By Dan Ambrose: Matchroom Sport promoter Eddie Hearn says Golden Boy Promotions are interested in adding a middleweight contest between former IBF 160 lb. champion David Lemieux (38-4, 33 KOs) and Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan (27-2, 19 KOs) for the undercard of Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez vs. Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin 2 card on May 5th on HBO pay-per-view.
The idea behind Lemieux-O’Sullivan being added to the Canelo-GGG card is to get a potential opponent for the 27-year-old Canelo to face this September on HBO. Canelo needs an opponent for the Mexican Independence Day holiday weekend in September, and having the winner of the Lemieux vs. O’Sullivan as his opponent would be ideal. If Canelo beats Golovkin in their rematch on May 5th, then he’ll hold the IBF, IBO, WBA and WBC titles. Canelo would then make a defense against the winner of the May 5th fight between Lemieux and O’Sullivan.
Golden Boy Promotions hasn’t announced the Lemieux vs. O’Sullivan fight for May 5th as of yet. We’ll have to see if they can make that fight. It’s a risky match for Lemieux, who cannot afford another loss on his record. Lemieux was embarrassed by Billy Joe Saunders last December in Quebec. Right now, Lemieux needs a big win to raise his status in the boxing world to help increase in a Canelo-Lemieux fight for September.
Obviously, Canelo vs. Lemieux is a much bigger fight than Canelo-O’Sullivan. But if it’s O’Sullivan that emerges as the winner of the Lemieux-O’Sullivan fight, Golden Boy is still likely to use the Irish fighter for Canelo to fight in September. Golden Boy is not going to take a risk with Canelo and put him in with any the dangerous middleweights like Charlo, Jacobs and Derevyanchenko. Those guys might not ever get a fight against Canelo.
Hearn promotes former IBF middleweight champion Danny ‘Miracle’ Man Jacobs, and he was trying to setup a fight between him and the 33-year-old O’Sullivan for April 28th on HBO Boxing at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York. However, Golden Boy Promotions, who has a one fight option on O’Sullivan, weren’t interested in letting him fight Jacobs. They want to save O’Sullivan for Lemieux, who is coming off of a 12 round unanimous decision defeat to WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders on December 16, and is in need of a high profile win to build him back up so they can match him against Canelo this September. Golden Boy reportedly prevented the Jacobs vs. O’Sullivan fight from being made.
”They [Golden Boy] wouldn’t let him [O’Sullivan] because they’ve got plans for him,” Hearn said to IFL TV. “I think they want to line a few Canelo opponents up. They want to put him in with David Lemieux on the May 5th card.”
In this case, Golden Boy wouldn’t be lining up a few opponents for Canelo by matching O’Sullivan against Lemieux on the 5th of May. They’d be liming up 1 opponent for the red-headed Mexican star to potentially fight this September if he gets past Golovkin in May. It’s unknown if Golden Boy would still be interested in matching he Lemieux vs. O’Sullivan winner against Canelo if he loses the rematch to Triple G on May 5th. It might be a needless risk to have Canelo fight the Lemieux-O’Sullivan winner if he’s coming off a knockout or a one-sided points loss to GGG. Never the less, even if Canelo loses to Golovkin, Golden Boy will need to rebuild him, and facing Lemieux or O’Sullivan would be a good way for them to accomplish that task.
Golden Boy probably isn’t going to want to take a risk with Canelo’s career and put him in with the good middleweight contenders like Jermall Charlo, Danny Jacobs or Sergey Derevyanchenko. Even if Canelo beats Golovkin, Golden Boy probably won’t match him against any of those tough fighters. If the sanctioning bodies order Canelo to face Derevyanchenko or Charlo, it’s likely Golden Boy will have him vacate the title like he did with the WBC 160 lb. belt in 2016 after he was ordered by the World Boxing Council to defend against Golovkin, who was the mandatory challenger at the time.
It’s understandable why Golden Boy Promotions wouldn’t want to use O’Sullivan as an opponent for Jacobs to fight on April 28th. That would have been a waste of O’Sullivan. Jacobs isn’t a popular fighter despite having good talent. He doesn’t fight the right guys, and when he does take the tough fights, he fails to win. Jacobs lost to Golovkin last year. In 2010, Jacobs was knocked out by Dmitry Pirog. Those are the only 2 good fighters on Jacobs’ resume. The rest of the opponents are flawed fighters like Peter Quillin, Luis Arias, Sergio Mora and Caleb Truax.
If Golden Boy let O’Sullivan fight Jacobs, he’d likely lose the fight and then that would be it. The interest that O’Sullivan created with his recent knockout wins over Antoine Douglas and Nick Quigley in his last 2 fights would be gone. Golden Boy couldn’t use O’Sullivan for a fight with Lemieux or Canelo after a loss to Jacobs. Besides that, Jacobs-O’Sullivan probably wouldn’t bring in big ratings on HBO anyway. It’s a waste of a fight for Golden Boy and O’Sullivan. It’s a much better deal for O’Sullivan to fight Lemieux to get the chance to possibly face Canelo if things work well for the two fighters. If Canelo wins his fight and O’Sullivan beats Lemieux, then we’re possibly looking at Canelo-O’Sullivan for September.
O’Sullivan has put together 5 straight wins against these fighters: Antoine Douglas, Nick Quigley, Chauncey Fields, Ronald Montes, and Jamie Barboza. O’Sullivan lost to Chris Eubank Jr. by a 7th round stoppage in December 2015. O’Sullivan gassed out after 2 rounds and took a beating. In July 2013, O’Sullivan lost a one-sided 12 round unanimous decision to Billy Joe Saunders. It was the same situation for O’Sullivan as it was in his loss to Eubank Jr. O’Sullivan gassed out quickly and was dominated by Saunders.
With O’Sullivan not an option for Jacobs, Hearn now has scheduled his fighter against unbeaten junior middleweight contender Maciej Sulecki for April 28 on HBO at the Barclays Center. It’s still a good fight for Jacobs, but not quite as interesting as it would have been if O’Sullivan had been his opponent. Sulecki is arguably better fighter than O’Sullivan, but he’s not someone that Hearn can count on Jacobs knocking out. There’s more potential for Jacobs losing to Sulecki than there would have been had O’Sullivan been used. We’re probably not going to see Sulecki running out of gas after 3 or 4 rounds against Jacobs like we would have seen with O’Sullivan.