By Jake Donovan
David Lemieux has been linked for at least two years as a potential future opponent for reigning World middleweight champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez. The pairing makes sense since they both fight under Golden Boy Promotions and compete in the middleweight division.
For the fourth time in that span, they will now also share the same fight card.
Whether or not Lemieux eventually lands a long-craved shot—and lucrative payday—at the biggest draw in North America remains to be seen. For now, the former middleweight titlist gets to remain active while on the hunt, as he will return to the ring on December 15 at Madison Square Garden in New York City in news first reported by TVA Sports in Canada.
Photo Credit: David Lemieux Twitter Account
His bout—the third of 2018 and likely versus fellow Golden Boy middleweight Tureano Johnson (20-2, 10KOs)—will serve as the chief support to Alvarez’ challenge of secondary super middleweight titlist Rocky Fielding in the main event. Both bouts will come as part of what is shaping up to be a loaded show to air live on sports streaming service DAZN-USA.
Lemieux’s manager, Camille Estephan confirmed to BoxingInsider.com his placement—along with another client, rising super lightweight contender Yves Ulysse Jr.—on the MSG show, although stopping well short of mentioning their opponents. Both slots are expected to be announced in a press conference due to take place later next week in Montreal.
Johnson—who represented his native Bahamas in the 2008 Beijing Olympics—has not fought since Aug. ’17, suffering a 12th round stoppage to then-unbeaten contender Sergiy Derevyanchenko in their title eliminator. While his name comes as a surprise for a fight of this caliber given his inactivity, Lemieux’s involvement on the show was fully expected.
From the moment it was officially announced that Alvarez would make his NYC debut, it was strongly suggested that Canada’s Lemieux (40-4, 34KOs) would grace the undercard.
Both appeared on the same September 15 show at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. Alvarez outpointed Gennady Golovkin in their rematch to reestablish his spot atop the middleweight division. More than an hour in real time separated Alvarez’ ring walk and Lemieux’s place in the evening’s final preliminary bout, needing less than a round to blow out his contentious rival Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan.
Lemieux’s other two appearances on Alvarez undercards also came at T-Mobile Arena, scoring a 10-round decision over Marcos Reyes last May (Alvarez outpointed Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in the main event) and knocking out Glen Tapia in four rounds exactly 52 weeks prior (Alvarez knocked out Amir Khan in six rounds).
The win over Tapia was his first fight as an ex-titlist, having ended his reign in an 8th round knockout loss to Golovkin in Oct. ’15. That bout represented his lone other appearance at Madison Square Garden, having fought in New York just one other time when he stopped Gabriel Rosado in the 10th round of their Dec. ’14 battle at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY.
Overall, Lemieux—who will turn 30 one week after the December 15 show—is 6-1 in his post-title reign. The lone loss came at the hands of Billy Joe Saunders in their title fight last December in Laval, Canada. That bout aired live on HBO, as did a March ’17 knockout win over Curtis Stevens, with his fights versus Golovkin, Reyes, Tapia and O’Sullivan all taking place on HBO PPV.
His forthcoming return to New York City will mark his debut on DAZN-USA, which launched in the United States in September. The streaming service made considerable headlines in October when announcing a record-breaking contract with Alvarez and long-term agreement for Golden Boy Promotions to showcase its entire stable on the platform.
The alignment puts Lemieux in perhaps the most favorable position of his career—including his brief title reign.
Lemieux is just 1-2 overall in title fights, the victory coming in a 12-round decision win over Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam in their June ’15 vacant title fight. His regin was short-lived, conceding the belt to Golovkin just four months later and then coming up miserably short versus then-titlist Saunders one year ago.
Still, his alliance with Golden Boy Promotions and DAZN opens the doors for plenty of future opportunities.
Alvarez and recently crowned middleweight titlist Demetrius Andrade (promoted by Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing USA outlet) both fight under the DAZN banner, which is soon expected to welcome another new 160-pound beltholder in Daniel Jacobs. RingTV.com senior writer Mike Coppinger reported earlier this week that Golovkin’s promoter, Tom Loeffler is in advanced talks with the platform to bring aboard the middleweight superstar.
Visions of trekking toward the top of the middleweight division begin with the outcome of his December 15 date in New York City.
Lemieux’s addition beefs up a card that is already taking shape on paper. The balance of the undercard remains largely rumor-based and sans opponents, but so far suggested to ply their trade in chief support are 130-pound titlist Tevin Farmer and 2012 Olympic Gold medalist and reigning lightweight champ Katie Taylor, both of whom appeared on the same October 20 show in Boston and emerged victorious in separate one-sided contests.
In the main event, both Mexico’s Alvarez (50-1-2, 34KOs) and England’s Fielding (27-1, 15KOs) fight in New York City for the first time in their respective careers.
Alvarez fights north of the 160-pound limit for just the second time in his career. The lone other occasion was his shutout of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in their May ’17 catchweight clash.
Fielding attempts the first defense of a secondary title he wrested from Tyron Zeuge in an upset 5th round knockout win this past July in Germany. The feat marked the sixth straight win for the 31-year old following his lone loss, a Nov. ’15 1st round knockout loss to Callum Smith who recently won the World Boxing Super Series super middleweight tournament.
The forthcoming defense versus Alvarez also marks Fielding’s U.S. debut and just second consecutive—and overall—pro fight outside of jolly old England.