The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / If I Were a Boxing Matchmaker: David Lemieux

If I Were a Boxing Matchmaker: David Lemieux

Who should he fight?

Welcome back and thanks for sticking with me for another article. I hope everybody is enjoying these so far. I wanted to start with some of the more recognizable names to get your attention. I’d like to mix it up and talk about a fighter who I personally feel could be one of the more underrated middleweights to be utilized for great matchmaking.

David Lemieux 40-4 (34 KOs)

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This photo is a prime example of why the French-Canadian David Lemieux is a matchmaker’s delight, or a matchmaker’s worst nightmare. At least I believe so.

David Lemieux should have tons of options. He has stayed in the middleweight division as a contender for many years now. He has fought many top-level guys in the middleweight division. Names such as Gennady Golovkin and Billy Joe Saunders. However, boxers like Gary O’ Sullivan, Curtis Stevens, Hassan N’Dam, Joachim Alcine, Marco Antonio Rubio and Hector Camacho Jr. may not sound like much to most, but those are decent names. N’Dam is still rated in the top 10 in the division by some. Rubio was a solid fighter and a big puncher. Spike O’ Sullivan was a contender at the time Lemieux destroyed him within the first round.

David Lemieux is primed to matchup for scraps that most fight fans could thoroughly enjoy. Lemieux is a fighter who has enough technical ability to hang in there with most top guys, just not when it comes to the elite fighters. That’s where he struggles. When opponents have very good boxing ability, Lemieux can’t follow. He is a tough cookie but he doesn’t move very well.

That’s where proper matchmaking comes into play. I wouldn’t mind seeing him against most of the top middleweights out there. Canelo could certainly outbox Lemieux, so could Daniel Jacobs, but neither one of them better get caught with one of Lemieux’s heavy-handed blows. That is the only thing that makes those matchups intriguing and it could possibly happen.

Plain and simple, David Lemieux should not be a middleweight. He is too big. If I were advising Mister Lemieux, I would advise him to move up to super middleweight or light heavyweight. I don’t think the 168-pound weight class is very exciting. The fighters there are good, but not great, which could make for quality fights because it doesn’t seem as if any of them are far superior to the others. They are all kind of even in a way.

Honestly, 168 probably shouldn’t really even be a weight class. The 168-pound weight class makes more sense than some of the lower weight classes though. There are way too many with about 3 to 4-pound weight differences between them. It’s just highly unnecessary and a ridiculous way for these sanctioning bodies to milk the situation for more money. At least there is an 8-pound difference between the middleweight and super middleweight divisions. That is more reasonable. However, because super middleweight is a division, this is where I believe Lemieux should start.

#1 Matchup: Callum Smith 25-0 (18 KOs)

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This is technically the number one fighter at super middleweight right now, according to most. It is always hard to judge that because of all of the ridiculous number of titles and belts. Who knows any more who the real champion is at any weight class? Either way, he was the victor of the World Boxing Super Series tournament and proved he is at least the number one, or number two guy. Gilberto Ramirez is still there as the WBO titleholder. Smith and Ramirez should hash it out first and decide from there. If that doesn’t happen due to politics, David Lemieux should go right after Callum Smith. This would give him a shot at being the number one fighter in the division.

I do believe this would be a good fight. Both men are heavy-handed and neither one of them care to move their head much. This to me, would be a battle of who hits harder and who can take the others punch better. Who doesn’t enjoy one of those scraps every once in a while? I would favor David Lemieux to win this by stoppage if it happens. By the way, not only is this good for fight fans (especially in Britain). This is probably a pretty solid payday for both guys. Smith doesn’t have any one lined up yet, so let’s make this one happen.

#2 Matchup: David Benavidez 21-0 (18 KOs)

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Benavidez is a young, rising skilled fighter. This is a good match to go after for various reasons. One is that Benavidez is young and marketable. Two is that he has an undefeated record. Three, he is beatable for Lemieux.

David Benavidez is a skilled boxer. He digs to the body well and has as a decent jab. He can switch from orthodox to southpaw. He seems to have a good chin. But he looks to be vulnerable in spots. He has a tendency to be wide open for shots when he throws his own punches. He drops his hands very low and keeps them there for too long even after he is done throwing. He starts at a high pace in the beginning, but usually slows down, which looks to be a stamina issue.

Benavidez struggled with a guy like Ronald Gavril, which proves to me that David Lemieux has a case to win this fight if Benavidez can’t get him out of there early. Lemieux can be hit fairly easily. However, consider the fact that he has taken punches from guys like Gennady Golovkin and Marco Antonio Rubio, two very heavy-handed punchers. He was TKO’d by both of them, but he took many of their punches before the end came. Make this one happen sooner than later while Benavidez is a hot commodity and while he still has the boxing and personal lapses. The best time to take advantage of this is soon. My prediction is Lemieux catches Benavidez with his hands down and puts him out in the mid rounds.

#3 Matchup: Canelo Alvarez 51-1-2 (35 KOs)

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A bout with Canelo Alvarez is the biggest payoff for any boxer right now. I did not include David Lemieux on Canelo Alvarez’s top matches because if I were Canelo’s adviser specifically, I would stay away from this bout for now. At least as a middleweight show. There are better fighters and more marketable fights to make for Canelo at 160 pounds while he can still make that weight himself. Not to mention David Lemieux struggles badly to make 160 pounds.

I put Canelo on Lemieux’s list because it would by far be the biggest victory from a resume standpoint and from a payday standpoint. I would be accepting of this bout no matter when it happened, if it did. David Lemieux should try and build a solid stand in the super middleweight division while Canelo builds his legacy at middleweight, then see if this fight can happen at 168 pounds for all of the marbles or at least a portion of the marbles. This bout would be more marketable if Lemieux can get past all of the belt-holders and reign supreme at 168, but I think he might be better off taking this fight before he fought Gilberto Ramirez. If he can get by Callum Smith or even David Benavidez, this could setup a shot at Canelo. If he attempts to fight Gilberto Ramirez before Canelo, I think he risks the chance of blowing a shot at the big payoff with Canelo. I think Ramirez is a big risk for reward for Mister Lemieux. Ramirez can certainly win that bout.

Again, I wouldn’t mind seeing any of these fights at any time, but that is the reality of the situation. If Lemieux were to lose to any of them, the Canelo sweep stakes would go out the window. My prediction is that Canelo stops Lemieux in the mid to late rounds. Probably with a body shot.

#4 Matchup: Gilberto Ramirez 39-0 (25 KOs)

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Gilberto Ramirez is the current WBO belt-holder. To me, he is the most skilled and the best overall fighter at 168 pounds. If he fought any of the other titleholders at 168, he would win. I’m not saying he would dominate, I’m just saying he would be victorious.

A bout with Gilberto Ramirez would be the toughest for David Lemieux to win against any of the other trinket-wearers at 168. I don’t really think it’s worth going after a guy like Caleb Plant because he isn’t really a champion and shouldn’t even be a belt-holder. No disrespect to Plant, he is a good boxer, and while beating a guy like Jose Uzcategui is credible, it is not worthy of a belt or championship. He still needs to prove more.

Lemieux should attempt to unify and become the sole holder of the 168-pound crown. Whether he can accomplish that is another story, but it’s worth the attempt. My prediction is Ramirez wins by UD, though I have not seen Ramirez fight a guy with David’s heavy hands yet. It would be interesting to see if he can take the punch. This fight might need to take place after one or two fights for Lemieux to get acclimated into the division and see where he stands. That would probably be the best route to go. This bout could possibly even take place at a later time, considering Ramirez may move up to 175. I think Lemieux will also, eventually. For now though this is a good matchup whenever it can take place.

#5 Matchup: Sergey Kovalev 33-3-1 (28 KOs)

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I know you are probably thinking, too big of a step too soon, right? Well that’s good. I’m glad I’ve got you on your toes. This would be a big risk for reward bout for David Lemieux. This could be a perfect opportunity for David Lemieux to go after the top dog in the light heavyweight division. Yes, that also means I still think Kovalev is the number one guy at 175.

Say what you will for a debate, but he has by far best resume at of any of the “belt”-holders at 175. Losing twice to Andre Ward (one being a questionable loss). Then losing to Eleider Alvarez in their first fight, yet regaining that top spot from Alvarez after dominating Eleider Alvarez in the second fight. Yes, I said dominate. He completely outboxed Alvarez in nearly every round. It was a great comeback performance Sergey.

The reason I put this as a great opportunity matchup for David Lemieux, is if Lemieux believes that the super middleweight division is nearly as useless as most boxing enthusiasts do, he can completely skip that weight class and go all-in for the light heavyweight division. He is big enough to do so and could be comfortable at the weight right away.

Although Sergey Kovalev outclassed Eleider Alvarez, he still showed signs of aging to me. He boxed beautifully but still got caught on occasion. I really like Sergey Kovalev as a fighter. He is a top-class operator. Buddy McGirt deserves a lot of credit also for getting Kovalev to box the way he did. Alvarez was setting up for the straight right every time, which is why he lost. He relied too much on the hope that the knockout would happen the same way it did in the first go-around. It didn’t happen that way, but he still caught Kovalev with a couple shots. When I watched the fight though, Kovalev’s legs looked a little weak to me. Maybe it is just my eyes deceiving me, but I’m not quite that old yet. Alvarez just didn’t throw enough to take advantage of it. If Kovalev can get hurt by Alvarez, he certainly can get hurt against Lemieux. Weight difference or not, David Lemieux hits harder than Eleider Alvarez. Kovalev will probably be able to outbox Lemieux, especially early. If he can take Lemieux’s punch, then you might as well chalk that up as a win for Kovalev. Kovalev is still there to be hit though. He boxes well, but doesn’t move around the ring like Billy Joe Saunders did against David.

This would be a “punchers paradise”. These fighters have 62 combined knockouts in 73 combined victories. That is an insane KO percentage. David Lemieux has been stopped in 2 of 4 his losses. Sergey Kovalev has been stopped 2 out of 3 of his losses. The theme of this could be “To Knockout or to Get Knocked Out, That is the Question?”. That is bloody Shakespearian.

Go watch some film on both of these knockout artists and you will see my reasoning. My prediction is David Lemieux ends Kovalev’s career with a devastating knockout early to mid-rounds after Kovalev out boxes him for a little while. I think Lemieux might get lucky enough with a shot and nighty night. It is hard to say that considering Kovalev can crack Lemieux’s skull also. I just think he would try and box like he did against Alvarez and do great until a punch lands big. Please make this happen, so I can possibly be proven wrong. I wouldn’t mind to see either one of them win by KO. It’s a win-win for the fight fans.

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