Thursday, December 11, 2014

What’s Next For David Lemieux?

One of the most interesting storylines that has emerged in the sport of Boxing in the last couple years has been the emergence of unified WBA/IBO Middleweight world champion Gennady Golovkin, who has earned a reputation as one of the sport’s premier knockout artists. As Golovkin has carved out what this observer has called a path of destruction through the Middleweight division scoring eighteen consecutive knockouts and successfully defending his world title twelve times, a question that has emerged is who may be able to give Golovkin a significant test.

This observer has stated that I believe the time has come for Golovkin to face fighters that most would consider stars in and around the Middleweight division. Although most would say that the biggest star in the Middleweight division currently would be Miguel Cotto, the current WBC world champion. A fight between Golovkin and Cotto does not appear as a fight that will take place in the near future.  Cotto appears to be nearing a fight against Saul Alvarez and Golovkin is scheduled to face former world title challenger Martin Murray on February 21, 2015.

With Golovkin taking on Murray and with Cotto-Alvarez seemingly on the horizon, some may wonder what may be in store for the rest of the Middleweight division. On December 6th at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York top Middleweight contender and North American Boxing Federation (NABF) champion David Lemieux made his United States debut by scoring a tenth round stoppage of former world title challenger and current BKB: Big Knockout Boxing Middleweight world champion Gabriel Rosado in a fight fought under traditional Boxing rules.

Lemieux, who entered the fight with a record of 32-2, with 30 Knockouts showcased his power in this fight using a well-balanced attack to the body and head of Rosado. Although Lemieux had a clear advantage in punching power over the always “Game” Rosado, Rosado once again showed his mettle by fighting much of the fight with a severely swollen left eye. What impressed me about Lemieux in this fight along with his attack of Rosado was he showed the ability to take a punch and keep coming forward when Rosado was able to be effective periodically with his offense. Lemieux scored a knockdown of Rosado in round three and was able to maintain his consistent attack that ultimately earned him a stoppage win in the tenth round when the fight was stopped due to the swelling of Rosado’s left eye.

Even though Rosado was outgunned in this fight, he showed the heart and determination that has earned him the respect of Boxing fans and experts alike. Despite having lost four of his last five bouts fought under the traditional Boxing format, this latest loss will not likely prevent Rosado from getting potential lucrative opportunities in the Middleweight division. One should also remember that Rosado does hold a world championship in BKB and although bouts fought under BKB rules and under the BKB format are not presently considered official by official Boxing record keepers, there is definitely potential for Rosado to establish himself as one of the stars of the entity known as Big Knockout Boxing if Rosado chooses to return to BKB to defend his title.

Prior to this fight, I stated that it will be interesting to see what would be in store for the winner of this fight in a Middleweight division that is very deep where any of the top contenders could find themselves challenging for a world championship at any given time. Lemieux’s performance against Rosado was certainly one that was an attention grabber and will likely launch him into the discussion of potential challengers for Gennady Golovkin. With much of the top of the Middleweight division with fights involving world championships and uncertainty in regard to the status of International Boxing Federation’s (IBF) Middleweight world championship, the question coming out of this fight is what’s next for David Lemieux?

One option could be for Lemieux, who is currently rated in the top ten of the WBC, IBF, and WBO Middleweight ratings to wait to fight the winner of the upcoming fight in February between Gennady Golovkin and Martin Murray. With some already touting Lemieux as a potential Golovkin opponent, should Golovkin successfully retain his title over Murray, it is quite possible that Lemieux would want to wait on the results of that fight before choosing what he wants to do next.

If Lemieux however, does not want to wait on a potential shot at the winner of Golovkin-Murray, there are certainly other options that may be available to him. One such option could be to face the winner of this weekend’s vacant WBO world championship fight between top contenders Matt Korobov and Andy Lee. Although Billy Joe Saunders, who defeated Chris Eubank Jr. on November 29th is slated as the WBO’s mandatory challenger for the winner of Korobov and Lee, there have been circumstances in the past where fighters who have won vacant world titles have been allowed to make an elective title defense before facing their mandatory challenger.

Whether or not an option for an elective title defense will be available to Korbov or Lee remains to be seen. If the winner of that fight is granted the opportunity to make an elective defense however, it would not surprise me if David Lemieux were considered as an opponent. Although Lemieux made his debut in the United States against Gabriel Rosado, it is important to remember that Lemieux has been able to establish a sizable fan base in his hometown of Montreal, Canada, which has become a hotbed for the sport. What should not be overlooked are the potential economic incentives that a fight with Lemieux in Canada can bring any of the champions who may be interested in fighting him.

If a world championship fight is not in the immediate plans for David Lemieux.  If he decides to take a fight against a top contender, fighters such as Curtis Stevens, undefeated former WBO champion Peter Quillin, and former multi-time Middleweight champion Felix Sturm could all be potential options. No matter what option David Lemieux takes for his next fight one thing remains clear. 

The Middleweight division will surely remain a topic of discussion for both Boxing fans and experts alike for some time. The one thing that has also become evident is David Lemieux has officially become a player in the division. Whether or not Lemieux will become one of the division’s central figures remains to be seen, but it will be interesting to see where he goes coming off of what was an impressive victory.

“And That’s The Boxing Truth.”

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