Alcine Upsets Simms, Wins WBA Junior Middleweight Crown

By Tony McClean
Updated: July 10, 2007
BRIDGEPORT, Ct. — Joachim Alcine knew exactly what he was getting himself into when he entered the ring at the Arena at Harbor Yards on Saturday night. The Haitian native (left) was not only trying to stay undefeated, but also seeking to wrestle the WBA junior middleweight title from Travis Simms.

Fighting a little more 300 miles away from his adopted home of Montreal was bad enough. But having to take on the champion and Norwalk native just a few miles away from his hometown made the task even tougher.

However on a fight night where upsets were the norm, Alcine and his small contingent of fans from north of the border would have the last laugh. The 3-to1 underdog would claim the crown in a unanimous decision over Simms in front of a crowd of 3,897 who were clearly rooting for the champ.

The bout was fought in brief spurts with both fighters being deducted points and Alcine getting credit for a phantom knockdown in round nine when the glove of an off-balance Simms touched the canvas.

“He never threw a punch and they called it a knockdown,” said Simms. “It is what it is though. They took a point away from him and they took a point away from me for hitting after the break. I thought I did enough though to win the fight.”

Despite all that, it didn’t seem to be reflected in the judge’s final scoring. George DeGabriel had it 114-111, Glenn Feldman saw as 115-110, and finally, Tom Kaczmarek scored it 116-109.

“I definitely think I won the fight,” said Alcine. “I think he (Simms) only won maybe three rounds. Now, I know I’m good enough to fight anyone in the division. I will fight anybody. I’m here to stay.”

It took Alcine a little while to get started. Both fighters spent most of the first five rounds in clenches with sporadic action. After having a point deduced from him in the eighth, Alcine slowly began to take control of the bout.

The 5-foot-11 Haitian (29-0, 19 KOs) would use his size and counter punching abilities against the 5-foot-9 Simms to stunt any and all of the champ’s rallies. Alcine constantly used a crisp left jab to keep Simms at bay.

He would also get in his shots and just seemed to get stronger as the bout went on. “ I tasted his power early and knew it wouldn’t be a problem for me in the fight”, Alcine added.

“I felt after the first few rounds I was behind so I picked it up as the rounds went on. Simms was an awkward fighter. For all his talking before the fight, I thought he would be more aggressive.”

It was revealed after the fight that Simms had suffered a hand injury. The former champ’s left hand was heavily wrapped at the post-fight press conference. However, Simms was quick to give the new champ his due.

“I take my hat off to Alcine”, Simms added. No excuses just congratulations to him. I’ll be back. He fought a good fight. Tonight was his night. I didn’t underestimate him. I hurt my left hand in the third round, but still I have no excuses.”

“He (Alcine) won fair and square. I just had an off night. Hopefully I can redeem myself in a rematch.” The fight was Simms’ (25-1, 19 KOs) first defense of his crown.

As for the 31-year-old Alcine, it was his first bout in the United States since May 2003, whose previous 12 fights took place in Canada. The win also makes him the first fighter of Haitian descent to hold a world crown.

In one of the many under cards, Nonito “The Filipino Flash” Donaire stopped Vic “The Raging Bull” Darchinyan with a TKO at 1:38 of the fifth round in a 12-round bout to take Darchinyan’s IBF and IBO flyweight titles.

Darchinyan, whose last opponent ended up in a medically induced coma, was supposed to supply the knockout power. But Donaire (18-1, 11 KOs) hit Darchinyan (28-1, 22 KOs) flush with a left hook to the head.

Darchinyan struggled to get up, but he fell into the ropes as referee Eddie Claudio stopped the fight. “I came in here as an underdog and nobody believed in me but I did it”, Donaire added.

“I said yesterday (Friday) that one punch can make a difference between me and him. I think the key for me in tonight’s fight was every time Darchinyan threw and landed, I punched back and that got him thinking. It took the bully out of him.”