by: Sean Crose
“Lemieux is back!” middleweight David Lemieux said on a Wednesday conference call.”
“You’ll be on your back,” clipped Gary ‘Spike’ “O’Sullivan, his opponent on the September 15th Canelo-GGG undercard at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
It was that kind of conference call. Both men are exciting fighters, and both men arguably need to win on the 15th if they’re to be taken seriously as middleweight contenders. I asked each fighter if he was focused on the future or on the task at hand. The answers said a lot about each man’s mindset. While Lemieux expressed confidence, O’Sullivan moved in and made matters personal.
“Nothing personal for Mr. Lemieux” he said, “but I think this is going to be a big night for me…I have my mind on the bigger picture.” That big picture, of course, involves the winner of the Canelo-GGG rematch. When asked which man he preferred to fight in the future, O’Sullivan looked to be an equal opportunity opponent. “I have no preference,” he claimed. “They’re both great fighters.” Lemieux, on the other hand, was more discerning. “I want to fight Canelo first,” he claimed, “then I want revenge against GGG.”
Although both men are known to be entertaining in the ring, Wednesday’s call signified a difference in personalities. Where Lemieux clearly preferred to focus on himself and on his own career development, O’Sullivan engaged in the age old tactic of trying to get in his opponent’s head.
“He got destroyed,” O’ Sullivan said, referring to one of Lemieux’s defeats. “He’s going to get destroyed.” The man also pointed out that: “I’ve never been on the canvas in my career…he’s been down several times.” O’Sullivan furthermore stated that “Lemieux’s going to be easier than (Antoine) Douglas.” Tough words, but Lemieux had some choice words of his own.
“Whenever the opposition got tough,” he said of O’Sullivan’s two defeats, “he lost.” When O’Sullivan quipped that he had never been on the mat in his career, Lemieux quickly responded that “there’s a first time for everything.”
“Don’t worry,” he said to his opponent at one point, “I’m going to beat your ass…keep training hard in the gym, you’re going to need it.” O’Sullivan claimed that Lemieux is “there to be hit.” He also added that “I hit hard.”
“The talk is done” said Lemieux at one point. “”Let’s just walk the walk.” The winner may indeed get a crack at the winner of the main event on the 15th. It’s possible the winner may also get a second chance against Billy Joe Saunders, the titlist whose defeated both men,at some point. Although some consider neither Lemieux or O’Sullivan as great fighters, their bout is being viewed as potentially thrilling showdown between two talented, game fighters.