / Photo: SUMIO YAMADA
MONTREAL, Sept. 15
Graham's Odds: 
Demers - 180; Smichet +140
Over 9.5 -175; under 9.5 +155

When Montreal’s Sebastien Demers went to Germany to challenge Arthur Abraham for the IBF middleweight title in May he had high hopes. At every photo opportunity and press conference he proclaimed: “And the new ...”

Unfortunately for Demers, he got a brutal welcome to the world of top, world-class boxing when, after looking smart and stylish initially, he got caught and absolutely blasted to defeat in the third round.

Smichet, meanwhile, has stopped his last two opponents and had the biggest win of his career in March when he knocked out the previously unbeaten Matt O’Brien in the 10th round.

The 12-rounder (for the Canadian and IBF International titles) has attracted considerable interest in boxing circles in Montreal, which has become the last bastion of boxing in Canada.

Yvon Michel, who promotes both fighters, said over the phone from Montreal on Thursday: “It will be very interesting to see how Sebastien comes back from what happened against Abraham. Smichet is predicting a knockout inside eight rounds. He says he will land the big right hand the way Arthur Abraham did, but Demers says that will never happen — he says that Smichet is not in the same class as he is. So, we shall see.”

Demers is the taller, more skilful boxer but the Tunisian-born Smichet brings pressure and a hard-working, busy style. He is the only fighter to stop the durable Darnell Boone, simply breaking him down with body punches.

A worrying result on Smichet’s record is a one-round defeat against Renan St. Juste last November. St. Juste is a good puncher, and he landed a big shot almost at the very end of the opening round. “Smichet decided he would box more instead of using his usual style, and he just got caught,” Yvon Michel said. “The round was nearly over and the stoppage was a little controversial.”

Smichet has come back well, though. “It was a big win for him against Matt O’Brien and he’s full of confidence,” Michel said.

I saw Smichet in his hard-fought draw against Donny McCrary and I made the note: “Never gives up.” He took some hard punches, especially in the second round, but waved his gloves dismissively in the “Nothing” gesture and steamed right in again, and he was outworking McCrary in the later rounds.

There is no question that Demers is the better boxer of the two men but his chin has to be questioned. There was the heavy defeat against Abraham, while on Wednesday Night Fights last year he was dropped by the journeyman Sherwin Davis in the third round and steadied by a right in the fifth, before taking command to such an extent that Davis, nose bloodied, retired after seven rounds.

Prior to the Abraham fight, Demers had won two consecutive bouts against Canadian rival Ian MacKillop, a useful boxer whom he has defeated three times in three meetings.

With pride and Quebec prestige at stake in Saturday’s clash of local rivals the fans at the Montreal Casino and Canadian TV viewers should see a spirited fight.

I fear that Demers’s chin is always going to be a concern, but Smichet seems more a wear-them-down type rather than a big hitter. It is boxer versus fighter, but I expect the boxer, Demers, to come through, most likely by decision although he could land enough sharp blows to stop the hittable Smichet in the later rounds.

RESULT: Demers W12 (unan.) Smichet gave the classier Demers a very tough fight.

Last Updated: 
September 13, 2007 - 3:37am