Canelo vs. Lemieux possible for December
By Mike Smith: Golden Boy Promotions president Eric Gomez will be meeting with Saul Canelo Alvarez this week to check on his cut right eye and gauge his interest in returning to the ring to defend his WBA/WBC middleweight titles against Word Boxing Association mandatory David Lemieux. Canelo (50-1-2, 34 KOs) suffered a cut last Saturday in the process of beating Gennady Golovkin (38-1-1, 34 KOs) by a 12 round majority decision.
Canelo previously held the WBC middleweight title from 2015 to 2016, but he gave up the belt after the WBC ordered him to defend it against Golovkin. Canelo isn’t expected to show disinterest in fighting Lemieux (40-4, 34 KOs), who looked good in stopping Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan in the 1st round last Saturday night in their WBA 160lb title eliminator on the Canelo vs. Gennady2 card.
Told by @Canelo promoter @makeawar that he’ll meet with fighter this week to assess the cut over eye and his desire to fight again Dec. 15 with @lemieuxboxing the prohibitive favorite as the opponent.
— Lance Pugmire (@latimespugmire) September 17, 2018
On paper, this should be an easy fight for Canelo against the slower Lemieux, who has issues with counter punchers. Lemieux has problems against fighters with excellent hand speed and mobility. Canelo is likely going to make Lemieux look bad unless he can catch him with one of his big left hook shots. There’s always a possibility that Canelo will be partially depleted from all the punishment he took in his rematch with GGG last Saturday. Lemieux has better hand speed and overall punching power than Golovkin. Assuming that Lemieux can last more than four rounds, he could be a big problem for Canelo if the Mexican fighter wears down in the second half of the fight.
Lemieux is still dangerous even late in his fights. His power is still there. If Canelo gasses out against Lemieux in the later rounds, he’s going to get hit a lot and he might not hold up under that kind of power. Canelo doesn’t have the same kind of jab as Golovkin and Billy Joe Saunders. Those guys were able to hold Lemieux off by using their reach to jab him. Canelo’s reach is about the same as the 5’9” Lemieux’s, and he’s a little bit shorter than him at 5’8”. It’s bad timing for Canelo to fight Lemieux, as he’s coming off of a tough fight against GGG. Canelo was hurt twice in the later rounds by Golovkin. Even though Canelo recovered both times, it’s not good that he was hurt by GGG’s shots. Lemieux has the kind of power that would hurt Canelo badly if he connects with the same left hook that he used to KO Curtis Stevens and Gary O’Sullivan. Those guys are fighters that take a pretty good shot, but they weren’t able to hold up against Lemieux’s power.
Canelo’s cut over his eye is a bad one. It’s going to make it tough for Canelo to get back in the ring soon enough for him to fight in December. If Canelo is going to fight Lemieux in December, he’ll need to start training for that fight in October, and that’s probably not enough time for the cut to heal for him to spar.
Some boxing fans won’t like the idea of Canelo fighting Lemieux, as his fairly recent losses to Golovkin and Saunders are still very much fresh in their minds. Like many fighters, Canelo mixes in a lot of easy fights in between his tougher ones. Before Canelo’s two fights with Golovkin, he’d had relatively soft fights against Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Amir Khan, and Liam Smith. Canelo’s last hard fight before facing GGG in 2017 was against Miguel Cotto in 2015. Before Canelo’s fight with Cotto, he fought James Kirkland, a fighter who hadn’t fought in a year and a half and was a shell of the fighter he’d been during his best years of his career.
Lemieux has won six out of his last seven fights. His wins have come against B-level opposition in O’Sullivan, Karim Achour, Marcos Reyes, Curtis Stevens, Cristian Fabian Rios and Glen Tapia. Lemieux’s punching power makes him an exciting fighter to watch when he’s matched against the right type of opponent. It’s when Lemieux steps up against elite level fighters are when he has problems. In some cases, it doesn’t take elite fighters to beat Lemieux. He’s lost in the past to Joachim Alcine and Marco Antonio Rubio. Those were both fringe level contenders seven years ago when Lemieux lost to them.
Canelo would be showing bravery to get back in the ring to face Lemieux in December after the punishment he took against Golovkin. It’s possible that Canelo and Golden Boy Promotions will decide on sitting idle until May of 2019 for their next fight. However, Canelo was out of the ring for 12 months before facing Golovkin last weekend, and he wanted to get a second fight in 2018 rather than fighting just once this year. Canelo doesn’t like to miss dates. It’s obviously not helpful for his popularity to fight once a year, especially with all the bad press from his two positive tests for clenbuterol.
Canelo is expected to steer around Billy Joe Saunders, Jermall Charlo and the winner of the Daniel Jacobs vs. Sergiy Derevyanchenko. Canelo has an excuse for why he doesn’t need to fight the Jacobs-Derevyanchenko and Saunders vs. Demetrius Andrade winners, as those fights is taking place in October. Charlo, however, doesn’t have a fight scheduled and he’s now Canelo’s World Boxing Council mandatory challenger. Canelo inherited Golovkin’s problem of having to deal with the dangerous Charlo as his WBC mandatory. Now it’s Canelo’s responsibility to deal with Charlo or vacate his WBC title to avoid him, which is what many boxing fans expect him to do. Whatever the case, Canelo isn’t going to agree to fight Charlo in December. That much is obvious. If Canelo is going to fight anyone, it’ll be Lemieux, who arguably hits harder than Charlo, but he lacks his hand speed, reach, height and athleticism. Charlo is someone that maybe frozen out by Canelo and avoided permanently.