Friday, September 29, 2023  |


Abel Sanchez sees a perfect 10 fight in Golovkin-Lemieux

Fighters Network
Photo by Naoki Fukuda

Photo by Naoki Fukuda

For a couple years now, I’ve been doing a thing on Twitter, gauging fan interest in fights. Usually I do it on the day of the fight, asking, “From one to ten, ten being most amped, how psyched are you for this Jones vs. Smith fight?”

Other boxing writers have their go-to Twitter gimmicks. ESPN’s Dan Rafael tells followers about the water pressure in his hotel; me, I’m not keen on catalyzing any sort of visuals. I’m more curious how fans view a particular fight or event. It helps me choose what I deem “newsworthy.”

Now, I did a “one to ten” query on Saturday morning when I broke the story of the Gennady Golovkin versus David Lemieux bout having been set for Oct. 17, at Madison Square Garden, and on HBO pay-per-view. And I was astounded by the high numbers which came back at me. Ten plusses were everywhere…

Yep, fair to say, appetites were whetted with the thought of two hammerfists being tossed into the shark tank and seeing whose bite is baddest.

I checked in with Golovkin trainer Abel Sanchez to see how amped he is about the middleweight mash-up. “Good fight! Fan friendly,” he told me. Sounds like “ten” to me…

So, promoter Oscar De La Hoya went on ESPN and said he saw holes in Golovkin; what about that? “Oscar saw holes in [Manny] Pacquiao and had the blueprint to beat Floyd [Mayweather Jr.] and had Canelo [Alvarez] believing he had the blueprint [against Mayweather]…We know what happened those times,” he said.

True enough…but I think that’s part of what makes Oscar a great promoter and why I told you that you all would be foolish to write him off after he had to pick himself up after some personal travails two years ago…Anyway…

“There isn’t a fighter out there without deficiencies; it’s boxing. Everybody gets hit and everybody hits back,” the trainer of the fighting pride of Kazakhstan told me, “but can Lemieux take it? That’s what makes the fight interesting and a good pay-per-view buy. Superstars are born and developed from risk-takers…If you can’t take the heat, stay out of the kitchen.”

Sanchez has been mildly frustrated and wholly dismissive of some of these A-grade guys not seeking out a bout with his mega-touted hitter. He thinks the best of the best search out the stiffest tests and need to prove to all that they are the best and brightest. He and I agreed that it is to Lemieux’s credit to accept this challenge in a day and age in which there are no shortage of “wise” souls who steer boxers away from risks, toward paydays which bolster their checking accounts but leave their legacies thin.

And so, how does Lemieux stack up on paper? Is he a viable challenger? Because some folks point to his losses and think he’s a hype job…

“He’s a very good challenger because he has delivered of late,” Sanchez said. “It’s an interesting match-up; he’s a decent puncher, throws a little wide, is strong and willing and that’s a good combination for explosive results.”

I could see this ending early with pride having both guys loading up for a grand slam shot early…Does Sanchez agree? “No, I believe Lemieux has a good group around him. They will remind him of the things he must do…and what he must not do.”

Top takeaway: Fans appreciate Sweet Scientists…but there is no substitute for the excitement conjured when you get a bomber vs. bomber face-off.

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