“He's the white Tyson,” a most enthused, and, I think, understandably so, manager Camille Estephan told me on Monday afternoon, the buzz of the Brooklyn beatdown still in his veins.
He'd seen his kid David Lemieux shed questions galore, and, if not quite conjure images and notions and potential PPV grosses along the lines of Kid Dynamite, throw himself violently into the middleweight mix with the topmost names in the game.
“We have to be humble,” Estephan said, a few breathes after making the Tyson utterance and again, you can forgive the guy, because, after all, HBO's Max Kellerman had lobbed the “G” word, Golovkin, at the model-faced stone-fisted Lemieux, now 33-2 (31 KOs; holds the NABF 160 title) after he scored a TKO10 win over journeyman-contender Gabriel Rosado, the Philly-tough hitter who needed to be saved from his own stout heart as Lemieux was basting him malevolently, leading up a perhaps imminent uglier climax than the 6,500 plus fans in the arena were handed.
“Golovkin, it's not about whether that's an easy or hard fight, or if Lemieux is ready…he's ready…it's about finances. This is a business!” Estephan told me. He threw some names at me which are, in fact, right now, more marquee, from a track-record and earning-power standpoint–two guys who he thinks are better nexts for his kid than is Triple G.
“Miguel Cotto and Canelo Alvarez,” he told me, after I asked who he's thinking of for the kid, whose left hook stood out, by virtue of the damage it did on Rosado (21-9), who's been in with top guns Golovkin, Jermell Charlo, and Peter Quillin. “The guy I want is Cotto, the WBC middleweight champion. David is ranked number two by the WBC and number one Martin Murray fights champion Golovkin in February. I want Cotto, and then if he's not available, then Canelo. Really, we are equally interested in either. With either, we'd be very, very happy.”
Love to hear such talk, a manager talking not about “we'll see who's out there,” but instead “bring on the best and brightest, because my guy is more than ready.” Love it….
“HBO is very happy, they want to see David again, we all want to see him again,” Estephan continued. I noted that Cotto advisor Gaby Penagaricano told me just a day before that talks were ongoing for a Cotto-Canelo fight, but the teams weren't close to a deal. Might he want to throw the Lemieux hat into that ring?
“At this stage, there are only a few guys the networks will accept,” he stated. “And we know it's a business. We know Cotto vs Canelo can be a huge money maker. That precedes us. But if that doesn't come off, then they know we're around. And we want either…or maybe both.” Yep, Estephan is still on a that cloud, after seeing his guy leap from “who dat” status in the minds of many to “must see” to those self same folks.
Yep, Estephan believes in the power of the kid, who turns 26 on Dec. 22, and who was working from the fourth round on with a lesser right hand, because his hand was hurting him. Golovkin isn't someone Team Lemieux is fearful of, I don't get the sense–check out how he chuckles when I brought up the fearsome Kazahk–but Estephan seems to like the idea of letting Golovkin's rep build that much more, and also having a wider section of the fight fans get to know his guy a bit more as well. He wants that fight to be “justified,” he told me, and he thinks that will be the case even more so after the media continues to spread the word on the demo job a patient and powerful Lemieux did on the Philly rumbler.
“Many people have just seen him once, and they all want to see him again…but if (HBO) comes with an offer we can't refuse, then it's a different story,” said the manager, who will plot a plan with promoter Yvon Michel and the fighter after the holiday.
Speaking of stories, the enthused manager shared one which cracked me up. “After the fight, one of David's fans discovered David's mother,” he said. “Your son, he was born gifted…with thunder in one hand…and lightning in the other!” And she gave the only answer she could at the time: “Yes,” said the mother of the two-handed force.
“We're very happy,” the Canada-based Estephan said, in closing. “But there's more to show. He showed so much character and heart. A homecoming fight next is a possibility, but really, there is no single preference, just what is best for his career. We'll only know that when we know if Cotto is available, or Canelo…then we jump on that.”
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