David Lemieux has all the makings of a fighter you would want to watch. Besides being a good looking, marketable fighter you can put front and center on your fight poster, he has a style that anyone who has seen him fight should adore. He comes straight forward, and he aims to knock your block off.
He knows no other way to fight, and he doesn’t attempt to. He knows his biggest equalizer is crushing power, and that is how he will win the fight. He will not dance around, hoping to accumulate points and send the fight to the cards, because honestly, what fun is that? He wants to decimate his opponent and then when it’s all over; he will call out the biggest name he can find, and they will not fight him.
So why isn't he a bigger name?
As Curtis Stevens found out above, fighting Lemieux can be a high risk affair. Of his 38 wins, 33 of them have been by knockout, and they usually look to be pretty painful. Stevens was removed from the ring on a stretcher, Glen Tapia was getting battered all over the ring before Freddie Roach mercifully called the fight off, and Gabe Rosado had his face and brow beaten to a pulp before the referee had seen enough.
At this point in his career, the risk far outweighs the reward, as Lemieux to the casual fan, is only known as the guy who got throttled by Gennady Golovkin in what should be known as the champions prime. Losing to Golovkin in a fight in which he was essentially a punching bag can be a career breaker. Beating him doesn't hold as much clout either as the casual fan only knows David as part of a highlight reel for the champion. His career trajectory at that point had resembled former super middleweight champion Jeff Lacy's. However, Lemieux has done just the opposite of Lacy, and that is bounce back after what could have a career defining loss.
Jeff Lacy was a standout amateur fighter who was on the same Olympic team as future middleweight champion, Jermain Taylor. He had a good run in the 2000 Olympics that whet the appetite of the boxing world for his professional debut. He made that debut in February of 2001, and won the bout against Jerald Lowe by knockout in what looked like a jumping off point to superstardom.
He continued knocking people out and winning until he ran into the under-appreciated, but all time great, Joe Calzaghe. Calzaghe systematically took Lacy apart, brutally beating him in a fight that should have been stopped. He lost on one scorecard by 14 rounds in a 12 round fight if that gives you any indication on how badly the fight went for Jeff.
The loss was crushing to his career, and he was never the same afterwards. He would split wins and losses essentially until his last bout in 2015, only to fade off into the sunset. This career path could have been the route that David Lemieux went after his loss to Golovkin, but instead he bounced back right after the fight, and getting back in the ring was clearly important to him. He would take the Tapia fight about 7 months after the Golovkin fight, and although it wasn't met with much fanfare, he was eager to prove the fight was not beaten out of him by GGG.
Will he get a second chance?
After his win against Hassan N'Dam N'Jikam, Lemieux did what everyone was doing at the time and called out Golovkin. The difference between Lemieux's callout and everyone else's is that David followed through and fought him. Since the Golovkin loss, he's been willing to get in the ring and fight anyone that will opposite him, but he has had little luck with contenders.
With the recent news that Miguel Cotto is going a different direction than Lemieux and instead fighting Sadam Ali., David again finds himself on the outside looking in for a signature victory. Ali is a lighter punching middleweight who was knocked out Jessie Vargas at welterweight. Therefore, making him a much lower risk opponent for Miguel's retirement fight.
David Lemieux and Billy Joe Saunders has been ordered by the WBO, and for boxing heads, this fight looks great on paper. Saunders is a game opponent who holds close wins over Chris Eubank Jr and Andy Lee, and recently beat Willie Monroe Jr in a competitive, but one sided fight.
As much fun as this fight will be to witness, it lacks the star power that would come from fighting a guy with name recognition of Cotto. We can all hope that the Saunders fight gets made because it is a fight that fans deserve and could ultimately propel one guy to the next level of stardom. If Golovkin vs Canelo 2 fails to come to fruition, both fighters will need opponents and those names could come from this fight. For Saunders, it would be his chance to show that he belongs at the top with the GGG's and the Canelo's of the division. For Lemieux, it would be a shot at redemption. A chance to demonstrate that he is more than what he showed in the Golovkin fight and that a defeat doesn't have to define your career.
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