Two of the middleweight divisions biggest hitters, David Lemieux and Curtis Stevens, go head to head on Saturday night live on HBO, with both men looking to secure title fights by the end of 2017. While there is no official sanctioning title on the line for this bout, it is still expected to garner a lot of attention from the boxing public as both men are considered lethal power punchers.
David Lemieux, a native of Montreal, Canada, boasts an extremely impressive 32 KOs in 36 fights (an 89% KO percentage). Until a shock loss to Marco Antonio Rubio back in 2011 derailed his progress, Lemieux was tearing through the middleweight division, with only one previous opponent managing to hear the final bell. With that defeat came a subsequent one against tough, veteran Haitian Joachim Alcine. With both losses coming in front of his home crowd, the wheels looked to have well and truly come off of David Lemiuex’s comet like career.
However, Lemieux showed a tremendous level of mental fortitude, dispatching a series of opponents in efficient manner over the course of the next three years. This led to a showdown with tough Philadelphia fighter ‘King’ Gabe Rosado. Rosado, who had some legitimate wins on his resume, was unable to handle Lemieux’s power and the fight was halted early despite a battered and bruised Rosado’s protests.
His next win over former champion Hassam N’Dam N’Jikam, announced to the boxing world that David Lemieux was back, with N’Dam hitting the canvas no less than four times in a wide decision victory for Lemieux.
Curtis Stevens in many ways has had a remarkably similar career to Lemieux. A fighter with 21KOs in 29 fights, Stevens has shown some serious power of his own on his journey through the middleweight division. His resume boasts some notable wins also, with both veteran Darnell Boone and highly ranked up and comer Tureano Johnson being among the many fighters who ‘The Cerebral Assassin’ has had his hand raised against. While a loss to common Lemieux opponent Hassan N’Jikam via a points decision two years ago stalled his career for a time, Stevens showed his own level of mental toughness, returning with back to back wins last year against solid opposition.
Apart from N’Jikam, the thread that binds these two fighters together is the #1 middleweight on the planet right now, Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin. Both suffered brutal stoppages to the middleweight king, but the manner in which they came might hold some clues as to the potential outcome of this fight.
While GGG had ran through everyone of consequence in his lead up to the Lemieux fight, Golovkin showed a level of respect for Lemieux’s power rarely seen up to that point. Abel Sanchez, Golovkins trainer, was heard throughout the fight urging his fighter to stay composed and utilize his greater skillset. While most fans expected a war, Golovkin came out jabbing and systematically broke Lemieux down over eight extremely one-sided rounds in a superb boxing display.
Golovkins fight against Stevens however was much more of a conventional fight for the Kazakh champion. Golovkin went to work early on Stevens, bruising him with multiple hard shots to the head and body. While a brief flurry in the middle rounds for Stevens stemmed the tide somewhat, the end result was inevitable and, just as in the Lemieux fight, the referee halted action in the eighth round.
While both of these losses appear remarkably similar, it was Golovkins level of of respect for each mans power which is the telling factor.
Lemieux is an extremely capable power puncher with a legitimate two-handed attack. He hunts both to the head and body and can bend at the waist, generating greater leverage on his punches.
Stevens on the other hand, while possessing similar power, relies more heavily on his left hook and focuses the majority of his work up top, neglecting the body.
Both fighters are somewhat defensively limited. Lemieux with his high front guard is suspectible to wide hooks thrown both to the side of the head and body, while Stevens, who prefers pressing hs own attack over solid defence, leaves himself open to straight counters and body shots.
This fight has mid-late stoppage written all over it, and with both men having the necessary tools to KO the other, this fight could frankly go either way. With that being said however, I would definitley lean to David Lemieux to emerge victorious, with his arguably greater power and tighter defence being the deciding factors in this fight.
Either way, this should be a very exciting matchup for casual fans as both men will likely be throwing leathered bombs right from the opening bell.
Pick: (Lean) Lemieux via stoppage.