By Dan Ambrose: A week after failing to make weight for his 163lb catch-weight fight against James De Lara Rosa, former IBF middleweight champion David Lemieux (34-3, 31 KOs) has been added to the May 7 fight card headlined by WBC middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (46-1-1, 32 KOs) vs. Amir “King” Khan (31-3, 19 KOs).
Lemieux, 27, will be fighting the struggling junior middleweight Glen Tapia (23-2, 15 KOs), who is coming off of a 4th round knockout loss to Michel Soro last May. Tapia, 26, has not fought since then. The Lemieux vs. Tapia fight will be televised on HBO pay-per-view, along with the Canelo-Khan fight, at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Some boxing fans believe that Lemieux intentionally failed to make weight for his fight against De La Rosa so that he get out of the fight and instead fight on the Canelo-Khan card on May 7. The fans think Lemieux chose to get out of the De La Rosa fight in order to avoid a potential injury that would get in the way of him fighting on the highly visible Canelo vs. Khan card.
It’s impossible to believe that Lemieux would purposely choose not to make weight for the De La Rosa fight because it was such a winnable one for him. He likely would have made easy work of De La Rosa in one or two rounds at the most.
Tapia isn’t a middleweight, and he’s not been doing that great in the last three years. Tapia was knocked out in six rounds by James Kirkland in 2013. Tapia then won three consecutive fights in beating Keenan Collins, Donatas Bondorovas and Daniel Dawson.
Things were looking good for Tapia until he was matched tough against Soros, and he fell apart easily in getting stopped in the 4th. Now it looks like Tapia is heading towards journeyman level status. If he loses to the much heavier Lemieux, which would seem likely, his career will be in really bad shape.
Tapia is the junior middleweight division’s version of Lemieux. The two of them are very similar fighters in terms of fighting style and talent. Lemieux just hasn’t faced enough good opponents yet for his career to be where Tapia’s is at right now.
Lemieux is the A-side in this fight, and he’s expected to win. However, he’s so flawed that even a fighter like Tapia has to be seen as a serious threat to beating him. If Tapia can weather an early storm of punches and still be around by the 8th, he could very well take Lemieux out of there.
We saw Marco Antonio Rubio do just that in his fight with Lemieux in 2011. Joachim Alcine beat Lemieux as well in 2011 after making it through the first six rounds, and then taking charge of the fight in the second half of the contest after Lemieux ran out of gas.
Tapia will be coming up in weight for the Lemieux fight, so there’s a possibility that he’ll have more strength and won’t get blasted out like he was against Soro and Kirkland. It remains to be seen whether that will happen.
Lemieux is coming off an 8th round stoppage loss to WBA middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin last October in their fight on HBO PPV. Lemieux didn’t really take that much punishment against Golovkin. The body shots that Golovkin landed gave Lemieux all the problems. He could not handle Golovkin’s hard punches to the body.
Tapia is a good body puncher as well, and he’s likely going to be focusing his shots to the body of Lemieux in hopes that he can repeat what Golovkin. It might not be as easy for Tapia though, because he’ll likely get hit a lot if he tries to fire shots to Lemieux’s body. Golovkin was smart to use his jab through most of the rounds against Lemieux. It was only in a couple of the rounds were Golovkin connected with his body shots that hurt Lemieux.
If Lemieux loses to Tapia, then Golden Boy is going to need to make the move of putting Lemieux in with Canelo Alvarez as soon as possible while there’s still some interest in Lemieux’s career. If Golden Boy waits too long to make the fight, then the boxing public will have zero interest in seeing those two fighters matched up with one another. right now, it would be a perfect time for Canelo and Lemieux to fight each other if Lemieux wins his fight against Tapia and Canelo beats Khan.