David Lemieux’s punch to remember: Weekend Review
David Lemieux: The former middleweight titleholder will never make anyone’s Top 10 pound-for-pound list. He almost certainly would never beat Gennady Golovkin, a fighter with next-level skills who stopped Lemieux in 2015. The same is probably true of Canelo Alvarez.
Few can do one thing much better than Lemieux, though: Entertain fans.
Lemieux (37-3, 33 knockouts) is the ultimate warrior, bent on maiming his opponents every time he throws a punch. And, obviously, he has the power to finish the job, as he demonstrated with a tight left hook that put Curtis Stevens to sleep in knockout-of-the-decade candidate Saturday in Verona, New York.
What boxing fan doesn’t love that?
I appreciate the refined ability of boxers like Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Andre Ward – honestly I do – but I’d rather watch fighters like Lemiuex, who I know will take the risks necessary to produce action and the power to end fights as he did against Stevens.
I like boxers; I revere warriors. They are why I became a boxing fan in the first place.
Now I must point out that I hold fighters like Thomas Hearns and Golovkin in much higher esteem than fighters like Arturo Gatti and Lemieux; they are the gold standard because they combined or combine sublime ability with that penchant for raw violence. I say to Hearns every time I run into him, “Tommy Hearns! The most exciting fighter of my lifetime!” And I mean it.
Lemieux is a good boxer, not a special one like Hearns; he doesn’t produce a refined form of art. What he does produce is fun to watch. That shouldn’t be underestimated.
Curtis Stevens: Stevens’ fate is a stark example of how momentum can end in an instant in boxing.
The New Yorker had put together nice victories over Patrick Teixeira (TKO 2) and James De La Rosa (UD 10) after returning from a 1½-year layoff, which was preceded by a one-sided lost Hassan N’Dam in 2014. He apparently felt rejuvenated under new trainer John David Jackson, which seemed to give him hope of becoming a significant player at 160 pounds.
And then it was over with one punch.
That has to be more crushing emotionally than physically. Stevens, 32, seemed to be focused on making the most out of his potential as he enters the latter part of his career. He clearly had put in the work leading up to his meeting with Lemieux — many long, demanding hours in the gym.
The reward was a several-minute nap flat on his back in the ring.
Stevens (29-6, 21 KOs) will have to be unusually tough mentally to come back from this if he hopes to regain his status as a middleweight contender. He’ll have to trudge back to the gym, beat a few second-tier opponents and then hope he gets another shot at a big-named opponent. That’s a difficult path.
We’ll see how motivated he is.
The good news for Demetrius Andrade (24-0, 16 KOs) is that he went to the backyard of capable German Jack Culcay (22-2, 11 KOs) and emerged with a split decision in a 12-round junior middleweight bout. The bad news for Andrade is that he looked so-so in doing it, which might be a product of his inactivity. Andrade, 29, has fought only three times in almost three years. He has the ability to be a star; now he needs the fights. No more wasting time. … Yuriorkis Gamboa (26-1, 17 KOs) is another fighter who has squandered his talent. The former Cuban amateur star returned to the ring on Saturday after a 16-month layoff, outpointing Rene Alvarado (24-8, 16 KOs) in a 10-round bout at just over the junior lightweight limit. Gamboa looked rusty in an, ugly, boring fight but at least he’s back and in a division at which he could find some success. If he is going to regain the form of his youth – or anything close it – he’d better hurry. He’s 35. … Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao still command attention. Mayweather (49-0, 26 KOs) announced he plans to fight MMA star Conor McGregor. I still say it has to happen because of the money on the table. Pacquiao (59-6-2, 38 KOs) was set to fight Jeff Horn (16-0-1, 11 KOs) and then he wasn’t. He was set to fight Amir Khan (31-4, 19 KOs) and then he wasn’t. This is ridiculous. Someone get back to me when he makes a decision.