Hill lays into Lalonde: Veteran starts, finishes strong in easy victory
WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- That wasn't a train rolling by CanWest Global Park that hit Donny Lalonde. It was Virgil Hill's fists. Hill won a unanimous decision Saturday night over the Winnipeg fighter, displaying a form that got him to world-title status.
WINNIPEG, Manitoba -- That wasn't a train rolling by CanWest Global Park that hit Donny Lalonde.
It was Virgil Hill's fists. Hill won a unanimous decision Saturday night over the Winnipeg fighter, displaying a form that got him to world-title status.
"He was faster than I thought, he was stronger than I thought and he was smarter than I thought," Lalonde said.
The three judges scored it 98-91, 98-91 and 99-90.
"He should have won every round," said Mike Hall, Hill's trainer.
"He was laying back -- I wanted to throw something at him out there. But he showed he's still efficient, still fast and the jab is still hard," Hall added.
Hill started strong, then finished with a flurry in the 10th round to put a stamp on the victory. If it were a scheduled 12-rounder, it appeared doubtful Lalonde would have lasted.
"He could have easily stopped, but he didn't," Hill said. "Donny is a tough guy."
Hill, 39, improved to 49-4 in his bid to reclaim the World Boxing Association cruiserweight belt.
The 43-year-old Lalonde, who vowed to continue boxing, fell to 41-5-1. On a baseball field, Hill practically hit the first punch out of the park.
A left jab staggered Lalonde into the ropes, a shot the referee ruled a standing eight count. Lalonde protested the call, shaking his head in disbelief.
"That was ridiculous," Lalonde said later.
It was Hill's intention to send a message early. Hall said he figured Freddie Roach -- Hill's old trainer and Lalonde's current trainer -- told Lalonde Hill "was going to run and not fight."
Lalonde disputed that, saying he thought Hill would start strong.
"I wanted to press the action," Hill said. "I wanted to surprise him early."
A left jab at the second-round bell put Lalonde into a two-step stutter to save his balance.
If Lalonde were a pitcher, he would have been in danger of being yanked for a reliever. Lalonde finally got to Hill at the close of the third round, giving Hill a bloody nose.
Hill, however, drew first blood earlier in the round opening up a cut below Lalonde's left eye.
Still, Lalonde got his hometown crowd going. It didn't last. Hill restored order with two jabs and a left hook in the fourth and by consistently backing up Lalonde in the fifth.
It was obvious Hill's quickness was paying off.
"He was always a step ahead of me," Lalonde said. "He just fought a good fight all the way through. He was sharp and very strong."
Lalonde was the WBC light heavyweight champion in 1987. He successfully defended it once, against Leslie Stewart, before running into Sugar Ray Leonard later that year. Like Hill, Leonard had the speed advantage on Lalonde.
He rebounded, however, to open Hill's nose up again -- a round that went past the bell.
A Lalonde shot was followed by a Hill counter -- and a stare by Hill as they went to their respective corners.
"We have respect for each other, but when we step in the ring, we fight," Hill said.
Lalonde was receiving medical treatment to his left eye 45 minutes after the fight. He looked like a beaten man when he faced the cameras.
"Whenever you get a guy who's trying something, there's always an opportunity to land something big," Hill said.
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