Weekend-in-Review: Laham Scores Upset, Bizier Stops Campbell
Corey Erdman / February 11, 2013 - 2:45pm
This may have been the best fight, the biggest upset and the most debated fight of the weekend.
Laham stepped in on four days notice for the injured Joel Diaz Jr. and took out a hot featherweight prospect in Asselstine. It was expected to be a coming out party for Asselstine, and a showcase in his first ESPN Friday Night Fights appearance. Unfortunately, it was Laham's strengths that were showcased instead, as the fight was contested exclusively in close quarters, where the scrappy Quebec native could thrive.
Asselstine has always been a rangy boxer-puncher, but seemed to choose to fight on the inside for the entire fight. It appeared to be calculated, as Laham wasn't exactly swarming him (particularly in the later rounds as he began to tire), but the fight entered a phonebook anyway.
Though plenty of observers felt it was the wrong approach for Asselstine, many felt it worked anyway. The majority of viewers online scored the fight in his favor.
Inside the Bell Centre, which was a decidedly pro-Laham crowd, the sentiment was the opposite.
There could have been bias on either side of the coin with regards to the scoring. Did you give Asselstine extra credit for his efforts because he was supposed to be the better fighter? Or, on the flipside, was Laham given bonus points for overachieving?
In any event, it's not a career-ender for Asselstine by any stretch, and a rematch could surely be made in an instant. It would be interesting to see how a second affair would play out were the fighters both fully prepared and matched at a real weight limit, rather than a last minute catchweight.
Not much was expected from a faded version of Campbell, who took the fight on just slightly more notice than Laham did. At 41 years of age, and fighting 12 pounds above his prime weight, The Galaxxy Warrior predictably didn't have enough steam to prevent Bizier from doing whatever he wanted.
Bizier is a fledging welterweight contender, and fought like one. Campbell, meanwhile, fought like a lightweight who's been keeping in shape as an aerobic boxing instructor. Even a prime version of Campbell in all his crafty glory may have still been physically overmatched in this one.
From the get-go, Bizier whacked Campbell to the body and easily set up combinations along the ropes. Campbell likes to fight in close and was never much of a mover to begin with, which spelled serious trouble on this evening.
Thankfully, there was no sad ending, and Campbell was tricky enough to at least not take a savage beating by any stretch of the imagination. Rather, he didn't answer the bell for the ninth round, citing a back injury.
Word at the press conference and afterward is that Bizier could return in April in Quebec City, where he is a legitimate draw. It should be noted that even with the late cancellations and a dreadful blizzard preventing any walk-up ticket sales, 3214 folks still turned out on a Friday night for this card.
None of the fights beneath the two ESPN-televised bouts were broadcast anywhere, but there were a few results of note.
Canadian heavyweight Didier Bence was matched tough against Joey Dawejko of Philadelphia, and passed the test. It didn't come without some scary moments though, as Dawejko hurt him with a left hook on one than one occasion, including right at the final bell.
Bence hasn't shown the kind of power he was expected to have coming out of the amateurs, but he is developing a reputation as a reliable action fighter. However, being hurt by Harold Sconiers and now Dawejko has to make you wonder what his ceiling is going to be. Regardless, it'll be fun watching him get up there.
Also of note, Canadian-Filipino featherweight Marc Pagcaliwangan scored a bizarre disqualification victory over Laszlo Fekete of Hungary in the walk-out bout for the evening.
Fekete had no interest in fighting whatsoever, coming out switching stances and gyrating in the ring. Pagcaliwangan hit him with two jabs, and he simply turned his back and began talking to the crowd. Not knowing what to do and with no warning from the referee issued, "Gwapo" simply threw a hook that knocked his mouthpiece out.
Referee Alain Villeneuve had a brief discussion with Fekete who was still standing and clowning around, and it was determined he indeed did not want to fight.
Pierre Lavoie of FightFan.com caught up with Pagcaliwangan immediately after the fight:
Pagcaliwangan's manager Mark Erwin said later in the evening that his fighter may even start campaigning at 118 pounds, noting that he often walks around at 120 and could be a bigger fighter in a lighter division if he desired.