“We want big fights for David, we want to fight the best out there” - Lemieux promoter Camille Estephan
By Bill Tibbs
Boxing, like most sports and entertainment, is shut down while the world resets itself in the wake of this recent virus scare. However, when boxing does get going again, one of the sport’s most exciting fighters will be anxious to get back in the ring.
Super middleweight power puncher David Lemieux has one thing on his mind - a shot at Mexican star Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. Or, if he can’t secure that fight, bring on the next best fighter available. Lemieux, always training hard in his home province of Quebec, Canada, is anxious to get back to work.
Canada’s David Lemieux, a former world champion at 160-pounds, has his sights set on another word title in the 168-pound, super middleweight division. Long considered one of boxing’s most exciting fighters, Lemieux has had an outstanding, 13-year, 45-fight (41-4, 34 KO’s) career that has seen him beat some of the boxing’s best, challenge fellow champions, and win a world title - picking up the IBF world middleweight title in 2015.
Lemieux turned pro in 2007, at age 18, and it was apparent very early that he was a devastating puncher. By 2010, Lemieux had banked 25 straight wins with 24 of them via KO. He was then happy to put a frustrating 2011 behind him as he dropped 2 straight that year in back-to-back fights, to future world title challenger Marco Antonio Rubio and former world champion Joachim Alcine.
However, 2 years and 8 wins later, Lemieux would capture the IBF world middleweight title in June of 2015. He would then lose the title in his next fight in a unification clash with (then P4P recognized star) Gennady Golovkin. After 4 straight wins, he would again lose in a title shot to Billy Joe Saunders in December of 2017. Since that fight, Lemieux has banked 3 more wins, healed up from some injuries that have plagued him in the past and found a better weight for his age and frame. And, it looks like the best may be yet to come as he might just be entering the prime of his career.
With a resume that includes highlight reel stoppage wins over the likes of Gabe Rosado, Glen Tapia, Curtis Stevens and Gary O’Sullivan, to name but a few, Lemieux is red-hot and wants to show the world he is ready to challenge for another world title.
Maxboxing recently caught up with Lemieux co-promoter, and Montreal’s ‘Eye of the Tiger Management’ owner Camille Estephan, to get his thoughts on Lemieux’s career and what is next for the exciting, Montreal, Canada-based boxer.
Bill Tibbs: Hi Camille, thanks for taking a minute to chat.
Camille Estephan: No problem Bill, happy to do it.
BT: How long have you been working with David Now?
CE: Let me see, it’s been a while. What? About 8 years now. I co-promote him with Golden Boy Promotions.
BT: I think sometimes people forget that David turned pro as a teenager and he’s only 31 now. He has accomplished a lot in his career; some huge wins, some huge fights, a world title. But, in reality, he may be peaking right now.
CE: Exactly Bill, I think he really is. He’s been in some very big fights. In the Golovkin fight he got hit with a strange punch that threw him off and he could have stayed down and tried to get a DQ or say he couldn’t continue but that isn’t David. In his other biggest fight, he was in with Saunders who wouldn’t trade with him. But, fair enough, he ran, and won, but he found a way that worked for him and he won fair and square. It was a boring fight, but he won. I think right now he is feeling good and has taken care of some injuries that really saw him fighting at about 60-70% of his real potential. I think this weight that he is at now, 168, is great for him.
BT: Weight really has been a struggle at times for him hasn’t it? He seems very strong at 160-pounds, but he really has trouble getting there now. How does he feel at 168?
CE: Oh my goodness, Bill, you have no idea what making 160 did to him at times. Making 160 for the Golovkin fight, he really didn’t recover until about 4 days after. Now at 168, he makes the weight better; in fact I think he came in at about 166 or so last time if I recall? He feels good at the weight and he has made some real changes in his nutrition plan that has made a huge difference. He’s always been a little bit caught between the weights, that is just how his body is. He has a lot of muscle; he is very strong. So, even though he wouldn’t be described as a big middleweight he has trouble getting to 160. Making 168 is much better for him and he feels very strong at the weight.
BT: He was off for a while (15-months) dealing with injuries after drilling Gary O’Sullivan in September of 2018. He recently came back to get a split decision over former world title challenger Maksym Bursak. How do you think he looked in that fight?
CE: The biggest thing was the ring rust. You could see his timing was off, his distance was off, the time away was evident. It took him 5 rounds to really get into the fight and then he had to really play catch-up over the last 5 rounds to get the win. But, you know what? That guy, Bursak, came to win and he wasn’t an easy fight. It was a good win, but a tough win, after the long layoff.
BT: You get in there with those tough guys with world class experience and power punching alone won’t do it. However, I think people, at times, underestimate David’s boxing ability. Everyone is just looking for the huge, fight-ending, KO punch and they don’t notice what a good boxer he really is. I think he is under-rated as a boxer. Yes, he obviously has huge power, but he can box very well.
CE: I agree Bill, I think he is very under-rated as a boxer. He cuts off the ring better than anyone, he is a very good finisher if he gets you hurt, he has a good jab; he is more than a power puncher, he is a very good boxer as well. At times, I think David was trying so hard to please the fans and was just looking for the big KO punch to get the exciting win and he didn’t focus as much as he could have on his boxing. But he is really boxing very well now, along with his power.
BT: People do love a good KO - and he can really bang.
CE: Bill, when David fights there is excitement. He brings people an exciting fight and they want to see him fight. You never know what will happen when he fights because he can change a fight with one punch; people like excitement and David brings excitement.
BT: When boxing gets up and running again, I am sure David will be anxious to get back in the ring.
CE: Yes, we are going to look for some fights with guys with lots of experience who can go rounds and that is what David needs. We need to shake off all that ring rust and get some opponents who will be a good test and David can work at getting some rounds in. The key is he needs some work, he needs some rounds to shake off any rust.
BT: How many times would you like to see David fight this year, (if possible), and who are you looking for?
CE: We’d like to see David fight 4 times this year. Who we are really looking at is Canelo Alvarez. I think the that is the fight we’d like to see.
BT: I wonder sometimes if you have scared off some opponents as they see him KO guys and then they start to look elsewhere.
CE: You know what? I actually think that is the case sometimes. They see his power and they think, ‘we don’t need that’.
BT: Do you think you’ll get Canelo? And if not, who else are you looking at?
CE: I hope we get him at some point. I think the fans will demand it. David is an exciting fighter and they want to see a guy like Alvarez in with an exciting fighter like David. That was the plan to get a shot at Canelo. We want to see if he can take David’s power. But we will have to see what they (Golden Boy) are doing with him. If not Canelo, then we will look for any other champions. We want big fights for David, we want to fight the best out there.
BT: Thanks for the chat Camille and best of luck moving forward; looking forward to seeing David back in the ring.
CE: No problem Bill, happy to chat anytime.