by Hans Olson
Every fight fan I’ve spoken with this week continues to ask me the same question:
Who is this Pier Olivier Cote kid?
The buzz began shortly after Cote’s electrifying performance last Saturday on the undercard of Lucian Bute vs. Glen Johnson. In a fight that was shown under the bright lights of Showtime’s “Championship Boxing” telecast, Cote destroyed Jorge Luis Teron in 2 rounds; the left hook that ended Teron’s night a Knockout-of-the-Year candidate.
Nicknamed ‘Apou’ when he was younger due to his resemblance to the Simpsons cartoon character of the same name, Pier Olivier Cote may have been boxing’s best kept secret up until last Saturday. It was then that the rest of the boxing world realized what Quebec knew all along….this kid is damn good.
Originally from Cali, Columbia, Pier Olivier was adopted at 18-months by French-Canadians Rejean Cote and Christiane Pleau. The couple raised Pier Olivier in Charlesbourg, Quebec, a northwestern suburb of Quebec City. Although Pier Olivier didn’t have his first amateur fight until the age of 20, his natural talent and work ethic led him to a Canadian Amateur Championship within 2 years. He finished his amateur career with a record of 65-10.
Cote turned pro in 2008, and is trained by Quebec’s Francois Duguay.
“I started boxing in 1981 as an amateur, my coaching experience started in 1992 in Drummondville, Quebec,” said Duguay. “I quit the game following the birth of my first girl Frederik in 1993, then got back in the business in 1999 at club de boxe de Montreal with Abe Pervin and Stephan Larouche.”
It was during this time that Duguay began to master his own coaching strategies that would later come to fruition with Pier Olivier Cote.
“It was a big experience for me working with Stephan Larouche. I had the chance to work with Eric Lucas, Dale Brown, Fathi Missaoui, Leonard Dorin, and Alain Bonnamien. In 2004 I moved to Quebec City to work with unisboxe and David Whittom…David was my first pro fighter. I started working with Pier Olivier in 2006, and in 2008 I started my own boxing club, Empire.”
Duguay saw the potential in Pier Olivier immediately. With a methodical regimen, Duguay has Pier Olivier surrounded with a strong support team. “We train six days a week with different levels of intensity and volumes of work,” continued Duguay. “For nutrition, we are well surrounded with Dan Bérubé of XPN Canada along with Hugo Girard, former strongest man in the world. For the physical part of the work we have Nicolay Ray who also takes care of Mikael Zewski.”
The hard work has been paying off. In 2011, Pier has fought 4 times…winning decisively in each to bring his record to an impressive 18-0. None was more impressive then last Saturday however.
Fighting for the IBF’s vacant Inter-Continental Jr. Welterweight title, Cote was to face the stiffest test in his career against Jorge Luis Teron. The 26 year old Teron was a veteran of 28 fights, having been in with the likes Brandon Rios and Michael Lozada. Upon entering the ring, the hard hitting Cote received a roaring response from his hometown crowd. Shockingly, the decibel level nearly matched that of the evening’s headliner Lucian Bute. Chants of “Ap-ou, Ap-ou, Ap-ou” swelled in the Pepsi Colisee as Pier delivered hammering shots to Teron with violent ferocity. The only moment of concern for Cote was during the final minute of round one. A hurt Teron buckled Cote with a desperate right hand as Pier was going for the finish. In the following round, Jorge wouldn’t get another chance. As Cote walked to the center of the ring and pounded his fists together, ready to engage in combat…the first shots he fired landed flush, knocking down Teron with a powerful one-two. The left hook moments later was a thing of beauty…there was little reason for referee Jean-Guy Brousseu to even count.
It was over.
As for the career of Pier Olivier Cote?
It’s just beginning.
“For 2012, we can expect a defense of his IBF Inter Continental title,” said Duguay. “But for now, Jean Bedard of Interbox is in discussions with Showtime for the next step of ‘Apou.”
It’s a step boxing fans everywhere will be following.
Boxing Insider’s Hans Olson can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @hansolson