Don King, on Mike Tyson

"Why would anyone expect him to come out smarter?
He went to prison, not to Princeton."

"To me, boxing is like a ballet, except there's no music
and the dancers hit each other."

Saturday, April 9, 2016

David Lemieux begins a comeback

Lemieux came up short against GGG but he is an exciting fighter to watch.  Too bad his first comeback fight was cancelled.

(Photo at top of David Lemieux by Seth Wenig, AP)

 Ex-champ David Lemieux ready to begin road back to the top

The photo, captured at the perfect moment by AP photographer Rich Schultz at Madison Square Garden last Oct. 17, has become an iconic boxing shot, labeled by some as the most brutal shot of the year.
It showed then-middleweight champion David Lemieux reeling from a left hook from a fierce-looking, determined middleweight champ Gennady Golovkin. Lemieux’s facial features were knocked out of whack by the vicious punch, with eyes closed, blood and sweat jarred loose from his nose and the sweat-soaked shock of hair on top of Lemieux’s head flowing in the opposite direction of the punch.
At once, it reflects the ferocious power of Golovkin and the toughness of Lemieux.
If you didn’t know better, you would swear that blow put Lemieux on the canvas to stay. But if you thought that, you don’t know David Lemieux. The tough French Canadian fighter from Montreal did not go down. Referee Steve Willis finally stopped the punishment, a stoppage Lemieux didn’t appreciate. He still had fight in him, he said.
Gennady Golovkin, left, hits David Lemieux in the eighth round of a world middleweight title fight on Oct. 17. (Photo by Rich Schultz, AP)
Gennady Golovkin, left, hits David Lemieux in the eighth round of a world middleweight title fight on Oct. 17. (Photo by Rich Schultz, AP)

Lemieux lost his IBF title to Golovkin that night, and pretty much lost touch with his American audience as well, if only temporarily. We’ve heard little or nothing from Lemieux the last six months.

But if you thought the loss lingered in Lemieux’s psyche, think again.

“It didn’t take me too long to get over it,” Lemieux told USA TODAY in a recent interview. “There were certain things I needed to adjust from a fight like that. But I wasn’t hurt mentally or physically and so I came back in training pretty fast after that fight. I took some time off for a vacation with my kids, but then I came back in training.”

The ex-champion knockout artist (34-3, 31 KOs) will begin his road back to the top on Saturday against Mexican James De La Rosa (23-3, 13 KOs) at the tiny Olympic Theater in Montreal. It’s a far cry from Montreal’s Bell Centre or Madison Square Garden. And it’s not on HBO, but FOX Deportes (10 p.m. ET). In a sense, it’s like starting over for Lemieux.

But Lemieux is only 27, he feels great and believes he can make it back to the division’s elite sooner rather than later.

“I think it’s not going to take very long,” he said. “I see as far as March 12th, and then the other doors will be open. For now we’re focusing on March 12th but I don’t think it’s going to take very long to get a title fight. I’m ready to take on anybody in the middleweight division.”

Asked about possibly fighting middleweight champion — and promotional stablemate — Canelo Alvarez down the road, Lemieux said, “Yes, of course, but Canelo’s not a middleweight. I will not go below 160. That’s why I’m a middleweight. Canelo is a very good fighter but if he wants to fight middleweight he has to fight at 160.”

Even though he was stopped by the undefeated Golovkin, Lemieux feels he acquitted himself pretty well against possibly the best fighter and one of the hardest punchers in the world today. He explained why he seemed so passive at times in that fight.

“I didn’t go in there thinking I was going to outbox Golovkin,” Lemieux said. “But I wanted to trade shots and I just didn’t see the right timing or opening, so it took a bit longer than I thought and when I wanted to open up, things didn’t go my way.

“I still have faith that I could beat Golovkin. He’s a great fighter and I give him the props for that fight. But I just have to adjust and come back.”

Lemieux has no regrets on taking the fight and believes he was ready for Golovkin, who came away with the Canadian’s prized IBF middleweight belt.

“I knew what I was doing. I knew he was a very good fighter,” he said. “I don’t regret nothing. He’s a tough fighter to beat. It’s going to take a good plan to beat a guy like this. He’s a very complete fighter. But no, I don’t regret taking the fight. There’s some things I would have done better (in hindsight). But that’s the way it is. . . . I’ll get back to where I was.”

While Lemieux says he is solely concentrating on De La Rosa right now, he admits there are a lot of middleweights he has his eye on if he gets by the Mexican, who was KO’d by Hugo Centeno Jr. in his last outing in December.

“Whoever is the most significant,” Lemieux said when asked to be more specific on who he’d like next. “Obviously the most interesting of the middleweights, I think, Golovkin, is tough opposition. But in the near future I will take him again also.”


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