Andrade stops Lucas after eight
The spirit of Eric Lucas was willing but his 39-year-old body could not maintain his game effort against Librado Andrade in their ESPN2-televised main event from Quebec City on Friday.
Andrade (29-3, 22 KOs), THE RING’s No. 10-rated super middleweight, stopped Lucas (39-8-3, 15 KOs) after eight rounds of what was a competitive light heavyweight contest scheduled for 10 rounds.
Lucas, a former titleholder who had fought the likes of Roy Jones Jr., Mikkel Kessler, Fabrice Tiozzo, Danny Green, Antwun Echols, and Vinny Pazienza in a career that began 19 years ago, gave as good as he got against Andrade until multiple cuts over both of the veteran’s eyes forced the ringside physician to stop the bout before the start of the ninth round.
The Montreal native dominated the first three rounds of the about with accurate combinations to Andrade’s head. However, the 31-year-old contender kept the pressure on Lucas, forcing the older man to fight at a torrid pace. By the fourth round, Andrade began scoring with his left uppercut in the center ring and a brutal body attack whenever he was able to back Lucas to the ropes.
Lucas was cut over his right eye in the fourth and more severe gash was opened over his left eye in the fifth. The sentimental favorite of the Quebec fans rallied in the sixth round, but it was his last hurrah in front of his hometown crowd — perhaps the last strong moment of his career.
After being soundly outworked in round seven, Andrade zeroed in on the butchered left side of Lucas’ face with hard right hands. It was clear after the eighth that Lucas, whose face had become a gruesome mask of blood, should not continue.
The proud veteran said that he had likely fought his last professional bout.
“If I can’t fight at the world-class level, I don’t want to do it,” Lucas said through his trainer Stephane Larouche during his post-fight interview. “I don’t want to be a journeyman for young fighters.”
Andrade’s victory salvaged the Orange County-based Mexican’s contender status. He was coming off a fourth-round body-shot KO loss to undefeated beltholder Lucian Bute last November and had lost three of his last seven bouts going into the bout with Lucas.
In the co-featured bout of the Friday Night Fights broadcast, Marcus Upshaw snapped the 13-bout win streak of local favorite Renan St Juste with a split decision in a 10-round middleweight bout.
Upshaw (13-4-1, 6 KOs), a rangy journeyman from Florida, scored a technical knockdown in the fourth round and then rocked St Juste (21-2-1, 14 KOs) in the sixth round to clinch the narrow decision by scores of 96-93, 95-94 and 94-95.