In preparation for a comeback fight in the fall, once-beaten middleweight prospect David Lemieux spent last week training with Sergio Martinez in Oxnard, Calif., his promoter, Yvon Michel, told RingTV.com.
“David is sparring with Sergio Martinez as we speak. He is in Oxnard in California where Martinez is getting ready for his fight and to prepare for Darren Barker,” said Michel of Martinez, who meets Barker on Oct. 1 in Atlantic City, N.J.
“For David Lemieux to go to that training camp was to witness somebody in his own weight division and how he trains and how to do things that a champion does.”
A 22-year-old Canadian, Lemieux (25-1, 24 knockouts) is coming off of April’s shocking seventh-round stoppage loss to hard-hitting Marco Antonio Rubio (51-5-1, 44 KOs).
Rubio-Lemieux was a WBC eliminator match up that was contested before Lemieux’s partisan fans at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Lemieux had gone 5-0 in 2010, but the loss to Rubio ended his run of four straight stoppage wins.
“That was just a little bit of a step backward, but David’s manager, Russ Anber, wants to make sure that all aspects are covered. We want to make sure that everybody is aiming in the same direction,” said Michel.
“So the training with Martinez was very good for him, and then we’re looking for David to make a comeback. I want to wait and get the green light from his manager, because the intent is that once we launch his comeback, he’s going to be a nonstop until he becomes the world champion.”
In victory over Rubio, Lemieux was to have been in line for a title shot opposite 25-year-old Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (43-0-1, 30 KOs), who dethroned Germany’s Sebastian Zbik (30-1, 10 KOs) as WBC beltholder in June.
Zbik had been elevated to WBC titleholder after Martinez (47-2-2, 26 KOs) was stripped and declared the organization’s “Champion Emeritus.”
Rubio has now scored four consecutive knockouts and seven overall among eight consecutive wins, having positioned himself for a shot at Chavez along with Martinez.
Lemieux had often sparred with promotional stablemate Jean Pascal (26-2-1, 16 KOs), a former lightheavyweight beltholder.
“Being with Martinez was a chance to do something different and to learn. It was the idea of Russ Anber, David’s manager and trainer. We knew that Martinez had nice habits and that he has to train properly. He is a good role model for a young guy like David Lemieux,” said Michel.
“So we brought that idea and called Martinez’s camp, and they were happy to have David with them. They sparred a couple of times and it was good and he’s learning new things. Russ said that are very, very happy and very excited and that the sparring was good for David.”
In Canada, Lemieux’s popularity had reached the point where it began to rival that of 31-year-old countryman Lucian Bute (29-0, 24 KOs), the IBF super middleweight titleholder.
During his previous triumph at Bell Centre, Lemieux earned a second-round knockout over Purnell Gates. Stopped for the first time in his career, Gates had a 15-fight winning streak that had included 11 knockouts for a man whose record was 18-1 with 13 KOs coming in.
“Every month we have a show in Canada. On Sept. 23 we will be at Bell Centre in Monreal, and then, Oct. 20, we go to Quebec City at the Pepsi Colesium, and then on Nov. 11 at Bell Centre in Montreal,” said Michel.
“So we have a show every month, and we’ll bring David Lemieux back on one of those dates. They’re going to be back this weekend and Russ will come here, and depending on progression, we will set up David Lemieux’s date for his comeback. And when he comes back, he’s going to go to the top.”
Lem Satterfield can be reached at [email protected]