Gamache gained all the knowledge he required from two numbers – Antoine’s age (41) and number of previous professional fights (68).
“It felt good to get in there with a guy who actually can fight,” Gamache said. “He’s had more fights than my father had as a pro.”
Fighting for the fifth time as a professional and first in his hometown, Gamache (5-0) slugged out a four-round unanimous decision at Androscoggin Bank Colisee.
The win was his fourth consecutive by virtue of the cards after a knockout in his pro debut just over the state line in Somersworth, N.H. All three judges scored the bout 40-36.
“I knew he had a lot of experience and that he had been in there with world champions. I just tried to set him up with the body,” Gamache said. “He was a wild guy. I had to keep my hands above my chin.”
Gamache, 31, son of two-time world champion Joey Gamache, last fought in October 2012 under his father’s watchful eye in Brooklyn. N.Y.
The elder Gamache now lives in Denmark, where he continues to train fighters. He wasn’t able to attend Saturday’s comeback bout.
Without his father in the picture, Stevie stepped away from the sport. New England Fights’ first foray into boxing after nearly three years of successful mixed martial arts promotion prompted the revival.
“It’s awesome. I told my coach, to come here and fight and be in the same locker room where I hung out with my father,” Gamache said. “Plus just the history with Muhammad Ali (fighting Sonny Liston for the heavyweight championship). Now that boxing is back in Maine, I’d like to stay active.”
Activity might as well be Antoine’s middle name.
He has been in the fight game so long that if you do an internet search, you are more likely to discover the exploits of his adult son, Damon Jr., a Golden Gloves fighter who plans to turn pro in January.
Antoine dropped to 11-56-2 with the loss.
“I have a lot of losses because they bring me in expecting me to lose,” said Antoine, who has fought in at least 20 different states. “He was a lot harder fight than I thought he would be. I took the fight on two weeks’ notice. My legs weren’t quite ready. They felt heavy. I need six, eight rounds to get into it.”
Gamache did most of his damage with uppercuts and combinations to the body.
It was by design. Based on Antoine’s experience, that was where he expected the veteran to be weakest.
“He had so much experience that I knew he wouldn’t be bothered by the head, so I worked to the body,” Gamache said.
Antoine was never in real danger of going down.
He took Gamache’s best punch to the midsection late in round two, but the bell prevented the local from inflicting any additional damage.
“I wanted to get the work in. I don’t want to go in there with a guy that I can knock out quick. I never look for the knockout. If it’s there, I’ll take it,” Gamache said. “Those older guys, they know how to survive. They know how to hold on.”