One-On-One With Sebastien
By Jeff Emond Jeffrey
On Friday August 5th, 2011 in Oakland, California, United
States, Former middleweight contender Sebastien ĎíDouble
Troubleíí Demers will face 2004 bronze medalist, Former
super middleweight contender and super-six participant,
Andre Dirrell. Approaching this heated showdown, Demers
talks to us about his career and this summerís big
Jeff Emond Jeffrey: Good afternoon Sebastien, How are
Sebastien Demers: I am very good and I look forward to
JEJ: Letís go back to the beginning for a moment Sebastien,
How did you start in boxing?
SD: Very young, I tried almost every sports, hockey,
basketball, soccer, name it. Iíve always been an aggressive
competitor, so boxing fit well with my personality. I used
to bring boxing gloves to school. My friends and I fought in
the schoolyard every time we could. Thatís how I became
interested in boxing.
JEJ: You had an impressive amateur career with 91 victories
and 46 losses. You won along the way four golden gloves
championships. Whatís your greatest achievement in the
SD: IĎm proud of many things in my amateur days. I have been
part of many international competitions in Colombia,
Venezuela, Ireland and Italy for example. I was on the
Canadian national team for three years and I also won a
bronze medal at the Francophonie games in Venezuela. One of
my achievements is to have more than one hundred amateur
fights. More so, 99 of them came inside three years, which
Iím very proud of. I started boxing late at seventeen years
old, so I had to make up for the missing times and since
then boxing became everything in my life.
JEJ: You possess a tremendous left jab. Did it came
naturally or did you work on it?
SD: No it was not natural. When I started boxing, I had no
jab at all an I only wanted to brawl. In the beginning of my
amateur career, I was six feet tall and 139 pounds. With my
former trainer, Marc Seyer, we worked for hours on the jab
to make my height and reach an edge for me in the ring. At
first, I didnít like fighting with the jab, even with my
long reach. I liked to exchange shots with my opponents.
With time, I realized it paid more to win without being hit
all the time. I won many fights using only my jabs and
movements, which is good if I wanted to have a long career
and stay healthy. By fighting often, I could not allow
myself to fight wars all the time.
JEJ: You also fought former WBA light middleweight champion,
Joachim Alcine in the golden gloves final of 1998, a very
close fight and exciting fight. Did you try to get your
revenge in the professional ranks?
SD: Yes, it was part of my plan at one time. Many offers
were made to Alcine but he never accepted to fight me. I
donít know the reasons, but he did not want to face me
JEJ: You had great success in your career by defeating
tought fighters such as a destroyer in Mamadou Thiam, Walid
Smichet and former 3 times WBA middleweight champion,
William Joppy. Your thoughts on thoses wins?
SD: First of all, when I fought Thiam he had only five
defeats, one of those was against Felix Trinidad in a world
title match. But I also had 42 victories and 39 of those
were by knockouts. I faced him very early in my career with
only fourteen pro fights, so it was a huge fight and step up
for me. Many experts didnít expect me to win and my plan was
to prove them wrong. But I wasnít kidding myself, he could
have knocked me out as he possessed the power to do it. I
have to admit i was scared at first, he was big and ready.
But I manage to relax and let my hands go and it work out
well. I was cautious and focused. I landed many precise
right hands in the fight and with a good right hook I sent
Thiam down in the second round. I never gave him time to
recover and by the end of round six he had enough. Iím very
happy about the result.
The fight with Smichet was my first after losing to Arthur
Abraham in Germany. I was not entirely prepared for such a
strong opponent. Smichet likes to brawl and keep the fight
up close and personal and I wasnít one hundred percent ready
for that. But by using my jabs and distance, I was able to
come back in the fight and win it by unanimous decision.
This was a tough struggle.
Facing William Joppy was probably my most important victory
in my career so far. Joppy fought the best in his career and
many high profile fights. By being a 3 time middleweight
champion, Joppy wanted another shot at a major title in the
division by facing me. He wanted to use me as a stepping
stone to get there but i had a different idea in mind. At
this stage of my career I was ready to face such strong
opposition. By working very hard in the gym for this fight,
my confidence grew and the fight went my way. Not an easy
win, because Joppy came hard on me. He cut me early in the
bout over my right eye so I went back to a more defensive
strategy. At one point in the fight, Joppy had everything in
control, so I started to attack as soon as my cut didnít
longer bother me. A good defence is a strong offence. This
was a very important win for me.
JEJ: Some boxing observers often criticize you of having a
weak chin. What would you say to them?
SD: I donít think I have a weak chin at all. I withstood
attacks from strong punchers like Elio Ortiz, Mamadou Thiam,
Walid Smichet and William Joppy to name a few. Sometimes in
boxing, you do get hit and itís part of the game. I met many
strong fighters and most of the time i won thoses fights.
What would I say to criticism about my chin? Have you ever
been hit hard in your life?
JEJ: Which fighter inspired you the most to define your
SD: My idol is Bernard Hopkins, he is a living legend. My
fighting spirit came from watching him fight when i was
younger and he still does it with style. I also like Oscar
DeLaHoya, especially with his triple jabs. I try to inspire
myself from many fighters, not only one. I learned a lot by
watching them move in the ring.
JEJ: How do you describe your fight against Arthur Abraham
SD: It was a great opportunity for me, much like fighting
Andre Dirrell this summer. I had the chance to win the IBF
middleweight title back in 2007 from Abraham. I took the
chance because i had nothing to lose. Being in a
championship fight is unbelievable. I learned that fighting
in another weight class is quite different; you really have
to be ready for it. Abraham was much bigger than me. In the
first two rounds I held my own, I even opened up a cut over
his left eye. I realize I could box with the bests in the
world. Now I have more experiences and I will be ready for
my next fight.
TBE: You lost a very controversial split decision to Dionisio Miranda in 2008. Even Teddy Atlas from ESPN gave
you the fight. How do you feel about this decision?
SD: It was a weird fight. I thought I did everything I could
to win it. But you can never be sure in a boxing match. So i
put more pressure on Miranda at the end of this bout, as he
caught me and I went down. I got up, but I think the
knockdown cost me the fight. I didnít understand the
verdict, but itís over and done with, now Iím moving forward
in my career.
JEJ: In your last two fights youíve lost by knockouts to
Brian Vera and Renan St-juste. Many were concern about your
health. How do you feel about those fights?
SD: Well, I lost to Vera by knockout. I donít like saying it
because I lost the fight by being hit by an elbow. I went
down that shot and it made my nose bleed pretty badly. I got
up and Vera played his cards well as he finished me with
combinations. I was hoping the judges and the referee would
see the elbow hitting my nose and disqualify Vera but none
of them saw what happened. There was nothing i could do
about it, besides accept it.
The fight with St-Juste was a long awaited one by boxing
fans in Quebec, thatís why I took it. At first, I was
supposed to face Nicholson Poulard for his rematch. Poulard
is a hard right handed fighter and I spent two months
training for him with Enrique Ornelas as my main sparring
partner. Just two weeks before the fight, they told me i
would face Renan St-juste, a strong left handed fighter.
This was en entirely different kind of a fight and I wasnít
prepared to face a southpaw on two weeks notice. Still, I
took the fight and paid the price for it. Everyone could see
I wasnít at my best last December. I take that as a very
important lesson; in boxing never take a fight on short
JEJ: On August 5th, 2011, you will face Andre Dirrell in
California. He is a former super-six contestant. What are
your thoughts on your next fight?
SD: I think itís another great opportunity for me. Many
fighters will wait a whole career for such a chance and will
not get it. Along with Arthur Abraham, Andre Dirrell will be
the second super-six participant i will do battle with in
the ring and Iím the first Canadian to achieve that. With
this opportunity, i will go back to my winning ways. More
so, i will have the chance to show the Americans my skills
and my will to compete against one of their best fighters. A
lot of people donít believe in my chances south of the
border. Iím on a mission to prove them wrong.
JEJ: Andre Dirrell is a very skilled southpaw known for
switching stance during a fight. What will be the game plan
to secure a victory over him?
SD: I will use my jabs constantly and many straight rights
hands to destabilize him and keep him that way. The plan is
to prevent him of building any momentum during the fight. I
will force him to fight backward which he doesnít like very
much. Plus, I donít think he will respect me and he will
surely try to end quick to make an impression. That will be
his mistake, because Iím prepared for such a tactic.
Andre Dirrell hasnít fought since March of last year. That
is why I must be first to attack and sustain an offensive
strategy. I also changed my whole training team to be ready
for Dirrell. Marc Seyer use to train me, but now Howard and
Otis Grant will be in my corner for this one. Iím working
with them to have a better defence and to be ready for a
strong southpaw. Iím also learning how to improve my attacks
by putting better combinations together and how and when to
explode on my opponent. I have very good southpaw sparring
partners to help me get ready, Jo Jo Dan and Adonis
Stevenson. I also sparred with UFC pound for pound best,
George St-Pierre, who possesses very good boxing skills and
can switch from right to left stance. They will get me ready
for my biggest fight in my career.
JEJ: Any closing thoughts ?
SD: I feel confident and I will be ready. Boxing fans will
see a very good performance on my part. I have everything to
gain in this fight and I hope to impress boxing fans all
over North America. Most of all, Iím looking to impress
Dirrell, because Iím sure he underestimates me, but he will
have a lot to handle in August.
JEJ: Thank you very much for your time Sebastien
SD: Thank you and you havenít seen the last of me.