By Ian S Palmer
Former IBF Middleweight Champion David Lemieux of Montreal, Canada is back in the ring this Saturday, March 11th when he takes on Curtis Stevens of the USA at the Turning Stone Resort & Casino in Verona, New York. The 12-round bout can be seen live in the U.S. on HBO and in the UK on BoxNation. However, Canadian fans will be asked to shell out for pay-per-view simply because Lemieux is Canadian. Lemieux last fought in October when he beat Cristian Rios by a 10-round unanimous decision. Stevens’ last outing was November when he beat James De la Rosa by 10-round unanimous decision.
The 28-year-old Lemieux enters the ring with a record of 36-3 along with 32 big Kos. Lemieux is still a top-10 ranked boxer in the middleweight division as he’s number three in the WBC and is hoping for another world title shot in the near future with possible opponents including Saul “Canelo” Alvarez as well as WBO Middleweight Champion Billy Joe Saunders. Lemieux has had problems making weight in the past, but he’s hard-hitting brawler with a lot of power and questionable chin.
He usually blasts most of his opponents out, but he’s also been stopped himself a couple of times as Marco Antonio Rubio of Mexico stopped him in the seventh round back in 2011 and Gennady Golovkin stopped him in the eighth round in 2015. His other career loss came also came in 2011 when Joachim Alcine beat him by a 12-round majority decision. Lemieux stands 5-feet-nine-and-a-half-inches tall with a reach of 70 inches.
He turned pro back in 2007 and has fought 142 rounds since then. His knockout power is quite obvious as his current stoppage ratio stands at 82 per cent. He’s beaten some journeymen boxers along the way and was beaten when he stepped up in class against Rubio, Alcine and Golovkin. However, he did manage to stop Gabriel Rosado in 10 rounds back in December of 2014 and beat Hassan N’Dam by a 12-round unanimous decision for the vacant IBF crown in June of 2015.
For the 31-year-old Stevens of Brownsville, New York, this is just his third fight since October of 2014 as he sat out all of 2015. He’s ranked number two by the WBC and is also looking for another title shot. However, he did fight Gabriel Rosado in a Big Knockout Boxing venture in a pit with no ropes, but it wasn’t considered to be a pro boxing match and therefore doesn’t appear on his official record. He’ll be entering the ring with a record of 29-5 along with 21 Kos. Most boxing fans may know Stevens from his gutsy performance in an eighth round TKO loss to WBA Champion Gennady Golovkin in November of 2013.
Stevens said he learned a lot in the loss to Golovkin, such as just letting his hands go instead of thinking too much in the ring. He remarked that he was looking for the perfect shot against the champion, but still feels he gave Golovkin a pretty good run for his money. He had won four fights in a row before meeting Golovkin with three of them coming by way of stoppage. However, he then lost to Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam by 12-round unanimous decision in October of 2014 and looked hesitant in his win over De la Rosa in November.
Stevens stands just 5-feet-7-inches tall and has a 71.5-inch reach. He’s 2.5-inches shorter than Lemieux and has a negligible 1.5-inch reach advantage. He turned pro back in 2004 and has fought 168 rounds since then. He’s lost to N’Jikam, Golovkin, Marcos Primera, Andre Dirrell, and Jesse Brinkley. The only other man to stop him was Primera in the eighth round in 2006. His best wins have been against De la Rosa, Patrick Teixeira, Darnell Boone, Saul Roman, Carl Daniels, Patrick Majewski, Tureano Johnson and Derrick Findley. Stevens has pretty good power with his current knockout ratio being 62 per cent.
Lemieux isn’t a naturally-gifted boxer, but he works hard, has heart and power and is entertaining. His chin is questionable though. Stevens likes to let his hands go and prefers power over finesse as well. Both these guys were disappointing in their last outings though as they both struggled and went the distance in their victories. This bout will come down to power and chins and will likely end in a stoppage. It’s hard to pick a winner due to this, but I think if Stevens lets his hands go he could pull off an upset.