Cote stepping up in competition

Junior welterweight Pier-Olivier Cote of Quebec City is one of the more intriguing prospects in boxing. He has a dynamic, fan-friendly fighting style and a lot of speed. Considering that he is 28 but didn't begin boxing until he was 19 and didn't turn pro until 2008, he has come a long way in a short time.

Cote has responded to the challenges put in front of him so far, so promoter Jean Bedard of InterBox is stepping up Cote's level of opposition for his next fight. Bedard announced that Cote will face Ali Chebah on Nov. 3 on the Lucian Bute-Denis Grachev undercard at the Bell Centre in Montreal.

I had a chance to watch Cote (19-0, 13 KO) fight live from ringside for the first time in May, in Nottingham, England, where he fought on the undercard of Bute's super middleweight title loss to Carl Froch. On that night, Cote's athleticism was more than enough to take care of tough Mark Lloyd in five rounds.

Chebah (33-2, 26 KO), who is from France but knows Montreal well, having won all four of his bouts held there, is a far better grade of opponent -- even though he is coming off a decision loss to Ajose Olusegun in a world title eliminator in September.

"Ali Chebah is well-known here in Montreal. Our goal is to offer Cote solid opponents capable of progressing him up the world ranks," Bedard said of his reasoning for making the fight. "This will surely be an excellent fight and a big test for Cote."

Cote figures to be the crowd favorite, but he said he would have been fine traveling for the fight.

"This fight will help me move closer to my ultimate goal: to fight for and win a world title," Cote said. "I am very happy this fight will take place in my province and I thank InterBox and Jean Bedard for this great news. But truth be told, I was prepared to fight Ali in France, or anywhere else in the world."