By Hans Olson
Not long ago, David Lemieux (25-2) was believed to be the next major boxing star to emerge from a province that had produced two of its biggest ever in recent years, Lucian Bute and Jean Pascal.
But 2011 was tough year for Lemieux. Previously undefeated, the promising native of Laval lost twice: first to Marco Antonio Rubio in April’s WBC middleweight title eliminator, then in what was supposed to be a comeback fight of sorts, a fight against fellow Quebecer Joachim Alcine.
This Friday at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Lemieux looks to get back on track against Jaudiel Zepeda (12-5-1) on an undercard attraction of Groupe Yvon Michel’s popular “Fast and Furious” series.
“I feel great! I’ve been waiting for a long time to get back in the ring since my injury on my hand,” Lemieux told Boxing Insider via telephone on Tuesday.
“I’m ready to fight, to get back in the ring. I’ve been training for a while to get back. I’m going to get back on the winning streak.”
Many thought David would get back to those winning ways last year in the aforementioned fight with Alcine, a former world champion and regional attraction in his own right.
Alcine had not been impressive in his most recent showings. He was wiped out in a round by Alfredo Angulo in 2010, and had quite the anemic showing in a draw against Jose Medina in August 2011.
Against David Lemieux, however, Alcine fought the fight of his life. It was entertaining (and close), but Alcine pulled the upset.
“The fight against Alcine…I can say what I want to say but, a decision is a decision,” reflects Lemieux.
“I didn’t see it as the same way that the judges did, but I learned a lot of things in that fight. Alcine’s a very good fighter, I give him that. I learned a lot from it—a 12 round fight, what it is to be in the ring with a quality fighter like Alcine—so I think I’ll become a better fighter.”
And then there’s that pesky right hand injury that made matters worse.
“Well it was an old injury that I had before going into the fight. In the fight, the injury came back. But I’ve been doing a lot of work on it; a lot of treatment…and now it’s good. I’m ready to get back in the ring, I’m ready for action!”
Even when healing his right hand, Lemieux’s work ethic didn’t lapse.
“I couldn’t use my right hand during the training because I was injured,” he says.
“There have been a lot of different changes…changes you guys will see in the fight on June 8.”
This will be Lemieux’s second fight with new trainer Marc Ramsay, brought in after he and longtime trainer Russ Anber went their separate ways.
“We’ve had more time to train with my trainer Marc Ramsay [this time],” says the Quebec-based fighter.
“Regarding the fight with Alcine, we only had 2 months because of the big switch-up with my ex-coach and everything, so we’ve been having a lot more time to work on different things.”
“The preparation for this fight being 8 rounds, I’ve been sparring many more rounds. A lot of things have changed.”
Jaudiel Zepeda’s record might not be of the glossiest variety, but he’s been in with decent opposition. Local favorite Renan St Juste, and former Contender star Miguel Angel Espino each hold decision victories over him.
“I expect a good, tough opponent,” said Lemieux.
“The guy is good, I’ve seen him fight. He’s good on his feet, and he’s a very solid puncher, so I’m expecting to do some rounds you know? I’m ready to work. I’m well prepared, I’m sure he’s going to be well prepared too, so it’s going to be a good fight.”
It will be the first time in a while that David Lemieux hasn’t been the headliner of his own show. That duty will be reserved for Elieder “Storm” Alvarez, who battles Shawn Hawk in the main event.
Not that Lemieux cares one way or the other.
He just wants to fight.
“The pressure is always there, to me it’s no different. I don’t feel more or less pressure. A fight is a fight if I’m a headliner or not, and it’s very important for me to go in there and to look at my best.”