Money Woes Reportedly Not The Reason Lemieux Won’t Be Facing Stevens
By: Sean Crose
Many in the boxing community have been frustrated with reports that came out this weekend claiming middleweight David Lemieux would not be facing Curtis Stevens because HBO’s budget couldn’t support such a matchup. Stevens himself appeared particularly perturbed, via his Twitter page. “Money wasn’t even spoken about,” he Tweeted. Yet Camille Estephan, the president of Eye of the Tiger management, which represents Lemiex, offered another take entirely. “It would be erroneous to say that HBO could not afford to pay the fighters,” Estephan claimed via email.
Indeed, Estephan, who responded to a query from Boxing Insider quickly, went on to provide more details. “It was really more a matter of timing,” he stated, “as Lemieux who was supposed to initially fight at the end of September had to be operated on his right knee which delayed his capacity to fight.” All of this, Estephan went on, led to problems related more to the calendar than to finances. “The October 22nd date was the only date available at the Bell center,” Estephan went on. “So essentially it was a matter of timing.”
And, sure enough Lemiuex will be facing Cristian Rios on the 22nd of October, at the Bell Center in Montreal, Lemieux’s stomping grounds, and a contemporary boxing hotbed. The 35-3 Lemiuex will be fighting for the second time this year. Last autumn the Canadian slugger met and was stopped by middleweight terror Gennady Golovkin in a New York City based pay per view event. Although Argentina’s Rios isn’t well known at 21-7-3, he apparently is able to face Lemiuex at the designated time and place.
Having said that, many were hoping to see Lemieux face the exciting Stevens, who himself was stopped by GGG a few years back. Both Stevens and Lemieux are world class tough guys, after all, and few believed a bout between the two would ever be a snooze fest – and for good reason. Needless to say, both men want to make themselves be heard at middleweight once again. What’s more, both Lemieux and Stevens are held in high regard by fans, as neither one was afraid to face Golovkin, a man who many feel is currently being avoided by some of the middleweight division’s top players.
As for HBO, it has been far from a banner year for its boxing programming. Reputed budged cuts have been blamed for its recent slump, with some even feeling the network has lost interest in boxing altogether. With that in mind, HBO will be airing a major card in just a few days featuring Golovkin and Kell Brook battling for the middleweight title. Time, as always, will tell the tale as to where HBOs relationship with the sweet science will ultimately go.