Demers Defeats Vanda
By Nate Anderson: Canadian middleweight contender Sebastien Demers (24-1, 9 KOs) gave American Matt Vanda (37-6, 21 KOs) a boxing lesson in the process of beating him by 10-round unanimous decision on Saturday night at the Montreal Casino, in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Aside from Vanda rocking the weak-chinned Demers every so often in the fight, Demers had an easy time beating the shorter, more limited Vanda. Demers, though not a fighter with the best of chins, has quite excellent boxing skills. Before this fight, I’d only see him in against Arthur Abraham, who never gave him a chance by stopping him early in the 3rd round.
I figured Demers wasn’t that good based on that fight, but I got to take that back. He can actually fight very well compared to many of the middleweights in the division, many of whom don’t have nearly the same skill set as Demers. I’d heard a lot about Demers from Canadian fans before his bout with Abraham, who was saying that he was a potential future champion. Now that I’ve seen him fight for entire bout, I’m not sure if I can fully agree with them yet, due to his chin problem, but he looks very good. Only 28, Demers showed immediately that he was one of the best jabs in the division.
His jab, which I’d describe as a lightning bolt, is more like a power shot than a typical jab. With that punch alone, he gave Vanda all kinds of problems whenever he landed it. Demers, though, wasn’t content just to jab, however, in that he also showed that he is an excellent body puncher. Indeed, whenever he would go to the body (which turned out to be quite often) of Vanda, you would hear a loud thud each time he landed. For a Canadian fighter, most of whom fight in a typical stand up European style of fighting, Demers punches to the body like a seasoned Mexican professional.
Whoever trained him in this style; I got to hand it to them because he punches very hard to the body and used excellent form. In some ways, he reminds me a little of Mikkel Kessler, the former super middleweight champion from Denmark, although Kessler doesn’t punch to the body anywhere near as hard and as often as Demers. And while I’m engaged in this comparison, let me add that Demers moves around the ring almost as good as Kessler, although he appears to have a strong tendency to want to slug it out with his opponents. This is something that Demers needs to be cured of, for he doesn’t have the chin to stand in trade with his opponents like some of the more study chinned middleweights in the division.
As for the fight, Demers used his power jab to control the first round, hitting the shorter Vanda over and over with it. Each time it would land, Vanda’s head would snap back hard, and there would be a loud sound in the arena from the impact. The crowd really got into the fight. I’d say for the small size of the crowd, perhaps numbered in the low hundreds, they were one of the best audiences that I’d ever witnessed. They never stopped shouting encouragement for the fighters once in the fight, and they didn’t just applaud (like American crowds) when one fighter was landing especially well). They also didn’t appear to show any favoritism for Demers, the home fighter, in that they always applauded loudly whenever Vanda would land, even screaming when he rocked Demers on several occasions in the fight.
Demers used hooks and an intensive body attack in rounds three and five. Vanda did little in the third round until the final seconds of the round when he suddenly staggered Demers with a 1-2 combination. The shots were thrown very hard and I don’t blame Demers for getting hurt by them. Before then, Vanda had thrown few punches in the round, and the ones he did throw were much weaker than these shots. It looked as if Vanda had been letting up on his power, hoping to surprise Demers with a big shot that he wouldn’t expect. It worked to perfection for Vanda, but the problem was he landed it at the end of the round and wasn’t able to follow up with any additional shots.
Demers returned the favor early in the fourth round when he hurt Vanda with a big right hand to the head. Demers would continue through the remainder of the round, landing hard shots and throwing occasional flurries which Vanda had little to answer back with. By this time, Demers had gone almost entirely away from his jab and was mostly throwing hard shots. I think that was a mistake because he was fighting Vanda’s type of fight.
Demers controlled the action in rounds six through nine, beating Vanda furiously with powerful body shots and hooks to the head. Vanda was finding it hard to land his own shots because of Demers’ nifty footwork, and had little chance to land without taking big shots. In the 9th round, Demers put on a punishing body attack that reminded me of the greats like Julio Cesar Chavez. It was pure power to the body and you could see Vanda wincing from the pain of some of the shots. Vanda did land one good combination in the round, but it didn’t seem to bother Demers in the least.
In the 11th round, Vanda hurt Demers with a left-right combination to the head. Demers, looking wobbly somewhat, fought back hard and fire back body shots in close to get out of the round. I doubt it if he would have been able to use his legs to get on the outside because he was a little stunned and it was a good thing he could fall back to his body attack to stop Vanda’s charge.
Demers finished strong in the 12th, fighting hard until the very end. Unlike some fighters who would have coasted with as big a lead as Demers, he wasn’t about to fight safety-first and possibly upset the crowd in the process. He badly dominated Vanda in the final three minutes and was even throwing flurries as the round ended.