Lemieux vs. O’Sullivan—Stealing Thunder

By Marc Livitz on August 29, 2018
Lemieux vs. O’Sullivan—Stealing Thunder
O’Sullivan and Lemieux each share a defeat to a common opponent in Billy Joe Saunders.

Lemieux will find Cork, Ireland native Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan to be more than just a minor threat two weeks from this coming Saturday…

“We could be heroes, just for one day,” sang the late, great David Bowie in 1977. Such an idea has inspired professional athletes to push onward towards that one moment in the proverbial sun, even if it sets before it can be fully enjoyed. Boxers are no different. A short walk to the ring is followed by several minutes inside of it, and up to thirty-six of them if you’re really important. We as fight fans are all too often disappointed when a highly anticipated bout ends with a whimper and its respective image is greater than the outcome.

We’re not always able to count on an evening’s undercard to provide the fireworks necessary to steal the thunder of the main event. Still, it happens from time to time. See ‘Vargas vs. Miura, 21 November 2015’ for such verification. We rely on these guys to give us our money’s worth, especially when we’ve not only given up a Saturday night, but we’ve also dropped a nice chunk of change on pay TV fees.

On Saturday, September 15 in Las Vegas, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Gennady “GGG” Golovkin will renew their pugilistic vows in a rematch that wasn’t exactly a year in the making, but was certainly ripe for the taking. Reports have surfaced that the PPV cost for the ‘Diez y seis de Septiembre’ extravaganza will cost $84.99 to watch at home. Let’s hope the main event delivers and the undercard peaks everyone’s interests. Middleweight contenders David Lemieux and Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan are hoping to make good on such a wish. They’ll share the spotlight of the undercard that night at T-Mobile Arena and each fighter has been quite active on social media as of late. Of course, this wasn’t to exchange good-natured compliments.

Lemieux (39-4, 33 KO’s) was once flying high as Canada’s ‘next big thing’ back in 2011. Up to a fateful night in April of that year, the Montreal native had amassed a perfect record of 25 wins in as many bouts. He’d won all but a single contest by knockout and done so exclusively in his hometown. Then came the night of April 8, 2011. David Lemieux was the featured event on a weekly installment of ESPN’s Friday Night Fights.

He found Mexican opponent Marco Antonio Rubio to be a tougher nut to crack than those he’d previously faced. Lemieux was outclassed, outsmarted and eventually knocked out in the seventh round on national TV. He was on the losing end of a majority decision to Joachim Alcine the following December. After a short, six-month absence, nine consecutive wins seemed to get him back on track; that is until he met up with Gennady Golovkin in October of 2015. “GGG” toyed with him before he ended the night by way of TKO in round eight.

He’s won five of his last six contests, with the only defeat in that span being his one-sided, unanimous decision loss to current WBO middleweight world champion Billy Joe Saunders last December. Lemieux didn’t make weight for his most recent outing, a twelve-round waltz past journeyman Karim Achour in late May. He’ll find Cork, Ireland native Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan (28-2, 20 KO’s) to be more than just a minor threat two weeks from this coming Saturday.

O’Sullivan and Lemieux each share a defeat to a common opponent in Billy Joe Saunders. While Lemieux chose to face Saunders on his own home turf of Montreal, as is the case with the vast majority of his contests, Gary made the decision to face Billy Joe in the Englishman’s stomping grounds of England. Lemieux was defeated at Place Bell in Laval, Quebec last year, yet Irishman O’Sullivan was more than willing to take defeat in full swing at Wembley Arena outside London five years ago.

On Wednesday afternoon, the two combatants took part in an international media conference call to discuss their upcoming Las Vegas clash, which will be distributed as part of the telecast headlined by the middleweight championship rematch between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin (Saturday, September 15, HBO PPV, 8PM ET/5PM PT). They were also joined by Eric Gomez, current president of Golden Boy Promotions.

Selected Highlights Listed Below

Opening Statements, Gary O’Sullivan: “I can’t wait and I’m super excited. My training’s been going really good and I’ve had some great sparring partners in preparation for this fight.”

Opening Statements, David Lemieux: “I have been waiting for a big fight like this. I’m ready and I’m extremely excited. It’s been a long time since I’ve been training like this. I can’t wait.”

Lemieux on if the bout is a ‘make or break’ moment: “This fight will get me back on top, so I’m preparing that way.”

O’Sullivan on the same: “I’m looking ahead and with no disrespect to Mr. Lemieux, I’d like to face the winner of the Canelo and Golovkin fight.”

Billy Joe Saunders recently stated that he favors O’Sullivan in the contest.

Lemieux on Saunders’ comments: “I’m going to be in top shape for this fight, which I wasn’t against Saunders. I’ve had a lot of injuries that have now been fixed. I’m now in tremendous shape and I can now use both hands and all my tools. I think a lot of people are going to be surprised to see what I bring to the table. I’m not the fighter I was against Saunders.”

O’Sullivan’s response: “I think he’s correct. He went into Lemieux’s backyard and beat him. I went to London to fight him and I did a much better job than he did, so I have to agree with what he said.”

“I think he’s just making excuses with claiming an injury. I think it’s just because he doesn’t train as hard as I do. I knew Billy Joe would beat him, but just not as convincingly. I didn’t know a great deal about Lemieux, but I thought he would do better because he’d been a champion.”

Eric Gomez’s thoughts on the contest: “Both fighters are top middleweights. They’re definitely in the top five of the weight class. The winner will be in a great position to fight the winner or any of the top fighters in the division. This could very well be an elimination type of contest.”

Lemieux on possibly facing the winner of the main event: “I’ll fight Canelo first, then I’ll get my rematch against ‘GGG’ after I knock out Gary O’Sullivan.”

O’Sullivan’s thoughts on the same: “I have no preference. They’re both great fighters.”

David’s views of Gary’s career: “I see that whenever the opposition was tougher, he lost. I also see that he quit against Eubank. On fight night, I’ll use that against him.”

Gary’s reply: “I didn’t quit. I was hurt and my corner stopped the fight. He has no room to say that I quit. I’ve never been on the canvas in my entire career, but he has. He’s been beaten by all kinds of fighters like Golovkin and Rubio.”

“I had a chance to see him (Lemieux) fight Golovkin and he got destroyed. That’s going to happen again.”

Lemieux’s prediction: “This fight will definitely go my way. I’ll make ‘Spike’ eat all of his words. No more excuses. The talk is done, so let’s just walk the walk. I’m ready to get back on top. I’m confident that I’m not only going to beat O’Sullivan, but I’m also going to look fantastic. Lemieux is back! You’ll see!”

O’Sullivan’s response: “You mean ‘flat on your back?’ He’s a one trick pony and he does the same thing, over and over again. He’s there to be hit. This will be easier than my fight with [Antoine] Douglas, who was a much better boxer and had much better footwork.”

“I’ll steal the show in spectacular fashion. There’s no doubt about that. Nothing against David, but he’s in my way. Maybe I’ll bring my dog’s leash and take him for a walk that night.”

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