Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan: “I Relish This”
By: Sean Crose
“Its a privilege to me to be in these types of fights,” Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan tells me. The 30-3 middleweight will be starting off the new year with a bang when he faces the 24-0 Jaime Munguia in the undefeated former world champion’s divisional debut. “It’s great to have this opportunity,” O’Sullivan says. “I relish this.” Some may argue the odds are stacked against the Cork, Ireland native heading into the January 11th Munguia fight. Munguia, after all, is taller, and over ten years younger, than O’Sullivan. What’s more, the fight is being held at San Antonio’s Alamodome, very close to Munguia’s native Mexico. O’Sullivan, however, is quietly confident.
“I’ve fought many people in their back yards,” he says. Plus, he has a genuine respect for Mexican fans, whose passion for boxing has remained strong through the sport’s ups and downs. He also has respect for Mexican fighters, and their famous come-forward style, a style he himself if known to employ in the ring. If anything, the battle with Munguia should be a colorful one. “I’m looking forward to it,” O’Sullivan says. It’s clear the man’s telling the truth, for O’Sullivan has proven he’s nothing if not a fighter willing to face the odds head on.
A prime example of this willingness was O’Sullivan’s quick return to the ring after being knocked out by David Lemieux in 2018. Many fighters might take a considerable amount of time off before slipping back in between the ropes. O’Sullivan got back in the ring as soon as possible, beating Gabor Gorbics less than three months after the Lemieux fight. “I wanted to get back in the ring,” O’Sullivan says. Although he credits Lemiuex with winning fair and square, O’Sullivan feels he could have truly won their battle. “If he hadn’t landed that punch,” he says, “I would have won that fight.”
The thirty-five year old isn’t planning on making any mistakes when he faces Munguia in a few weeks. He’s aware of the trouble Dennis Hogan gave the then WBO super welterweight champion last April by being able to land effectively on Munguia. “I believe,” O’Sullivan tells me after I bring up the fact Hogan doesn’t hit as hard as he does, “I definitely punch harder than Hogan.” Of course, Munguia punches hard himself, which is one of the reasons why O’Sullivan is working to enter the ring in prime form. I ask if he’s set up camp in his native Cork. “I’m training actually in Dublin,” he tells me, explaining that he returns to his family in Cork when camp is done for the week. It’s not an easy life, but O’Sullivan knows boxing isn’t an easy endeavor – and Munguia isn’t an easy opponent.
O’Sullivan does have an ace up his sleeve, however, when it comes to finding success in the toughest of sports: the fact that he’s colorful, both in and out of the ring. Whether he’s donning a handlebar mustache, offering a quick quip on a conference call or engaging aggressively in the ring, O’Sullivan is a fighter fans like to see in action. “I think it comes naturally to me,” he says of his persona. “It’s not a show.” Still, the fighter is looking to put on quite a performance when he faces Munguia on the 11th. The night should be anything but dull.
HBO PPV Preview: Canelo Alvarez vs Gennady Golovkin Rematch, Plus Full Undercard
By: William Holmes
Canelo Alvarez vs Gennady Golovkin PPV
HBO PPV: $84.95
T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas
Start time: 8PM ET/ 5PM PT
TV Undercard: Jaime Munguia vs Brandon “Bad Boy” Cook
David Lemieux vs Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan
Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez vs Moises “Moi” Fuentes
On Saturday, September 15th the long awaited rematch between Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez will finally occur for Golovkin’s WBA and WBC Middleweight Titles.
They were originally to fight on May 5th, but a positive test for clenbuterol scuttled those plans. Canelo claimed the trace levels detected were due to contaminated meat, which was met with some skepticism by Golovkin and his team.
Jaime Mungui and Brandon Cook will meet in the co-main event of the night for Munguia’s WBO Junior Middleweight World Title. David Lemieux and Gary O’Sullivan will also meet in a middleweight bout with possible future title implications.
Other boxers such as Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez, Moises Fuentes, Vergil Ortiz Jr., Alexis Rocha, and Brian Ceballo will also be featured on the undercard.
The following is a preview of the three top fights for Saturday’s HBO PPV offering.
David Lemieux (39-4) vs. Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan (28-2); Middleweights
David Lemieux is only twenty nine years old, and will be five years older than Gary O’Sullivan come fight night, but in ring years he’s significantly older. He’s been in some tough fights with some tough competition and already has thirteen more professional fights than O’Sullivan.
They’re about the same size, O’Sullivan will have a slight ½ inch height advantage. They both have decent power. Lemieux has stopped thirty three of his opponents while O’Sullivan has stopped twenty. However, Lemieux only has one stoppage victory in his past five fights while O’Sullivan has five victories in a row by stoppage.
They also have both been stopped. Lemieux has two stoppage losses while O’Sullivan has one stoppage loss on his record.
They both have been fairly active. He fought once in 2018, three times in 2017, and twice in 2016. O’Sullivan fought once in 2018, four times in 2017, and once in 2016.
Lemieux does have an edge in amateur experience. He won the Canadian National Junior Championships in 2006 while O’Sullivan does not have any notable amateur accomplishments.
Lemieux’s losses were to Billy Joe Saunders, Gennady Golovkin, and earlier in his career to Joachim Alcine and Marco Antonio Rubion. He has beaten the likes of Elvin Ayala, Hector Camacho Jr., Fernando Guerrero, Gabriel Rosado, Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam, Glen Tapia, Curtis Stevens, and Karim Achour.
O’Sullivan’s losses were to Billy Joe Saunders and Chris Eubank Jr. He has defeated the likes of Berlin Abreu, Antoine Douglas, Nick Quigley, Melvin Bentancourt, and Matthew Hall.
If this fight happened three years ago Lemieux would be considered the favorite. But he looked slow and old in his loss to Billy Joe Saunders and he is starting to show signs of ring wear. O’Sullivan on the other hand, has been riding a good win streak and looked sensational against a solid young prospect in Antoine Douglas.
This writer has to pick O’Sullivan in a minor upset.
Jaime Munguia (30-0) vs. Brandon Cook (20-1); WBO Junior Middleweight Title
Jaime Munguia is one of Golden Boy Promotions’ best young fighters and at the age of twenty one is already a legitimate world champion.
He has exceptional power. He has twenty five stoppage wins and has stopped six of his past seven opponents. He’s also eleven years younger than his opponent Brandon Cook, who only has thirteen stoppage wins, and already has one stoppage loss.
Munguia has been incredibly active. He already fought four times in 2018 and fought seven times in 2017. Cook has also been active and fought once in 2018 and three times in 2017.
Munguia has the better amateur pedigree. He was a Gold Medalist in the Mexican National Championships and turned pro at the age of 16.
Cook’s lone loss was to Kanat Islam by TKO in 2017. He doesn’t have any big victories of note, he has defeated the likes of Miguel Suarez, Steven Butler, and Hector Santana.
Munguia has defeated the likes of Liam Smith, Sadam Ali, Jose Paz, Paul Valenzuela Jr., and Johnny Navarrete.
On paper, it’s hard to find anything that Bradon Cook does better than Jaime Munguia. It’s likely we will see that in the ring too.
Gennady Golovkin (38-0-1) vs. Canelo Alvarez (49-1-2); WBA/WBC Middleweight Title
Gennady Golovkin has to be considered one of, if not the best middleweight boxers in the 21st century. However, he doesn’t have that big signature win over an exceptional opponent on his resume.
Many thought he did enough to beat Canelo last year, but Canelo came on strong in the later rounds and was able to make the fight a draw.
Both boxers have good power. Golovkin has stopped thirty four of his opponents, though his power seems to be slipping recently. Canelo also has thirty four stoppage wins. Neither boxer has ever been stopped in their career.
Canelo will have a slight ½ inch reach advantage, but will also be giving up about two inches in height. Canelo will be eight years younger than Golovkin on Saturday, and Golovkin may be showing some signs of rust in his armor with his advancing age.
Golovkin has the better amateur career of the two. He was a silver medalist in the 2004 Summer Olympics. Canelo turned professional at a young age, but did win the 2005 Junior Mexican National Championships.
Golovkin has beaten the likes of Vanes Martirosyan, Daniel Jacobs, Kell Brook, Dominic Wade, David Lemieux, Willie Monroe Jr., Marco Antonio Rubio, Daniel Geale, Curtis Stevens, Matthew Macklin, and Gabriel Rosado. He has fought twice a year in 2018, 2017 and 2016.
Canelo has beaten the likes of Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Liam Smith, Amir Khan, Miguel Cotto, James Kirkland, Erislandy Lara, Alfredo Angulo, Austin Trout, Josesito Lopez, Shane Mosley, and Kermit Cintron. His lone loss was the Floyd Mayweather Jr., and he had a draw very early in his career to a Jorge Juarez.
Both boxers seem motivated and have a genuine dislike of each other since Canelo’s positive steroid test in the spring. In their last fight they appeared to be very respectful towards each other, almost too much.
Golovkin’s age is a big concern and his best days are likely behind him. Canelo also appeared to have figured out Golovkin by the end of the fight and was coming on strong. The fight fans in attendance will also likely be in favor of Canelo over Golovkin.
The intangibles favor Canelo,but it’s hard to pick against a man that has never lost and looked absolutely dominating at times.
This is basically an even fight, but this writer has to give the slightest of edges to Golovkin, only because it appeared that Golovkin should have received the decision last time.
Lemieux, O’Sullivan Trade Barbs On Conference Call
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.
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.
ESPN Boxing Preview: Garcia vs. Velez, O’Sullivan vs. Abreu
By: Eric Lunger
While Saturday night is Cinquo de Mayo, a traditional Red Letter day on the boxing calendar, boxing fans should not miss Friday night’s ESPN/ESPN Deportes broadcast of the Golden Boy Boxing card from Carson, CA, featuring Ryan Garcia vs. Jayson Velez at junior lightweight and Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan vs. Berlin Abreu at middleweight.
The headline bout features a young (19 year-old) undefeated, and charismatic prospect from Los Angeles, Ryan “the Flash” Garcia (14-0, 13 KOs). Riding a nine-fight knockout streak, Garcia recently stopped tough veteran Fernando Vargas in the first round in March of this year. Velez will be clearly the most challenging opponent of Garcia’s young career, but he is sure to have the StubHub crowd behind him: Garcia proudly enters the ring with the Mexican and American flags in his entourage. And, classically, his opponent hales from Puerto Rico.
Photo Credit: Golden Boy Twitter Account
Jayson Velez (26-4, 18 KOs) is coming off the biggest win of his career, a twelth-round TKO of Puerto Rican star Juan Manuel Lopez, also in the March of this year. Other notable fights for Velez include an unanimous decision (on wide cards) over noted prospect Alberto Mercado in March of 2017, an unanimous decision loss to rising star JoJo Diaz in March of 2016, and a failed IBF world title shot against Evgeny Gradovich (split decision draw) in 2014.
Some might characterize this fight as the “young prospect versus declining veteran” type of cross-roads matchup, but it promises to be more competitive and compelling than that. Velez is coming off a career-making win, headlining a nationally televised card, and looking for another title shot. He is going to be hugely motivated. Garcia has knockout power, is trying to take the next step on the ladder to greatness, and is fighting in front of his hometown fans — he will be under serious pressure to perform. It should be an excellent bout.
In the co-feature, Irishman Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan will try to continue his three-fight knockout streak. O’Sullivan is an entertaining fighter to watch, and he is damn good. He’s beaten everyone he’s faced except for Chris Eubank, Jr. (December 2015) and Billy Joe Saunders (July 2013). O’Sullivan is coming off a seventh-round stoppage of Antoine Douglas on the Lemieux vs. Saunders undercard last December. At age 33, with a lot of tough miles in the tank, this might be O’Sullivan’s last run at another title shot. But don’t let the age fool you; O’Sullivan is tough, highly conditioned, and will punish any mistakes by the man in front of him.
Abreu, 23, was born in Puerto Rico but currently resides in the Dominican Republic. He is coming off a ten-round split decision win over rugged Argentine David Peralta in December of last year. With Saturday night being his second foray at the ten-round distance, this bout more accurately fits the “cross-roads” appellation. Youth and desire from Abreu faces grit and experience from O’Sullivan.
The broadcast begins live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes at 10:30 ET/7:30 PT.
HBO World Championship Boxing Preview: Saunders vs. Lemieux, Seldin vs. Ulysses, Douglas vs. O’Sullivan
By: William Holmes
On Saturday night the Place Bell in Laval, Quebec, Canada will be the host site for an HBO Triple Header to take place on HBO World Championship Boxing.
The opening bout will be between Cletus “Hebrew Hammer” Seldin and Yves Ulysse, Jr. in the junior welterweight division. The second bout of the night will be between Antoine Douglas and Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan in the middleweight division. The main event of the night will be between Billy Joe Saunders and David Lemieux for the WBO Middleweight title.
Photo Credit: Vincent Ethier/Eye of the Tiger Management
This fight card will help lend some clarity to the middleweight division behind the two current kingpins of the middleweights, Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin. This card will also feature Cletus Seldin, a popular Jewish fighter that HBO seems keen on featuring in the future.
The following is a preview of all three bouts.
Cletus Seldin (21-0) vs. Yves Ulysse, Jr. (14-1); Junior Welterweights
The opening bout of the night is between the Hebrew Hammer Cletus Seldin and Yves Ulysse.
Seldin is a compact power puncher who has seventeen stoppage victories on his record. He’s thirty one years old and needs to make a serious run now if he ever wants to fight for a legitimate world title.
He’ll be about the same height as Ulysse as both are 5’7”. Seldin is also the more powerful puncher of the two. Ulysse only has nine stoppage victories to his credit. However, Ulysse is two years younger than his opponent.
Both boxers have been fairly active the past two years. Ulysse fought four times in 2017 and once in 2016, while Seldin has fought twice in 2017 and twice in 2016.
Neither boxer had a notable amateur career, but Seldin appears to have had more success than Ulysse. Seldin was a Long Island Amateur Champion and lost in the finals of the New York State Golden Gloves.
Seldin has defeated the likes of Robert Ortiz, Renald Garrido, Jesus Selig, Orlando Vazquez, and Bayan Jargal.
Ulysse has defeated the likes of Ricky Sismundo and Zachary Ochoa. His lone loss was in his last fight to Steve Claggett.
Seldin fights a style that leaves him open to counters but puts on an exciting fight for his fans. Ulysse has a good record, but is the underdog going into the fight.
However, Ulysse was born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada and will have the support of the fans in attendance.
Antoine Douglas (22-1-1) vs. Gary O’Sullivan (26-2); WBO Inter-Continental Middleweight Title
Antoine Douglas is a good middleweight prospect who’s rise to the top was briefly derailed when he faced and lost to Avtandil Khurtsidze. He has since won three fights in a row and looks to reclaim his spot as a can’t miss prospect.
Douglas is still young and is in the middle of his prime at twenty five years old. O’Sullivan is getting near the end of his prime and is currently thirty three years old.
O’Sullivan and Douglas have similar knockout power. Douglas has stopped sixteen of his opponents and has one stoppage loss. O’Sullivan has stopped eighteen of his opponents and also has one stoppage loss.
Both boxers fought once in 2016 and three times in 2017.
Douglas has defeated the likes of Juan De Angel, Istvan Szili, and Thomas Lamanna. His lone loss was to Avtandil Khurtsidze and he drew with Micahel Soro.
O’Sullivan has defeated the likes of Nick Quigley, Melvin Betancourt, Milton Nunez, and Matthew Hall. The two times he faced good opposition, Chris Eubank Jr. and Billy Joe Saunders, he lost.
Douglas has quick hands and is willing to throw combinations and take risky exchanges. But his opponent is a veteran with knockout power.
This fight should be a tense and close fight, but it’s a fight that Douglas should be considered a close favorite.
Billy Joe Saunders (25-0) vs. David Lemieux (38-3): WBO Middleweight World Title
The main event of the evening is between Billy Joe Saunders and David Lemieux for the WBO Middleweight Title. The winner of this bout may set himself up for a future fight with either Gennady Golovkin or Canelo Alvarez.
Both boxers are twenty eight years old and are in the midst of their prime. Saunders will have a slight inch and a half height advantage on Lemieux, but Lemieux has thirty three stoppage victories to his credit while Saunders only has twelve stoppage victories.
This will be Saunders first fight outside of the United Kingdom, but he doesn’t seem bothered by it. He recently stated, “I’m used to fight outside the UK, I’m a traveler of the world. I don’t care if there’s a million people. It’s just me and him in that ring, end of the story. As for the rest, I don’t care.”
Saunders does have a better amateur resume than Lemieux. He is a former Commonwealth Champion and competed in the 2008 Summer Olympics. Lemieux was the Canadian Junior National Champion in 2006.
However, Lemieux does seem confident in his power and his ability to hurt Saunders with his power. He stated, “I’ve never said that I doubted his chin. Regardless he will hit the floor. And whether I win by knock out or go 12 rounds, it’s no matter. But I will drop him and I will hurt him”
Saunders has defeated the likes of Willie Monroe Jr., Artur Akavov, Andy Lee, Chris Eubank Jr., Gary O’Sullivan, Matthew Hall, and Jarrod Fletcher.
Saunders though has not been very active the past two years. He only fought once in 2017 and once in 2016.
It should be noted that his win against Andy Lee was a majority decision and his win against Eubank was a split decision.
Lemieux has defeated the likes of Curtis Stevens, Glen Tapia, Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam, Gabriel Rosado, Fernando Guerrero, Hector Camacho Jr., and Elvin Ayala. His losses were to Marco Antonio Rubio, Joachim Alcine, and Gennady Golovkin.
The biggest intangible of this fight is the fact it takes place in Quebec, Canada and Lemieux is Canadian. The fans will be backing Lemieux in this fight and that kind of support has been known to influence the judges.
Saunders two biggest victories were close decisions in the United Kingdom. It’s unlikely he’ll get a close decision in Canada.
As long as Lemieux can keep up his energy and pressure for all twelve rounds it’s a fight that he can and should win.