“Tabarnak back to back!” ” exclaimed Olivier Aubin-Mercier after winning his second PFL lightweight title on Friday night, in what is believed to be the last fight of his career.
“I’m the best Olivier I’ve ever been,” Aubin-Mercier said in an introductory video presented before entering the Octagon. A few minutes later, he translated his words into action by defeating the American Clay Collard by unanimous decision (49-46, 49-46, 49-46).
For the second year in a row, the “Canadian Gangster” beat everyone who came his way this season. And for the second year in a row, he received a check for a million dollars.
Except it won’t be the third year in a row.
While answering a question from an English-language ESPN anchor in the Octagon, Aubin-Mercier paused and said with a sigh, “I’m going to speak a little bit in French.” “I can keep my English!” » he added with a laugh, referring to Montreal Alouettes player Marc-Antoine Dequoy’s postgame speech earlier this week.
“I’m tired,” the Quebecer continued. I am very tired. I think this is the last time you’ll see me. It’s hard for me to say this, but I think it’s over. I need a lot of rest, at least for the next few years. »
Aubin-Mercier then thanked his coaches and then his family. “My girlfriend, my daughter, my parents,” he suggested before his voice cracked and tears began to flow. I’m bored, I can’t wait to see you. »
When asked by the host what 2024 will look like for the two-time champion, OAM indicated that he wants to spend time with his family, as he has been saying for several months.
“Three years ago, I told my granddaughter that I would not work this summer,” he said in a trembling voice. I’ve been working this year and this summer, so I think I need to spend time with my family. »
To put it mildly, this was not a fight for the meek. Aubin-Mercier, stronger and tactically better, dominated the duel but faced a very, very tough opponent.
From the first round, it didn’t take two minutes before Aubin-Mercier rounded his opponent around the hips to drop him to the ground and create a body triangle. He tried strangulation, but without success. Clay Collard was stubborn, and the opposite would be surprising.
The next three rounds played out in almost the same way. It was OAM who led the way in front of a rival who often lacked solutions, but always managed to free himself from the hold of the Quebecois.
“He was constantly in front of my nose,” the champion told the media present a little later. It was really hard. It was a tough fight. »
“He’s a moron. We knew, we were ready. I was surprised at how good he was at standing up though. To be honest, my legs really burned. »
Aubin-Mercier, visibly injured in one leg, nevertheless clearly had the upper hand throughout the fight. From the last bell, he hugged his team, out of breath and without energy. A slight smile appeared on his face. The smile of an exhausted but satisfied man. He also said he was proud to last five rounds against a guy “who’s known for one hell of a cardio.”
“Back to back tarbarnak!” » he quickly exclaimed into the microphone of ESPN after the victory. This sentence was a perfect follow-up to the one he had uttered after his first championship a year ago, “Quebec is back, tabarnak!” “.
Aubin-Mercier has been shamelessly repeating for months that he no longer has the motivation to continue the fight. This fight, whatever the outcome, will be his last, he warned. Again last week, in an interview for the newspaper, the boxer expressed impatience about going on vacation. Well, that’s it; Aubin-Mercier is on vacation. And he has another million in his pocket. It’s hard to ask for better.
“There is something (simultaneously) beautiful and a little sad about leaving the sport at the top. But I’ve come to terms with it and I’m proud of myself,” he said last week.
Now it’s time for the long-awaited vacation.
“Eight fights in two years really burned me,” Aubin-Mercier said at a press conference. I want to see my little family, walk around the world, enjoy myself. »
“(My daughter) is going to get her La Ronde card! »