By Hans Olson
Saturday evening at the Foxwoods Resort and Casino in Mashantucket, CT, Montréal’s Antonin Decarie squares off against Newark, NJ’s Alex Perez in the televised opener to HBO’s Boxing After Dark.
Earlier this week, Boxing Insider caught up with Antonin to discuss the fight and more!
Boxing Insider: Hey Antonin! Thanks for taking the time to answer a few questions. How does it feel to be fighting this weekend on HBO?
Antonin Decarie: “I’m very excited. Honestly, I’m very happy with the way it all turned out. I was supposed to fight August 11 on Jean Pascal’s card; that card was cancelled. I got an offer to fight Ronald Cruz—just last weekend, the fight when Ronald Cruz fought against Antwone Smith—they offered me the fight. We accepted it and then they didn’t return our calls. Then I was supposed to fight on October 12 in Montréal, so I never stopped training. I was still focused. Then that call came, and obviously we jumped on the opportunity for a chance to be on HBO.”
What are your thoughts on your opponent Alex Perez?
“He’s a great fighter for sure. You don’t don’t get any gifts on HBO, that I know. The most important thing to know about the guy is he’s six feet tall and he’s left handed! So right there, that’s not something we’re used to seeing very often in the welterweight [division]. But I have a lot of experience, we’ve brought in a great sparring partner so I’m ready.”
The Englishman O’Donnell…
“Yes, John O’Donnell. He is 5’11″… almost six feet tall and a good boxer too, so he gave me some good rounds!”
Fighting a southpaw can be challenging in itself. What other challenges does fighting one that’s 6’0″ bring?
“It’s just a matter of adaptation, you know? We’re so used to sparring with right-handed [fighters] that all these little things that we [take] for granted, we just have to adapt and change. Those little reflexes. But, we had a month to think about this guy, to see him on tape, and to practice stuff so I think we’re perfectly ready for him. I’ve always had good success against lefties in my career.”
You haven’t been in the ring since last December in Québec City, can you maybe share with us how your training regimen has been since then, kind of waiting for fights between injuries…
“The first time, I had to cancel it was myself. I was scheduled to fight in April and then I hurt myself, so I had to pull out from that fight. But I was fine a couple weeks later. And then I got back in the gym, I started to train again, thinking I was going to fight on the card in August, then that was cancelled so we had to slow down a bit of training not to overtrain. I stayed in the gym, practiced some little stuff, then we started back pretty hard for October 12…then we got the call. When Marc [Ramsay] called me we were actually doing stuff at the pool, different types of exercises…but we were right in the training. So it was an easy decision to make.”
I know your one career loss, you had overseas fighting against Souleymane M’Baye. Is there anything that you’re doing differently now with this camp as you prepare to once again fight outside of Québec?
“There’s a lot of things that I’ve learned from that fight that will help me. One thing that you can’t buy in life is experience, and there’s lots of mistakes that I made in that fight trying to impress too much. I tried to do too much just because I wasn’t home…and I think that’s what cost me the fight. I have to understand that if I land my punches on him and there’s no reaction, that it doesn’t mean they don’t land. I remember the first few rounds over there, I was landing some good shots and there was no reaction at all. Even though I knew I wasn’t at home, it was still in the back of my mind, like, ‘Did I land properly?’ So I tried to do too much, over-doing my technique. I put too much energy in my punches and I think that it was a great thing to learn. It was pretty painful to lose a close decision over there, but it will help me on Saturday.”
Is there any added pressure to perform and represent the province of Québec when you go to fight in the United States?
“I wouldn’t say it’s adding pressure, but I definitely want to do good. It’s important to me. We have such a good amount of fighters for the amount of people there are in Quebec. I think it’s important to shine, and prove that I belong with the best of the division. I think it was the perfect opportunity for me.”
And if you win, it will open a lot of future opportunities for you…
“I want to establish myself as a top guy and I need to win on Saturday and win big. It’s the only way to do it, to perform when it’s time.”