Every now and then, a specific region takes the boxing world by storm. Sometimes it is an entire country, yet other times, as small as a town. Brooklyn's power in the last few years has been impressive. The re-gentrification of the area, combined with influx of investor money, made Brooklyn basketball and boxing centers. However, the amount of top BK fighters didn't really change much. It merely gave them a home-base at which to ply their trade. However, the Quebec explosion in the last couple of years, is not only from the fighter base (both natural and immigrant-based), but is division specific. It is also not the first time this has happened in that very location.
Adonis Stevenson is the 175lb champion. He made the leap from 168 in his championship shot, and has scored several dominating wins since then. However, the dust had barely settled before fellow Quebecois Lucien Bute and Jean Pascal were sharing the spotlight. Although both of those men were beaten by men other than Stevenson, the number one contender in Kovalev (A Russian living in Florida) has also plied his trade multiple times in front of the Quebec fans. Also, Montreal is getting competition from it's smaller, more Franco-phile neighbor to the northeast: Quebec City. As may big fights are happening there these days, as in Montreal.
Canada is a desirable country, like the USA, therefore it provides a home for a wide-range of diaspora. Whereas Mexicans, Russians, and Armenians may look towards Los Angeles, Montreal brings Haitans and Romanians. The immigration explosion is bringing far more great fighters into the fold. Some of the fighters are born and raised, while others came as children. Some have come just for their careers, however. Quebec's regional explosion in boxing is that it has been slow growing. Bute's rows at 168lbs, also drew huge crowds. Pascal and Diaconu (another Montreal-based former world champion) had a pair of fights that packed em in. Middleweight David Lemieux (a rare homegrown fighter) is exciting if not world class.
However, 15 years ago, the same thing was happening at 168lbs. Davey Hilton, Eric Lucas, and Stephane Oueltte had epic battles, with high drama. There never really was a long pause between eras, yet the change from home-grown fighters, to immigrant labor has been drastic. The Canadians open-arms acceptance of the foreign-born fighters has been inspirational, and quite money-making. In fact, Kovalev is not the first USA-based fighter to chase the bigger crowds north of the border, multiple times. Librado Andrade and Chad Dawson had a few of their biggest fights in Quebec, even though neither man ever called it home. This happened, you guessed it, at 168lbs.