Lemieux-Stevens: High Stakes, Bad Blood
This weekend’s middleweight fight between David Lemieux and Curtis Stevens is an intriguing warmup for the middleweight fights on the horizon, for several reasons. The winner will set himself up for a big fight against one of the top champions this year, and Lemieux and Stevens cannot stand each other.
That became apparent quickly during the pre-fight conference call last week. Lemieux (36-3) and Stevens (29-5) had called each other out before the fight had been announced, but the bad blood will apparently carry them all the way into the ring.
"I’m going to destroy Curtis," Lemieux said early in the call. "Training camp is going great, and I’m ready for war. Let’s go, bum. Let’s see how tough you are in the ring."
"You ain’t never fight nobody like me," Stevens said. "The difference is I fought a million yous. You never fought someone like me."
"I’m going to destroy you. March 11th."
If it seems like this is more than just a fight for Stevens and Lemieux, that’s because of the stakes involved. A week after these two middleweights fight in Verona, NY, Gennady Golovkin and Danny Jacobs will face off in a high-profile pay-per-view title fight. Two months later, the sport’s top star Canelo Alvarez will fight Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. in what will be an even bigger event.
The winner of Lemieux vs. Stevens is poised for a big fight against the likes of Golovkin or Canelo down the line. That means a high-profile bout, a bigger paycheck, and if it’s Golovkin, the chance at redemption: both Lemieux and Stevens have lost to the Kazakh champion in prior fights.
Given the pressure and spotlight on this fight, some would expect the boxers to fight cautiously. For Lemieux and Stevens, that is not an option. Both boxers are known for their forward-pressing, aggressive styles. Coupled with their hatred for one another, this fight is almost guaranteed to be a back-and-forth brawl and one that likely does not go to the judges’ scorecards.
Both fighters are aware of the type of fight that they’re about to get into, and each man is embracing it.
"This is what I want," Lemieux told Stevens. "I want you to come like a raging bull. I want you to come like a raging bull, champ. Come."
With neither man willing to back down, either verbally or in the ring, Lemieux vs. Stevens is poised to be a Fight of the Year candidate. For however long it lasts — both men feel confident that they will knock the other out before the final bell.
"Tell the doctor to bring the smelling salts," Stevens said. "They’re going to need to wake your ass up."
"Yeah, yeah, ok," Lemieux said in response. "You’re going to get knocked out."
The highly anticipated grudge match between David Lemieux and Curtis Stevens takes place on March 11 at the Turning Stone Casino in Verona, New York.