It was a balmy October in New York City, but still the town was ablaze from the possibilities the evening presented at the Mecca of boxing, Madison Square Garden.
Middleweight champion, Gennady “GGG” Golovkin was set to headline his first pay-per-view on a title defense against noted power puncher, Canadian David Lemieux (34-3).
The Golden Boy fighter had 31 KOs among those impressive 34 wins and was thought to be the balance maker in Triple G’s destruction of everyone not named Andre Ward or Canelo Alvarez.
That night would not prove to derail the Kazakh’s trail of dominance though, as Lemieux was defeated via referee stoppage resulting in an 8th round TKO on the first PPV outing of both fighters careers.
“Triple G had a good night,” said Lemieux. “Personally I don’t think the fight should have been stopped but Triple G is definitely a good fighter. He has got my respect and that night was his, but I’m sure by adapting my style differently, things will be different”
The only other time Lemieux had tasted the canvas was when he fought former WBC World Middleweight champion Marco Antonio Rubio at the Bell Center on his home Quebec soil. It was in the 7th round where Rubio landed an overhand right hand behind the ear that sent Lemieux falling into the ropes and down into the corner. His corner waved off the fight after Rubio pressed him into the ropes and threw a barrage against a wholly defensive and evading Lemieux that did not retaliate.
Lemieux is a French Canadian though and the province’s insatiable love of all things combat drives him.
“There’s been some great champions here and I guess they just gave the example to others in hockey and boxing and fighting," said Lemieux. "It just caught on because a lot of guys have been having success with it. It’s a fight city and hockey place.”
However, that was the past. And in boxing, the adage goes that you are only as good as your last fight. Redemption is always around the corner with every new ring date and Lemieux will have his next shot on May 7th against Glen “Jersey Boy” Tapia (23-2) on yet another big pay-per-view stage.
As the co-main event of the Saul “Canelo” Alvarez vs. Amir Khan Middleweight title fight, Lemieux and Tapia are both vying for future top billing as the vacant WBO Middleweight title is on the line.
“Being a pay per view fighter is of course the highest goal of a fighter," said Lemieux. "It's something I worked hard for since I’m 8 years old and I have a style of fighting that is crowd-pleasing. You work hard,you get the results and I’m very happy to be where I am.”
With all the talk surrounding who will get the next shot at Golovkin or the winner of Canelo vs. Khan, Lemieux knows the danger in front of him in “Jersey Boy” is real.
“Glen Tapia is always a challenge for any fighter," said Lemieux. "He’s a guy who comes to fight, a guy that comes for work and can be dangerous at any time. An explosive fighter and dangerous guy, so I’m well prepared for it. We want to fight the best and we want to be in line for the best, so this is the name I’ve got to fight now to get back on top.”
Tomorrow, the Middleweight division will etch out its pecking order a bit more definitively under the hot lights of Las Vegas and a newly built T-Mobile Arena. This truly defines primetime and for Lemieux, it is the breath of life that resuscitates his boxing ethos.
“Put the numbers together and the equation comes as up perfect," Lemieux said. "It's going to be a great night. Motivation is there. I love big fights and this is the position I like before I fight the best, when things are at there highest at stake. So for sure, this is an exciting event for me and I’m extremely excited to give the best of what I can give on that night.”