SAN DIEGO, March 9, 2017 – Middleweights David Lemieux and Curtis Stevens didn’t bother waiting for the opening bell in their fight scheduled on Saturday, March 11 on HBO. They have been swinging away at each other for weeks, verbally at least.
After watching the friendly interaction between the two during the post-fight news conference for their respective bouts on the Canelo vs. Khan undercard last May in Las Vegas, we asked them in an interview how they got along personally. It was an innocent question, we assure you. Release the hounds.
Release the hounds.
Stevens accused Lemieux of blowing him off before their bouts in Las Vegas when he tried to greet him. He called out Lemieux for talking trash about him to the boxing media instead of to his face. Stevens said, “Tell the doctor to bring smelling salts. They’re going to need to wake your ass up … You ain’t never fought nobody like me … Meet me in the middle of the ring. That’s all you’ve got to do.
“Your whole front furniture will be missing out of your mouth,” declared Stevens.
The normally reserved Lemieux (it’s a French-Canadian thing) had no trouble returning fire. “You ain’t never fought a guy like me. I’m going to destroy you March 11th. Don’t talk so much. You’re going to get knocked out. That’s what’s going to happen. I don’t care if his hand is 100 percent or a thousand percent. I’m going to go in there, I’m going to destroy him.
“This is what I want. I want you to come like a raging bull. I want you to come like a raging bull, champ.”
Later, Lemieux said “I’m not really worked up at all. It’s just stuff. Sometimes it really makes me laugh, just the trash, the way he talks and the lack of professionalism he has … But sometimes when he says some things I’ve got to reply … So there’s emotion — nothing really gets to me. I know what I’m going to do on March 11th. My focus is there.”
Lemieux later called Stevens “a clown” for playing around by posting photos of hm being hit by Gennady Golovkin, which is certainly the pot calling the kettle black since the replay of Stevens getting knocked down early in his own bout against Golovkin has been a classic boxing meme ever since.
“Emotion, no there’s no emotion,” said Lemieux. “I’m going to destroy him and that’s the only emotion I have.”
Stevens said, “You know, this is boxing. Anything can happen. He could be knocked out. I could win by a decision. Come March 11th we’ll just have to see what happens. But you never know … I don’t think necessarily it’s going to go to the scorecards, no. But like you said, everyone has a turn to get hurt.”
Lemieux said, “I’m coming in to win, coming in strong. And Stevens is going to be in front of me, I’m going to take care of him. Put on a great show. What I can promise is my fans are going to have a great show. It’s going to be very nice and it’s going to be a great night for me.”
It better be a good night for one of these two men. They are at a must-win crossroads in their respective careers. They need to win on Saturday, preferably with a flashy fan-friendly performance, to stay relevant in the middleweight division.
It’s far from assured whether the banger version of either man shows up on Saturday. Since both men lost to middleweight monster Golovkin (Stevens in November 2013 and Lemieux in October 2015), they have struggled to regain their footing.
Stevens (29-5, 21 KOs) is 4-1 (three wins by TKO), with the one loss to Hassan N’Dam. His best performance was a sizzling second round TKO over formerly undefeated Patrick Teixiera of Argentina in May 2016. His last fight In November against James De La Rosa carried the same anticipation of action, but was an uninspiring blowout on the cards.
Lemieux (36-3, 32 KOs) has fought twice since his loss to GGG, battling weight issues due to illness early last year. He then beating Glen Tapia with a solid knockout, followed by his own unimpressive decision over another Argentinean tune-up opponent Cristian Rios in November.Lemieux and Stevens also have Hassan N’Dam in common. Lemieux battled N’Dam in a spectacular and unappreciated “Fight of the Year” candidate in 2015, knocking him down four times.
Lemieux and Stevens also have Hassan N’Dam in common. Lemieux battled N’Dam in a spectacular and unappreciated “Fight of the Year” candidate in 2015, knocking him down four times en route to a decision. It was as entertaining as a fight gets, though not for the faint of heart.
This is the kind of fight everyone hopes for between Stevens and Lemieux, living up to the build up and making someone’s trash talk stick.
“He comes to fight. I come to fight,” Stevens said when the bout was announced. “You are going to want to see this.”
“We’ll see who is stronger, who takes the punches better. It’s going to be exciting,” echoed Lemieux.
It may disappoint, but if the fight meets expectations you need to be in your seat from the start to see two power punchers at work. If fans are fortunate, there will be no feeling out round, no settling in. Lemieux and Stevens have said a lot about a show of force; let’s see who can back it up. The record favors Lemieux; he is faster and more mobile with better footwork. He has the better chin. This will be the difference Saturday, not punching power.
The televised co-feature features the return to the ring of Cuban lightweight Yuriorkis Gamboa after a 15-month absence. Gamboa (25-1, 17 KOs) is now fighting under Golden Boy Promotions and this is his race to the finish line at age 35. Gamboa faces Rene Alvarado of Nicaragua 24-7, 16 KOs), who scored an upset split decision over Jayson Velez last July. Prior to Velez and now Gamboa, Alvarado’s most significant opponent was Jezreel Corrales of Panama, who won a six-round decision in 2013.
Gamboa has only fought twice since losing in the only stoppage of his career to Terence Crawford in an electrifying bout. Gamboa has always been known for speed and can be fun to watch, but he hasn’t been busy in the ring and he needs to make up for lost time.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.
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