Some have stated that they believe it will be Hagler-Hearns revisited 30 years later. As most know Marvin Hagler and Thomas Hearns fought for the undisputed middleweight title on tax day April 15, 1985. The fight is an all-time classic and one for the ages despite lasting slightly under eight minutes.
The first round very well could be the most action packed round in boxing history.
Check out the results “Good Boy Gets Stopped; Game Lemieux TKO’d By Golovkin in NYC” at The Sweet Science by Michael Woods.
Tonight’s clash between middleweight bangers WBA/IBO middleweight title holder Gennady Golovkin 33-0 (30) and IBF title holder David Lemieux 34-2 (31) has the makings of being another classic slug-fest for however long it lasts.
Both guys love to impose themselves physically on their opponents, and in this case, somebody is going to be forced to retreat. Neither Gennady nor David has faced another fighter like they’re about to confront.
Golovkin is the emerging star and perceived to be a genuine life-taker in the mold of Mike Tyson and Thomas Hearns, this in spite of fighting just four years in the United States. On the other hand Lemieux is starting to carve out his own reputation as a big time puncher and is no doubt the biggest puncher that Golovkin has faced to date. However, that’s where the similarity between them ends.
Perhaps one of the biggest advantages GGG owns is his utter belief that he can’t lose and that he’s breaking anything he touches with his fist. Lemieux has been stopped once by Marco Antonio Rubio, back in 2011. And the troubling thing about that was, Rubio had Lemieux stumbling all over the ring after getting through with one solid right hand in the seventh round. Having experienced that, Lemieux’s confidence and belief that he can’t lose has to be easier to break than Golovkin’s. Gennady has never really been shook in the multiple fights of his that I’ve observed. He’s even gone as far as saying that he’s looking forward to sampling Lemieux’s power, just so he can snarl back at him and continue to bring it.
“[Lemieux] feels ready for a fight like this. He’s a champion. He feels like a star [now], so he feels stronger,” Golovkin said. “He has good power. It’s a dangerous fight for me.
“Who’s stronger? Who’s smarter? Who’s the best in the division?”
As you can see by his words and thoughts Golovkin is relishing touching hands with Lemieux tonight. So I would conclude Golovkin is the more authentically confident fighter heading into the bout, and the fact that he’s never been close to losing has a lot to do with that.
Golovkin not only holds the edge psychologically, but he’s also the better technician and is more methodical. Everything he does is with a purpose; he doesn’t freelance or wing it nearly as much as Lemieux does. GGG also has better fundamentals and basics, meaning that he’s usually in better position to punch, block and counter and is seldom caught with punches that have no right getting through his defense. Whereas David is very focused on getting his opponent out and showing that he’s the more powerful fighter; thus, he sometimes gets nailed with punches that should never get through.
So if you’re trying to handicap which of the two is more likely to land their Sunday punch, based on delivery and defense, I’d have to say Golovkin will get through with his best stuff first and more frequently than will Lemieux. And if that turns out to be the case….there’s no second guessing in regards to who will win the fight. Keeping that in mind, it must not be misconstrued, Golovkin is not impossible to find and hit with big stuff. What separates him most from Lemieux is, Golovkin usually is not hit by punches in succession. You can get him with one good one but he’s very good at making the follow up miss. The same doesn’t apply to Lemieux.
The other thing that separates them is their power and delivery. Golovkin is more of a one shot banger and has often turned the fight in his favor with one punch. How many times have we witnessed Golovkin force an opponent into survival mode with one clean shot? GGG is clearly the heavier handed guy and also possess short power. That’s a huge advantage because he expends less energy when he punches, something that aids him in carrying his power deep into the bout. It’s almost as if he releases his power and doesn’t need to force it.
That’s not how Lemieux rolls. David wings his shots and often pushes his punches more so than turning them over. Lemieux’s offense is more rudimentary and is centered on winging clubbing hooks to the head and body with the intent of wearing his opponent down. The problem with that is, once Golovkin gets inside, which shouldn’t be all that difficult to do, he’ll have a big advantage because he needs less room to get off with his heavy artillery. So if you’re Lemieux, it’s probably better to not bang with Golovkin on the inside.
And lastly, we know how Golovkin is going to attack Lemieux. He’ll most likely look to establish his jab first in the early going while looking to block and counter David’s looping hooks. Gennady will pressure him smartly and effectively with the intent of forcing Lemieux to engage and trade with him one-for-one. He no doubt believes if he can accomplish that, everything will work out for him and he’ll be victorious.
The bigger question is, how will Lemieux go about refuting Golovkin’s aggression. When confronting an attacker like Golovkin, there’s one cardinal rule you cannot break if you want to win…and that is you can’t run. If you want to survive for a while, you can, but not if you have any intention of winning the bout. A fighter like Golovkin feeds off of his opponent sending the “SOS” signal when they go into survival mode. I doubt David Lemieux has any intent on running from Golovkin, yet he would be better off not trading with him early.
Lemieux’s best strategy would be instead of going for the big shot or home run early, he at least tries to earn Golovkin’s respect without standing right in front of him and getting hit with the return. This way he’s not as open for the counter from the more imaginative and offensive minded Golovkin. It doesn’t take a sophisticated boxing brain to deduce that if Lemieux attempts to go to war with Golovkin, he’ll get stopped. Lemieux has to walk a fine line between boxing and not running, and that’s not an easy fight plan to execute with a fighter like GGG breathing down your throat trying to ice you with every shot. Hopefully for Lemieux, he can generate enough power while keeping his feet moving to where Golovkin at least respects him and doesn’t go at him like he’s handcuffed.
The bottom line is….if Lemieux doesn’t have enough kick in his set-up jabs and uppercuts to earn Golovkin’s respect and moderately hold him off, he has no shot to beat him. At the end of the day, Lemieux must get Gennady’s respect, whether it’s by boxing him or going to war with him – or it’ll all be over but the shouting.
Frank Lotierzo can be contacted at GlovedFist@Gmail.com