Media Conf Call Transcript: David Lemieux vs Spike O’Sullivan
ERIC GOMEZ: This fight will be part of the televised Pay-Per-View, as you know, for Canelo-Golovkin II and we are very excited about this fight. The former IBF middleweight championship Lemieux out of Montreal, he’s going to be fighting against the Irish Warrior, Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan, tremendous record, 28-2, 20 knockouts, from Cork, Ireland. This special fight will be live at the T-Mobile Arena on September 15, part of the undercard on the HBO Pay-Per-View where the main event will be Canelo-Golovkin.
This epic event will be produced by HBO beginning at 8:00 PM ET, 5:00 PT. We are excited to bring you both of these fighters, so you guys can ask them questions and you can talk about their fight.
As many of you know, they have gone back and forth a little bit on social media. Also, on the card, not on the call today, is the Mexican rising star Jamie Munguia defending his title against Brandon Cook, and Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez will also be fighting against Moises “Moi” Fuentes on the card.
You can still purchase tickets at the T-Mobile Arena. You can go online at WWW.T-Mobile Arena.com or WWW.AXS.COM or 1-888-9AXSTIX. Closed-circuit tickets are available, and you can buy them at the MGM or at the Mandalay Bay, the Mirage or the Luxor. Those are moving pretty well, as well.
Before we introduce you to the fighters and have them say a few words, I do want to thank our amazing supporting sponsors: The event is sponsored by Tecate, “THE OFFICIAL BEER OF BOXING,” Hennessy, “Never Stop, Never Settle,” O’Reilly Auto Parts, Fred Loya Insurance, Interjet, Venom, and Fathom Events.
Now, I want to first introduce you to Gary “Spike” Sullivan and I’ll have him say a few words.
Can you tell us about your training, how it’s going, and looking forward to this fight?
GARY SULLIVAN: I can’t wait. I’m really excited for this fight. My first time fighting in Vegas. Excited about the whole event and my training is going really good. Got some really good sparring partners. Saunders recommended some sparring partners that he used in preparation for Lemieux, so I’ve been using those guys and feeling really good.
That’s great. Thank you very much, Gary.
Now, the former champion, David Lemieux, if you can make some opening comments, as well, please.
DAVID LEMIEUX: It’s been a long time I’ve been waiting for a big fight like this. I’m extremely ready and I’m extremely excited. I expect — that I haven’t seen in a while. I’m very prepared for this fight. It’s been a long time I’ve had a preparation like this. It’s going to be devastating.
ERIC GOMEZ: That’s great. That’s great. Thank you.
Q. A question for both Mr. Lemieux and Mr. O’Sullivan. Some see this as a make-or-break fight for both of you. Do either of you see it that way or do you simply see this as a fight that you just need to focus on exclusively and not worry about the bigger picture?
DAVID LEMIEUX: This fight is about getting back on top, so I’m preparing myself for that.
GARY SULLIVAN: Firstly, nothing personal against Mr. Lemieux. I think it’s going to be a good night for me and I’m not really concerned about Lemieux. I’m looking at the bigger picture. I’m looking at Golovkin-Canelo, ringside to watch after I beat Lemieux, and I can’t wait for those guys.
Q. I spoke to Billy Joe Saunders, a common opponent of both of you guys, and he says that he has no doubt that Spike O’Sullivan is going to win. What do you say to that?
DAVID LEMIEUX: That’s because he didn’t fight Lemieux in top shape. I’m going to be in top shape against spike. So, Saunders, I wasn’t at my top, but I will be against Sullivan.
Q. Does that mean anything to you, that a common opponent is picking you in the fight?
GARY SULLIVAN: I think he’s correct. He went no Lemieux’s backyard and beat Lemieux convincingly in Quebec, whereas I went to London and walked into his own backyard and gave him a much better fight than Lemieux did, and I’m now a much better fighter than I was then. I’m going to be the one that’s going to win the fight.
Q. I know this match right now — maybe the winner for fighting Canelo or Golovkin, what is it going to take for these guys?
ERIC GOMEZ: Obviously both fighters are top middleweights. They are definitely in the Top-10, probably five, in the middleweight division.
So the winner is going to be in a very good position to fight any of the champions, whether it’s the winner of Canelo-Golovkin or any of the other champions. You know, both guys, this is to get to the next level and to get to that championship stage. This can very well be an eliminator to become one of the top contenders for any of the champions.
Q. I know O’Sullivan is having a great moment right now, was in the mix for Golovkin and for Canelo in December, so he needs to prove that he deserves this spot, and David Lemieux — he has the experience, the best opposition right now because this fight — to win this fight.
ERIC GOMEZ: I guess, David, you can answer first. How do you feel about being in this big position on this under card, and do you feel you’ll be ready if you win the fight to fight the winner of Canelo-Golovkin?
DAVID LEMIEUX: Definitely, I’ve been waiting for an opportunity like this for a while now to get back on top and I’m very confident that I’m going to not just beat O’Sullivan but look amazing against him. I’m extremely confident and I can’t wait for fight night. Give the fans what they want to see.
ERIC GOMEZ: Same question for you, Gary.
GARY SULLIVAN: What is the question?
ERIC GOMEZ: The question was how do you feel being in this big spotlight, and if you win the fight, do you think that you would be in position to fight the winner? Do you think that qualifies you to fight the winner of Canelo-Golovkin?
GARY SULLIVAN: Who is going to get the start on September 15 — I’m ready for Golovkin or Canelo, would be fantastic display given what I just.
Q. My first question is for David. Obviously this fight is the most totally different style in terms of the matchup that you had with Saunders, but I wonder, I know that there’s been a lot of conversation that the winner of this fight could go on and challenge the winner of the main event. With a loss to Saunders that was totally one-sided, you did score a victory in your last fight in May against a journeyman opponent and you also had a fight that was cancelled — why do you think a fine over Gary O’Sullivan should put you into a title fight?
DAVID LEMIEUX: Well, you know, going back to the last few years, I’ve been working against a lot of injuries that has not been fixed and it’s been put in the past. I’m in tremendous shape and feeling great. I can use both my hands. I can use everything. I can use all my tools.
So I think Lemieux is back and about to demonstrate what I can do against O’Sullivan on the 15th. I think a lot of people are going to be surprised what I bring to the table, and it’s going to be an exciting fight. I’m not the guy I was against Saunders.
Q. When you look at a David Lemieux resumÃ©, you see several solid fights on there, several fights you won and several you lost. When you look at Spike’s record, he has a great record, also, but not necessarily the level of opposition that you have. When you look at his record, what do you see?
THE MODERATOR: I see whatever the opposition — that he lost and also quit when the opposition was really intense against Eubank. So there’s some flaws in his abilities that I’m going to take into consideration and on fight night, I’m going to execute and I’m going to use that against him.
Q. When you look at Lemieux’s resumÃ©, he’s been a world champion and he’s fought some of the best fighters including GGG, some other guys. What makes you think that you’re in position to take him out in this fight and move on to your goals of fighting for a world title?
GARY SULLIVAN: Well, you refer to my defeat against Eubank, I got an injury — I think — since I came up that I was going to fight him, I didn’t know a great deal about him. I watched him with Billy Joe Saunders, Toribio. He got up there, got knocked down easily.
He talks about knocking me down and putting me out cold and all that. I’ve never even been on the canvas my entire career and he’s been down numerous times. He’s been beaten by several different opponents of several different stylistics fights, like Toribio — all different styles of fighter have beaten him. I think it’s going to be a really good night for me. I’m going to shine. It’s going to be nice beating a former world champion, as well. Looks good on paper.
Q. Do you look at this match up with David as an opportunity to have sort of your coming-out party? You’ve had televised fights in America, you fought Douglas on television. This is the first real big-name opponent that you’ll be in with. Is this the Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan Coming Out Party?
GARY SULLIVAN: Yeah, I would agree with that. I think the night in Quebec was a great fight there, and Douglas — beating Lemieux — I think Lemieux is going to be an easier fight for me than Douglas, no doubt about that.
Q. If you were to win the fight, do you have a preference of the champion that you would want to fight, either GGG or Canelo, one of those two guys?
GARY SULLIVAN: I have no preference. Both great fighters and I’d like to fight either one of them.
Q. David, that same question. If you win this fight against Gary on the 15th, do you have a preference of who you would like to fight for the title? Would you like a rematch with GGG or could you like to fight Canelo? Which is the guy you fight?
DAVID LEMIEUX: I’m going to fight Canelo first and then I’m going to get my revenge versus GGG — after Gary O’Sullivan.
Q. David mentioned earlier in the call that he’s not the same fighter that he was when he fought Saunders. He said he was injured in training camp in that fight. What do you make of what he has said was the reason why he lost to Billy Joe Saunders?
GARY SULLIVAN: I think it’s just an excuse. You look at David, distant look like a guy that trains like I do, doesn’t train like he’s an athlete — gets tired in a lot of his fights. Doesn’t look like a guy that trains as hard as I do. I don’t think he’s going to win this fight.
Q. What did you think that night? Did you think it was going to be as convincing of a win for Billy? Did you think he would beat David in that way?
GARY SULLIVAN: No, I didn’t. I had a good feeling he would beat him but I didn’t think he would beat him as convincingly, Lemieux being a former wormed champion and that. I thought he was a better fighter.
Prior to that I thought he was better than that. I didn’t know a great deal about him and the more I look into him, all the fights, I’ve watched a lot of his fight, and I’m not surprised Billy Joe could beat him like that. I didn’t think it was going to be as easy as that, as it was for Saunders.
Q. Without giving away any of your game plan, what have you noticed when you’ve studied David Lemieux?
GARY SULLIVAN: I think he’s a one-trick pony. He does the same thing over and over again in all his fights, all the fights I’ve watched. He’s just does the same thing over and over and over again. So, you know what’s going to be coming.
Q. You mentioned a few minutes ago that you think the fight will be even easier for you than the Douglas fight was. Why do you feel that way?
GARY SULLIVAN: He’s more similar in size to me. He’s there to be hit and I hit hard and I’m accurate. So I think I’m going to be able to land on him with more frequency than I was on Douglas, with footwork and speed and longer irons — a tougher task against Douglas than it will be against Lemieux.
Q. Spike, I wanted to ask you about the fact that you mentioned that you’re using sparring partners like Billy Joe Saunders used when he prepared for Lemieux. Billy Joe obviously really dislikes David Lemieux a ton. Curious if he went out of his way to offer you some advice on this fight or if you reached out to him?
GARY SULLIVAN: I think Lemieux — making up excuses and coming out with that crap. I think that kind of pissed off Billy Joe — I think Lemieux pissed him off and so he wanted to diss me and getting the sparring partners to replicate Lemieux — (indiscernible. )
Q. After the Billy Joe fight, you said that you weren’t 100 percent and dealing with some injury stuff but you say for this fight you’re on your game and you’re in shape. If this fight doesn’t work out for you, what do you think that says about — I’m wondering if this fight doesn’t go your way, do you reconsider if this is something that is boxing — at this level, really what David Lemieux is capable of?
DAVID LEMIEUX: This fight is definitely going to go my way. You guys watch and see, and I’m going to make spike eat all his words. To say any excuses against Billy Joe or whatever — I’m not giving uses. I’m giving facts. But now let’s see what happens on September 15. The fight is done and let’s just walk the walks and see what’s up.
Q. This obviously is meant to be a really action-packed fight and you guys both come forward. Are you looking to steal the show from — obviously it’s the biggest fight of the year in the main event but are you looking to turn some heads just with this being an action-packed fight?
GARY SULLIVAN: There’s no doubt about that, I’m going to steal the show in spectacular fashion and I’m going to absolutely obliterate Lemieux.
David, you know, it’s nothing personal. I wish you good health with your family after the fight, man. It’s nothing personal. You’re just on my road and I got to get you out of my road to get to the bigger fight. As I say, I wish you health in the future man and I wish you a happy time with your family. I’m sorry but you’re in my way and I’m just going to have to beat you.
DAVID LEMIEUX: Won’t worry, I’m going to beat your ass. It’s not going to be no walk in the park. Don’t think it’s going to be an easy fight. I’m not coming here to lose. I’m going to come here to destroy you. You’ll see. You’ll see September 15th. Keep training hard at the gym. You’re going to need it. You’re going to need every round, you’re going to need it, trust me.
GARY SULLIVAN: Maybe I’ll bring my dogs leash to bring you for a walk then on the night.
DAVID LEMIEUX: Keep talking, you’re going to see.
Q. How do you see the main event playing out?
DAVID LEMIEUX: I think Golovkin has the edge. It’s going to be an interesting fight. Golovkin is a great fighter. Canelo is a great fighter. I thought it was very — I thought it was Golovkin’s fight in the first one, so we’ll see how they train. I think if Canelo really wants to fight, he’s got the talent to do it but I think Golovkin is not an easy fighter to beat.
GARY SULLIVAN: It’s going to be hard to call. The first fight was a very good fight and I expect this one to be a very good fight. I’m not sure who is going to win it but it’s going to be interesting to watch, though.
Q. Spike, you said that you improved a lot — you were impressive against Douglas. How specifically do you think you’ve improved?
GARY SULLIVAN: Specifically, I’m more dedicated. I’m a proper athlete these days. I’m very dedicated to my training, which I wasn’t always throughout my career. The past, I suppose two years, I’ve been very dedicated to being a proper athlete.
I think the old Spike, there’s no comparison. I see that in my weight. I make weight really easy now. I look different. My body shape is different to before and you know, it’s easier when I come to training camp now. I’m just working on my technique and boxing skills, rather than what David does, losing weight in camp. I used to do that one time, as well, myself, and it’s not so good. It’s more like Weight Watchers than training camp for a fight. That’s the difference in me right now.
Q. How much do you believe in momentum and confidence, coming off the big win over Douglas, the same day you lost to Saunders, how much will that play into the fight? How much do you beat in momentum?
GARY SULLIVAN: I believe obviously the momentum is with me. I’m a pressure fighter. I believe David’s time has come and gone. He’s had his time in the past and he’s had a few heavy losses. He’s got a number of beatings and so I think the ball is certainly in my court.
Q. David, you talked a lot about the injury against Saunders. Just how bad was your shoulder, and did you have to have surgery?
DAVID LEMIEUX: It was pretty bad. Surgery was something I looked into, but I didn’t want to be off for a full year so I tried to avoid it as much as I could and leading up to the Saunders fight, I said it’s going to be okay, it’s going to be okay, but you know, obviously it wasn’t.
So we tried different things, and finally, we tried different things and something worked and it’s been good ever since. We’re sticking with that plan and it’s been going great, so we don’t need the surgery right now. I keep training, and everything is solid. I have my left hand back, so I’m back to 100 percent and not 50 percent.
Q. What exactly was the injury?
DAVID LEMIEUX: It was a tear in the labrum.
Q. You’ve been in this position before where you’re coming off the GGG loss and you were fighting a fellow puncher in Curtis Stevens, you and got the big knock out. Do you think you can replicate that against spike?
DAVID LEMIEUX: I think Spike resembles a Curtis Stevens style, but I think he’s less of a boxer than Steven was. Maybe a little more of a puncher, Steven — I didn’t see much of his punches. Maybe he’s a bit harder of a puncher.
But I’m not really worried. I’m the hardest puncher in the ring on September 15, so I’m very confident in my abilities and everything I’m going to bring. I’m going to be in great shape. I’m concerned about absolutely nothing. All the skeptics, you know, that say, oh, is Lemieux going to come back. Well, I’m going to show you all on September 15: Lemieux is going to come back and Lemieux is going to do a lot of damage in the middleweight division.
And the weight issue is no longer an issue.
Q. The weight issue, how have you cleaned that up?
DAVID LEMIEUX: The weight issue, it’s been cleaned up. I changed a lot of things. As I fighter, I think all fighters know that it’s easy to mess up with the weight, but changed a lot. Changes have been made. I’m stronger than ever and my body is going to be much different, so you guys will see on September 15.
Q. Where do you see yourselves in the fight? Do you see yourselves as the favorite or as the underdog?
GARY SULLIVAN: I see myself as the favorite. Easily the favorite. I have to be the favorite.
DAVID LEMIEUX: I’m the favorite. There’s been — I’m the favorite in the fight. Everybody knows that, and there’s been some surveys done on the Internet and all of them point out to me. I think I know what to expect.
Lemieux is back.
GARY SULLIVAN: You’ll be on your back.
DAVID LEMIEUX: You’re going to see who is going to be on whose back.
Q. Like to say hello to David and Spike. My first question goes to Spike. There’s a lot of young fighters in this Irish boxing scene right now. Is there a young fighter that in particular is keeping an eye on and do you expect a large Irish crowd come September 15?
GARY SULLIVAN: Yeah, there’s a great core. Sean O’Kern (ph) he’s a really good fighter. I think he’s about 15-0. He’s trained at my gym in Ireland. A good fighter moved through the ranks. I think he’s the one to watch out for mostly in my opinion.
I think the Irish love Vegas. There will certainly be a good few Irish at the fight.
Q. It seems like coming off a loss, you only get stronger mentally. You have a great knockout over Curtis Stevens, a few big wins. Seems like you almost have something to prove mentally going into this fight. Is that how you feel just coming off a loss that you have something to prove to show the people that you are an elite level fighter and you’ve just caught a bad break in the Golovkin and Saunders fights?
DAVID LEMIEUX: Yeah, well, actually I have a lot to prove. The last two years haven’t been in my favor but things have changed. I’m ready to be back on top, so I’m ready to give the best of what I got, and I’m ready and I’m more ready than ever to do it against a guy like Spike O’Sullivan. Let’s give the fans a great show.
ERIC GOMEZ: Thank you very much.
Canelo vs. GGG 2 is a 12-round fight for the middleweight championship of the world presented by Golden Boy Promotions and GGG Promotions. Munguia vs. Cook is a 12-round battle for the WBO Junior Middleweight World Title presented by Golden Boy Promotions and Zanfer Promotions. Lemieux vs. O’Sullivan is a 12-round middleweight clash presented by Golden Boy Promotions and Eye of The Tiger Management in association with Murphy’s Boxing. Gonzalez vs. Fuentes is a 10-round super flyweight fight presented by Golden Boy Promotions and GGG Promotions in association with Teiken Promotions and Zanfer Promotions. The event is sponsored by Tecate, “THE OFFICIAL BEER OF BOXING,” Hennessy, “Never Stop, Never Settle,” O’Reilly Auto Parts, Fred Loya Insurance, Interjet, Venom, and Fathom Events. The event will take place Saturday, Sept. 15 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View beginning at a special time of 8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT.