Time for Jason to step up

MURRAY GREIG -- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 7:18 AM ET

Undefeated Edmonton super middleweight Jason De Laronde might be the most talented "unknown" in Canadian boxing - and the only way to rectify that situation is for him to step up against better opposition.

The flashy crowd-pleaser is putting his 5-0 record on the line Sept. 28 on KO Boxing's Dangerous Ground card at the Shaw Conference Centre, headlined by Jelena Mrdjenovich vs. Keli Colter for Mrdjenovich's WIBF super featherweight championship.

Patrick Tessier of Longueuil, Quebec, was originally announced as De Laronde's opponent, but now he's apparently having second thoughts.

With a 1-5 record, the Quebecer could hardly be considered dangerous, and based on De Laronde's last two victories - a first-round KO of Adam Rosado and a four-round UD over tough John McLean - Tessier would be a big step backwards.

Sooner rather than later, De Laronde, manager Ken Lakusta and trainer Tony Ward have go to the next level: tougher opposition in a handful of six-rounders, then stepping up again in eight-rounders to put the Edmontonian in line for a shot at the Canadian Boxing Federation title recently vacated by world Top 10-ranked Jean Pascal.

De Laronde is currently ranked No. 3 in the nation, behind Quebec's Adonis Stevenson (6-0) and Toronto's Stephan Boyd (8-2) - but they've both already made the move. In May, Stevenson notched a first-round KO over Marcus Thomas, who went in with a 9-1 record.

"Jason's doing everything right - both physically and mentally," says Lakusta.

"He used to take two months off after a fight before he got back to serious training, but after his last win (June 16), he was back in the gym two weeks later.

"He's running the hills, doing his swimming - he's training like a racehorse that wants to peak at just the right time.

"That's why I brought Tony in to train him. Tony's one of the best conditioners around, and he can keep Jason on the kind of program where he won't leave anything in the gym."

De Laronde likes his manager's racehorse analogy, but he'd also like to know for certain that the hard training won't be wasted on a stiff.

"I really don't care who I fight, as long as it's somebody who's gonna test me ," says De Laronde.

"You can never take any oppponent for granted, but actions speak louder than words."I'm getting to the point where a Canadian title shot is a real possibility, and the best way to get there is by fighting better and better guys."

Starting Sept. 28, we hope.

QUICK JABS: Unbeaten heavyweight Joe Mesi (35-0, 28 KOs) sustained a back injury in training this week and has pulled out of tomorrow's fight against Sherman (Tank) Williams in Salt Lake City.

The fight was slated to be the co-main event on a pay-per-view card headlined by comebacking heavyweight threat David Tua (47-3,40 KOs) and Mexican champ Saul Montana (48-14).

An eight-round cruiserweight battle between former WBO heavyweight title challenger Jeremy Williams (41-5-1, 35 KOs) and Salt Lake City's Gary Gomez (18-8-1, 7 KOs) will fill the spot.


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