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  One-On-One With Sebastien Demers

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 opportunity.

Jeff Emond Jeffrey:
Good afternoon Sebastien, How are you?

Sebastien Demers:
I am very good and I look forward to August.

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 amateur ranks?

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 again.

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 boxing style?

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.

How do you describe your fight against Arthur Abraham in Germany?

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.

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 notice.

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?

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.

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.

Thank you very much for your time Sebastien

SD: Thank you and you havenít seen the last of me.


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