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David Lemieux vs. Cristian Fabian Rios – Official weights

David Lemieux

By Dan Ambrose: David Lemieux successfully weighed in at 163 ¾ pounds on Friday for his 10 round fight on Saturday night against Cristian Fabian Rios at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada. Rios (21-7-3, 6 KOs) weighed in at 163 ¾ pounds. This is an important fight for the 27-year-old former IBF middleweight champion Lemieux, because he’s in the running for a big payday fight against fellow Golden Boy promotions star Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in early 2017.

As we’ve seen in the past, Lemieux isn’t one of those types of fighters that can be counted on to win each time he fights. His losses to Marco Antonio Rubio and Joachim Alcine showed that he doesn’t have the stamina or the talent to get by the fringe level guys 100 percent of the tine. Lemieux will win most of the time, but he gets beaten at other times.

Rios only has a 19% knockout ratio on his record. You think it’s an accident that a guy with a low KO percentage was picked for Lemieux? No way. Lemieux’s promoters know what they’re doing, and they’re not going to take any chances by putting him in with a guy that can punch. There’s too much money out there for Lemieux if he beats Rios and moves forward to get a fight against Canelo on HBO pay-per-view on Cinco de Mayo in May 2017.

Golden Boy Promotions president Eric Gomez said that Lemieux has a chance to fight either WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders or Canelo Alvarez. However, with the news that the World Boxing Organization has ordered Saunders to face back to back mandatory challengers due to his inactivity since winning his WBO middleweight title last year, it removes Lemieux from the running for a title shot against him, because he’s ranked only #4 by the WBO.

Unless the WBO adjusts Lemieux’s rankings, he’s not going to be getting a title shot against him in early 2017. It’s thought that the WBO will push Canelo to No.1 in their rankings so that a fight between two fighters can happen in early next year.

Lemieux will be looking to get his second straight victory on Saturday night against the 33-year-old Rios. Lemieux was stopped in the 8th round last year in October 2015 by middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin. Lemieux was hopelessly over-matched against the hard hitting Triple G in that fight, and it wasn’t much of a fight.

In Lemieux’s last fight, he defeated junior middleweight Glen Tapia in the 4th round last May at the T-Mobile Centre in Las Vegas, Nevada. It was a good effort from Lemieux, but it was also a situation where he was fighting a rusty guy who hadn’t fought in an entire year in Tapia. Lemieux’s opponent for Saturday night, Cristian Rios, at least has been active in 2016.

“We’re looking for him to fight in the first quarter of next year and one of the possibilities is to have him fight Saunders,” Eric Gomez said to about Lemieux vs. Saunders. “It would be a very good fight. So we’ll see what happens, how he comes out. Another possibility is him fighting Canelo when Canelo finally moves up to 160.”

It sounds like Golden Boy isn’t too excited about putting Lemieux in with Canelo. You can understand why. If you saw how Canelo was backed up against the ropes repeatedly by WBO junior middleweight champion Liam Smith last September, it’s pretty clear that a fighter with the kind of power that Lemieux possesses would be a real threat to him.

Lemieux could derail the Canelo money train with a single left hook to the head or body, and that wouldn’t be good for Golden Boy. Lemieux may have flaws in his game that makes him beatable, but he’s still a lethal puncher capable of knocking out anyone in the division. That’s why Golovkin was so careful with Lemieux last October. If you watch that fight, you’ll notice Golovkin used his jab much of the time for the first seven rounds. It wasn’t until the 8th round where Golovkin started to unload on Lemieux consistently with power shots. Golovkin was then able to get Lemieux out of there.

Christian Fabian Rios doesn’t have much of a chance in this fight. Rios was recently beaten by #2 WBO Tommy Langford by a 10 round unanimous decision last year in October. Langford beat Rios with easy in winning by the scores 100-91, 100-90 and 100-90. In other words, Langford won every round of the fight. Rios didn’t have to worry about Langford’s punching power in that fight because he’s not a puncher in any way.

The best thing that Rios has going for him is his chin. He can take a good shot without getting knocked out. Whether he can take Lemieux’s shots is another thing altogether. Rios hasn’t had to face anyone with Lemieux’s kind of power. Lemieux also throws a lot of body shots. Even if Rios can take his punches to the head, he probably won’t be able to handle getting hit with his punches to the body for the full 10 rounds, because he’s too powerful.

Lemieux has one more fight coming to him on HBO, and he’s expected to get that fight out of the way if it’s a good enough opponent for the network to green light the fight. HBO isn’t going to let Lemieux fight an obscure fighter like Rios on their network. It’s going to have to be someone well known and preferably someone that the boxing public will want to see. Canelo would be perfect, but Golden Boy might not want to take the risk of letting Lemieux get a shot at destroying their gravy train.

Lemieux has the power to beat anyone in the division if he lands cleanly. Golden Boy doesn’t have a replacement for Canelo in terms of another PPV attraction. That’s why they might not be so eager to let Lemieux get a chance of fighting him. Look at it like this; even Canelo stops Lemieux, he’s going to have to take a certain amount of punishment in the process, because he doesn’t have the same kinds of boxing skills that Golovkin possesses. Canelo won’t be able to shut Lemieux out the way that Golovkin did.

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