Only four more sleeps to go for frenzied boxing fans eagerly anticipating what could genuinely be one of the best fights of the year. _________________________________________________________________________________________________ Ahead of this Saturday's middleweight title unification between Gennady Golovkin and David Lemieux at Madison Square Garden in New York, the pair recently sat down for HBO's highly acclaimed Face Off feature, where the two knockout…
Should Lemieux Be Written Off Against GGG?
Genady Gennadyevich Golovkin (or ‘GGG’ as he’s more succinctly referred to) is arguably the most feared boxer on the planet right now.
The GGG/Tyson effect
There have been fighters like this through history. Fighters so devastating that it seems they’re unstoppable, aided by the wave of momentum that consecutive knockouts can bring.
Mike Tyson was one of them, racing off to 37-0 with only a small handful of decisions on the way, preferring to end things early and emphatically. Golovkin is very similar in that respect, but then that should remind us of the old Buster Douglas lesson in boxing folklore. You should never just expect a victory or a walkover. Tyson made those mistakes in weak preparation for the Douglas fight and paid the price for looking past him.
However, you wouldn’t expect the humble Kazakh to do that, such is the respect he offers to everybody. Tyson vs. Douglas is the cautionary tale given to all young boxers who might just be getting ahead of themselves. While the circumstances could seem somewhat similar, it’s hard to equate the two fighters given their differences in demeanour, especially a Tyson of 1990.
GGG a big favourite already
We can quite confidently assume that Golovkin has worked diligently to prepare himself as he would for any encounter and he won’t be expecting to just brush past David Lemieux at Madison Square Garden next month. Though Betfair have him as a comprehensive 1/14 favourite – which is about as thorough as you’re likely to get – he will treat the Canadian with respect.
Lemieux enters with a 34-2 record to Golovkin’s 33-0 and on paper they don’t look too far removed. Lemieux also has a finishing rate to rival’s GGG’s. He has 31 finishes from his 34 victories, and Golovkin 30 from 33. With that kind of power being shown time after time, there’s no way you can discount the heavy hands he brings, which makes his underdog status a little bit more lively.
In previous contests Golovkin has been hit, and hit clean. His chin stands up to the test every time and he rarely looks fazed, although there are not many big hitters out there with the consistency David Lemieux has displayed. The Genady style of coming forward mostly with trust for his own power and indifference for that which his opponent brings could be a potential stumbling block.
So, right off the bat we can rule out the fact that the Canadian has no chance. There’s a puncher’s chance at the very least, which former Golovkin opponent Martin Murray agreed with, before asserting that he still didn’t think he’d make it out of the early rounds.
“I think it’s an easy fight for Golovkin,” Murray noted, after falling victim to a sustained onslaught from him back in February. He gave his opponent a few rounds, not because he thinks so little of him, but because he rates his unbeaten former foe so highly. Where Murray has failed in his attempts to win a world title though, Lemieux has not, and he brings the IBF title with him to the bout.
Cracking fight ensues
This makes it as legitimate a fight as can be made as it stands. There aren’t large queues of middleweights lining up for a shot at Golovkin, and his hints at moving down recently to try and accommodate other big names haven’t been met well either. Fans wanted to see a fight with Floyd Mayweather actually meeting a KO artist in his prime, but Mayweather refused it as if it wasn’t worthwhile, before going on to accept a fighter who is 3-3 in his last 6.
Credit then has to go to Lemieux who is willing and actually sound confident. “I know what it takes to win,” he said in a press conference, refusing to accept the fate many have already bestowed upon him. He won’t arrive as a lamb to the slaughter. In fact, his analogy was much different. “Two pitbulls going for the neck” is how he vividly described it. Stylistically he might be right.
It’s hard to sit here and say you’d be picking Canada’s number-one to usurp arguably the biggest rising star in boxing today. It wouldn’t be fair to simply write Lemieux off as a no-mark with no hope, however. If he fights as he talks then he will at least come forward towards Golovkin in the hope of landing one of his own hard shots first. There’s the chance an upset could happen, though others have tried and all have failed up until this point.
As always, Golovkin was polite and modest, refreshing amongst the armies of boxers who like to talk more than they like to fight. He promises an amazing show, which David Lemieux can help to deliver once the bell rings.