Yves Ulysse Jr: The next Canadian sensation
The most intelligent boxers are the ones who can avoid damage. To the average person it seems like an obvious statement, but it’s a rule that boxers often forget. To hit and not to be hit, that’s the name of the game. That’s where the artistic aspect of the sport is on full display.
Yves Ulysse Jr is arguably the best prospect out of Montreal right now, not because his record is flawless (it is), but because of the style he brings into the ring. He follows in the stylings of Sugar Ray Leonard's footwork and speed, and is nearly as untouchable in the ring as Floyd Mayweather.
In seven professional victories, Ulysse has barely been touched inside the ring. He moves his feet, stays off the ropes and is starting to develop the power necessary to compete in the professional ranks. It's not difficult to see why Quebec's Interbox promotion saw money in him so early in his career.
On June 20, Ulysse will look to take his professional record to 8-0 when he takes on Renald Garrido. The fight takes place on the undercard of David Lemieux vs Hassan N’Dam, who will be competing for the vacant IBF middleweight championship.
Spending three years on Canada's national boxing team has worked to Ulysse's advantage. Having the skills necessary to compete on the world amateur stage have only helped him inside the professional ranks. There's a section of fans who say defensive fighters are boring, but Ulysse works as the perfect counterpoint to that argument.
“Defence wins you championships; I'm defensive, but also entertaining,” Ulysse (7-0, 5 KOs) told Boxing Monthly. “People fight for glory, for winning, different things for each person. I fight for winning first, but by being entertaining is how people will remember me.”
Ulysse isn't shy about the fact that he fights for money, a sentiment that can be slightly off-putting. To hear him explain it, the idea of fighting for significant amounts of money seems like a logical thing.
“Right now money is a problem,” Ulysse said, with a laugh. “If you want a big car or a big crib or for your family to live good for the rest of their lives, you have to work hard.”
From a young age, Ulysse knew he was a fighter. He played football and basketball growing up and also competed in taekwondo. Ulysse fought in the streets of Montreal for fun, as young men are known to do. In his late teens, he discovered Floyd Mayweather was making millions of dollars to fight in the ring and wanted his piece of the action. In his mind, if he was going to fight he might as well get paid for it.
"I love Sugar Ray Leonard, but it's all about Floyd Mayweather," Ulysse told BM. "He fights for one night and makes $40 million [Ed: on a slow night!]. In hockey, you play 10 years or 5 years and won't make $40 million. That tells you a lot."
As important as money is to Ulysse, he also sees being a role model as an important part of his job. "I want to be an example," said Ulysse. "I want to show the people that sometimes when you don't have what you like, you work hard for it to step up and get what you want."
Ulysse could be described as a brash fighter. He shows off, taunts his opponents and can land nearly any punch. Like so many young fighters, the ring is where he feels more comfortable than anywhere else. It has provided him with a place to be himself, to let out the man behind the shy demeanour. In person, he's friendly but shy. In the ring? That's where he really shines.
"The boxing helped me to develop this," said Ulysse of his confidence. "Before I was shy, I wasn't feeling myself. Boxing helped me to know who I am. Every time I step in the ring, I'm happy to do what I do best - entertain and fight."
That confidence shines through when Ulysse is in the ring. On June 20, he'll look to extend his undefeated streak, continuing on a path similar to his idol Floyd Mayweather.