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Still not sold on Lemieux

By Dave Lahr: After watching Canadian middleweight prospect David Lemieux (23-0, 22 KO’s) dispatch 29-year-old Elvin Ayala (20-5-1, 9 KO’s) in the 1st round on Friday night, I’m still not buying into the Lemieux hype for one second. I know he’s pretty popular in Canada right now a lot of people are saying he’s a future champion but I don’t see that happening unless it’s for one of the little known titles the one Lemieux won on Friday night. He did his job of getting Ayala out of there, and I give Lemieux full credit for ending the fight so quickly.

Lemieux did knock Ayala down a few times, but he had the perfect opponent in front of him with Ayala because he fought Lemieux’s fight by electing to brawl with the Canadian instead of choosing to box him from the outside like most skilled fighters would have done. Lemieux can punch a little, although not as hard as his record would have believe. But you don’t fight guy like that on his terms.

Lemieux, 21, is listed as 5’10”, but he looks a lot closer to 5’8″, which pretty short for a middleweight. If you look at Lemieux’s arms, you’ll notice that they’re very short and that makes it hard for him to do any real punching when his opponents are standing on the outside. In fact, Lemieux is virtually helpless when his opponents stay out of range. He’s been fortunate that all of the fodder that has been served up to him Canada haven’t even tried to jab and box him from the outside.

Instead, they’ve all marched straight in and let Lemieux fight on the inside against them. This is how Lemieux has to fight all of his opponents, because he doesn’t have the height or the arm length to fight on the outside. Ayala made a huge mistake of not using his longer reach to jab Lemieux silly from a distance. He let Lemieux inside every time to set up shop and throw his big hooks to the body and head.

By letting Lemieux in close, Ayala gave the fight away because he gave up his own height and tried to beat the shorter Lemieux by slugging with him in close proximity. Lemieux reminds me of a slightly taller version of Ricky Hatton, but with a little more power. Lemieux has faced exclusively 2nd tier opposition, including his fight last night against Ayala.

I think he’s going to have major problems once they put him in with a fighter that has enough sense not to let the short fighter in close. I can only imagine how badly WBC middleweight champion Sergio Martinez and WBA title holder Felix Sturm would out-box Lemieux. I don’t know how much improving Lemieux can do as he ages. I think he’s about as good as he’ll ever be. Unless he starts adding two to four inches in height and five to six inches in reach, I think Lemieux is going to have huge problems when they finally put him in with a fighter with a pulse someday.

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