Q&A: David Lemieux
IBF middleweight titleholder David Lemieux faces WBA counterpart and fellow power-puncher Gennady Golovkin in a combustible 160-pound unification bout on Saturday at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Lemieux (34-2, 31 knockouts) won the IBF strap in June, outpointing Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam. While other fighters in his position may have elected to mark time, making good money fighting in front of throngs of their own supporters in Montreal, the heavy handed Canadian decided to cash in on his new status and go all in against the middleweight version of the bogeyman.
“We’re not planning if we’re gonna win the fight, we’re planning how we’re gonna win the fight,” a confident Lemieux told RingTV.com last Thursday. “We’ve been doing a great job. I didn’t choose this fight for the money, I choose this fight because I totally believe I will beat Golovkin.”
The 27 year old fully appreciated the opportunity to face Golovkin and knows if he can upset the feared Kazakhstan-born fighter that his star will rise exponentially.
“Oct. 17, my name is gonna be out there,” he said. “Yeah, he’s a great fighter but I am also a great fighter.”
The fight broadcast is produced and broadcast on HBO Pay Per View, starting at 9:00 p.m ET in the U.S. and at 2:00 a.m. on BoxNation in the UK. The Golovkin-Lemieux the undercard features THE RING’s pound-for-pound No. 1-rated fighter Roman Gonzalez, who faces arguably his biggest challenge to date in two-weight champion Brian Viloria; they will contest the RING/WBC flyweight titles. Also on the undercardcard, heavyweight Luis Ortiz faces Matias Ariel Vidondo while Tureano Johnson and Eamonn O’Kane meet in an IBF middleweight eliminator.
RingTV.com – What are your thoughts on facing Golovkin?
David Lemieux – Very exciting, it’s a big fight, fighting for the belts. He’s a very good fighter and I think it’s gonna be a historical event. The fight will be tough but I’m very excited to be fighting at Madison Square [Garden], filling it out, having all this great energy around.
RTV – I’m sure you have watched many of his fights and also tape on Golovkin. What do you see in terms of his strengths and also areas of weakness?
DL – I’m not gonna talk about that too much but he has good strengths and everybody has weaknesses. We have a plan and we’re gonna execute it in the fight and that’s gonna be it regardless of his weakness or strengths. We’re gonna do what we need to do.
RTV – He’s known as a devastating puncher but so are you. Is this fight a shootout?
DL – We’ll see, if he wants to shoot it out it’s gonna be a shootout. It depends what he thinks about it. It’s gonna be an interesting fight, as the first bell rings, we’ll see how he comes and how I come. Oct. 17 we’ll see.
RTV – It’s a fight most people expect to end inside the distance, is that how you see it?
DL – Boxing is full of surprises. This fight can go 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 rounds, it can also go 12 rounds, depending on both of us. It takes one punch to change everything. It can go 1 round or 12 rounds. We will see in the fight.
RTV – In Golovkin’s illustrious amateur career he fought many styles, he conquered most of them. In the pros he’s been perfect. What makes you feel you can beat him?
DL – My abilities, what I have will help me to beat him. Golovkin is the guy with all the belts, that’s why we want him.
RTV – Only one of your fights has taken place outside of Canada. This will be in New York.
DL – It’s a very big fight, it’s my second time fighting in New York. It’s a great opportunity and it doesn’t get much bigger than this. I’m extremely excited to be fighting a unification at Madison Square Garden. There’s going to be a tremendous amount of energy with both of us fighting. I’m walking out of Madison Square Garden with those four belts [Lemieux has the IBF title, while Golovkin holds the WBA, WBC interim and IBO belts]
RTV – What has your training camp been like?
DL – Training camp has been great. This camp has been the fullest and toughest camp I’ve ever had. I’m extremely well prepared, I’m ready for a big, explosive 12-round fight, from the first second ’till the end. It has been at home in Montreal, Canada, and it’s been the best camp yet. I’ve had some great sparring partners, Sergey [Derevyanchenko], the Ukrainian, and an Irish fighter Jason [Quigley]; both are very good fighters, I think they have a bright future. We’ve had them help out and also a lot of guys from my hometown. Everything is perfect for the big day.
RTV – In many ways you earned the right to face GGG by beating Hassan N’Dam for the IBF title in June. Tell us about that fight?
DL – It was a big fight. Not many people wanted to fight Hassan N’Dam and (many) turned him down. When it got to me I accepted it with open arms. They shouldn’t have knocked on this door, they got what they didn’t want when they came to Montreal. As the fight went along, he was a very tough fighter, he kept getting back up, he went the 12 rounds, I take my hat off to him, he’s very tough but it was complete domination from the first round to the end. I was extremely pleased with my performance and my team; a great victory I had against him earning the IBF world title
RTV – Do you view your fight and then Miguel Cotto-Canelo Alvarez [RING/WBC championship on Nov. 21] as a middleweight tournament?
RTV – Yeah, they’re already planning some stuff ahead of schedule but that’s boxing. Canelo and Cotto are two very good fighters but Cotto has been unwilling to go up to fight at the middleweight line which is 160 and so has Canelo, so are they really middleweights? When the time comes to fight at 160, the limit is 160, not 158, 159; it’s 160. I think I have the bigger task with Golovkin but Cotto and Canelo are good fighters. I think the bigger task is Golovkin and me and then we’ll see what happens after.
RTV – You had a bad 2011, losing twice. At that point many would have predicted that was the end of the line for you. Fast forward four years and you’re in the main event on a HBO Pay-Per-View fight. How were you able to reinvent yourself?
DL – This is the difference between a champion and a loser. When I hit rock bottom, I looked around and thought there is a lot of things I need to change and I had to do them with my team, with my life, my surroundings, good energy, bad energy, good people, bad people. I did all those changes and the most important thing was having my manager Camille Estephan with me, which has been an extremely great guide in my career, giving me all the tools I needed to achieve what I need to achieve and my new trainer Marc Ramsay, we’ve had a lot of success. Those changes and some small things in my life, getting things organized, and this is why I’m where I am today fighting the biggest fight there is. I think I’ve been doing pretty good. Now I’m world champion. We want to get the unification and get those belts and be the undisputed champion.
RTV – In closing do you have a message for Golovkin?
DL – Be ready for change!