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Thread: Eric Lucas

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    Eric Lucas

    One of the best Canadian boxers in the 21st century was Eric Lucas. He succeeded in winning the WBC super middleweight title in 2001, after two unsuccessful attempts at the world title, at 168 and 175 pounds respectively. Lucas was very tough and physically strong, which he first showed against Roy Jones in 1996, his second world title attempt. He was also a good all-around boxer and possessed power, despite not scoring too many knockouts. He knocked out Glenn Catley with a single punch for instance. Like many other famous or known boxers from Quebec, he liked to come forward and mix it up. He was robbed of his title in a disgraceful way against Markus Beyer, fighting away in Germany. Unfortunately, he later developed a thyroid problem which in the end cut his career short. Even though he attempted a comeback in 2009, it ended after two fights. Here is a little about Eric Lucas and his career.

    Born in Montreal on 29 May 1971, Lucas grew up in Magog, a small town about 120 km (75 miles) east of Montreal. He turned pro at 20 and had his first fight at the end of 1991, winning by UD4. He had a couple draws early on, but in November 1993 he won the Canadian super middle title by UD12 against Laurie Grosse, who back then held it. He defended it in a rematch with Grosse and again won by UD12. He defended it for the second and last time against Darrell Flint, winning by a corner retirement in 7. He won the WBC Continental Americas belt by TKO3 against Mike Belcher in December 1994 and defended it against Charles Oliver by SD12. He went for the first time outside Canada to fight Bryant Brannon, a hot contender back then, at the Blue Horizon in Philadelphia, 1 August 1995. Lucas was 17-0-2 but dropped a rather wide UD to the quick and clever Brannon, who later would be destroyed by Roy Jones jr. Lucas then decided to campaign at light heavyweight and after winning one fight there by UD8 against the 14-0 Eric Martin, he was then suddenly given a fight for the WBC title against the reigning champion Fabrice Tiozzo of France. It was 13 January 1996 in Saint-Etienne when Lucas went down once from a counter right hand in the third round and was outboxed and outfought by Tiozzo, who used a jab effectively to walk him down while Lucas had his moments but could not match his opponent's workrate and accuracy. Lucas was also wobbled in round 11 by a counter left hook. He lost by the scores of 119-108, 117-110 and 118-109.

    After this debacle, he went back to 168 and after easily beating the journeyman Karl Willis by TKO 2, he faced his greatest adversary: Roy Jones jr. Jones was defending his IBF title for the fourth time and had infamously played in a basketball game for a lower-league team about 7 hours before the fight, which happened 15 June at the Coliseum in Jacksonville, Florida. Lucas was outclassed and outpunched, but took everything Jones had to give and kept coming forward. In the end, after 11 rounds, on advice of the ring physician, referee stopped the fight. Jones was very impressed by Lucas' durability and toughness and asked him to be his sparring partner. But Eric returned to Canada and fighting at national level. At the end of 1996, 6 December, he fought against the Bernard Hopkins' famous rival, Antwun Echols and drew against him after 10 rounds in Canada. He then again stopped Darrel Flint in 7, this time by a clean knockout, to capture the Canadian light heavyweight title as well. He knocked out another former rival of Hopkins, Segundo Mercado, with a straight right to the jaw in 5 to pick up the WBC International SMW title 3 April 1998. After one defense on points, he was matched against the promising Englishman Glenn Catley in an WBC eliminator title fight in Monteral, 10 December 1999. The English underdog, shorter by 4 inches than the 6-foot Lucas, produced the upset after a tough fight by stopping Lucas by TKO in round 12. Catley would then go on and win the WBC title the same way against Markus Beyer but lost it again the same way later to Dingaan Thobela. After Thobela lost it to Dave Hilton and he got stripped of it, Lucas was again pitted against the bald Englishman Catley for the vacant belt, 10 July 2001 at Molson Centre in Montreal. This time, Lucas would finally realize his dream and get revenge at the same time when he caught Catley in round 7 with a devastating right hook, after previously decking him twice in the previous round. Catley remained on the canvas for more than a minute. Revenge was sweet.

    His first defese was against the aforementioned Thobela and Lucas soundly dominated the fight before stunning Thobela in round 8 with a hard left and following it up with a barrage on the ropes which brought forth stoppage. He returned to USA for the first time since the Jones fight to defend against Vinny Pazienza, The Pazmanian Devil, who had won world titles at 135 and 154 and was much smaller but also faster. The fight was at Foxwoods Resort in Mashantucket, 1 March 2002 and Lucas retained his title with a clear UD. 40-yearold Pazienza was simply not a match for the 30-yearold Lucas. He then decisioned Omar Sheika, then a promising contender, at home in Montreal to make a third successful defense, 6 September that year. He was then scheduled to fight Markus Beyer on 7 December in another title defense, but it had to be postponed after the discovery that Lucas had a thyroid gland disorder which required medication and medical attention. The fight then happened on 5 April 2003, but in Germany, whose boxing establishment was known for extremely partial judging. This case was no different. According to reports, Lucas clearly won the fight and may have won as many as 10 rounds, but found himself robbed in a disgraceful split decision. Only the judge John Keane gave him the fight but only by one point. There would be no rematch, as Beyer got injured in his first defense against Danny Green. Lucas then instead fought against Danny Green himself, who was disqualified against Beyer in Beyer's first defense, after having him down twice. Unfortunately, Lucas suffered a rib injury during training and that became his bane in this fight, which was on 20 December in Montreal. Lucas was down to one knee in round 6 and couldn't continue after Green's body punches had aggravated his rib injury.

    In his last hooray, Lucas won the WBC Continental Americas belt once again by UD12 against James Crawford, a semi-contender. Crawford was down no less than 5 times but Lucas hurt his right hand in round 5 and was unable to finish him off. It was 18 March 2005 at the Bell Centre in Montreal. He then went to Denmark to fight against Mikkel Kessler, now holding the WBA belt. Kessler would end Beyer's WBC-reign brutally in the next fight. This fight was on 14 January 2006 and Lucas found himself overmatched against the strong Dane, 8 years his junior. He was dominated for 9 rounds before getting stopped in the 10th. Shortly after this fight, Lucas announced his retirement with these words: "I think I had a good career and I'm happy today with what I've accomplished, Lucas told a news conference. It was a lot better than I could have imagined". After this first retirement, he started his own promotional company, Interbox, among others signing Lucian Bute. He decided to make a comeback on 11 December 2009 and knocked out 27-8-3 Ramon Pedro Moyano in 4 rounds. He was then matched against the top contender, the very strong 6'2 Librado Andrade. The fight was at Pepsi Coliseum in Quebec City, 28 May 2010. Lucas produced a brave performance and won 3 rounds on one of the scorecards but in the 8th he was cut badly and his corner stopped the fight after that round. That was his final fight. He finished his career with a record of 39 wins, 15 by ko, 8 losses and 3 draws.

    Eric Lucas was one of the best Canadian boxers really. He had the talent and the tools to become successful and for a while he did. Hadn't he been robbed against Beyer, his career might have been longer. But he always came to fight and seldom was in a dull fight. He still heads Interbox today where also his former trainer Stephan Larouche is employed. They are one of Canada's most successful promotional companies.

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