Heat rising in buildup to David Lemieux-Hassan N’Dam
When it was announced that June 20 would see Canadian slugger David Lemieux get a shot at becoming a world champion when he faces Hassan N’Dam for the vacant IBF middleweight title, it just sounded like a good fight between two solid fighters.
But now it’s starting to seem like there’s more to this fight than meets the eye.
The always-entertaining Lemieux (33-2, 31 knockouts), who will fight N’Dam at the Bell Center in his backyard of Montreal, possesses a crowd-pleasing style that often results in fireworks inside of the squared circle. Meanwhile, N’Dam is a little slicker than his Canadian counterpart and will likely utilize his height and reach to keep Lemieux from unloading those powerful shots.
On paper, it appears to be quite the intriguing showdown between contrasting styles. But the contrasting styles also appear to bring out conflicting personalities and a recent conference call offered credibility to that notion.
N’Dam (31-1, 18 KOs), who sits at No. 5 on THE RING’s list of 160-pounders while Lemieux is unrated, is coming into this fight yearning for the credibility that he feels he rightfully deserves. With his only loss being to Peter Quillin in a fight he took on three weeks’ notice, N’Dam has proven to be impressive otherwise with a dominant victory over Curtis Stevens in his last fight. But, to N’Dam at least, this is all about Lemieux and, as a result, N’Dam is unhappy with how the fight is being handled and the money he stands to earn.
“Of course, I am not very happy [with my pay] because I’ve heard several comments coming from my opponent’s camp saying that he’s going to have the largest purse in his career,” N’Dam said. Golden Boy Promotions won the purse bid with a relatively low offer of $102,000 to be evenly split between the boxers. However, because Golden Boy also promotes Lemieux, they are able to pay their fighter more money on top of the split. N’Dam clearly wasn’t happy with how it all went down: “I would like the idea, rules for the purse to be respected, and that is the purse must be split at 50/50, and there’s no additional money.”
Because of the massive chip on his shoulder, N’Dam then took out his frustrations on Lemieux and questioned if the Canadian rightfully earned his spot.
“I have a message for Lemieux: Man, you better get ready because the spot you’re in, the challenger spot you’re in, you didn’t earn it,” N’Dam said toward the end of the call. “You got it by luck. I’m going to prove to you and to the entire world that you do not have the mettle of a world champion. When you had the chance to become mandatory challenger, you always blew your chances.”
Bitter maybe? If so, N’Dam has his reasons. All of the disadvantages are in his corner while Lemieux seemingly has this fight prebaked for him to take home the cake.
When RingTV asked Lemieux what he thought of N’Dam’s comments, the 26-year-old didn’t seem too concerned with what his opponent said.
“Well, that’s only going to make him look foolish when I beat him on the 20th,” he said about being called lucky. “There’s no luck in boxing. It’s hard man’s work. It’s life or death in the ring. It’s not a game. I’ve earned my right to be where I am, and I will be where I want to be. So, whatever his comment is, I disregard it and I don’t concern myself with his opinion.”
Lemieux has been rolling as of late with knockout victories in seven of his last eight fights after losing back-to-back bouts with Joachim Alcine and Marco Antonio Rubio. With a penchant for keeping the judges out of the decision-making process, will Lemieux look to make N’Dam pay for his sins on June 20?
“Anybody I’m willing to go in the ring with, I’m going to hurt them regardless if it is an undefeated fighter who has never been knocked down or some guy who has been knocked down,” Lemieux explained when asked if N’Dam being dropped six times by Peter Quillin showed him the path to a knockout. “I have one goal in my mind. It’s to destroy and to be able to do it the best way I can throughout the whole fight. If it doesn’t happen in the first round, or the fifth, or the sixth, I’ll still try to the twelfth.”
Ultimately, it’s apparent that these too don’t care much for one another and will look to prove their worth on June 20.