So far in this decade, Gennady Golovkin has been the sport’s most avoided fighter. Sergio Martinez didn’t want any part of GGG when he reigned as the lineal champion at 160 pounds and Miguel Cotto has been no more anxious to face the Kazakhstan native since deposing of Martinez last year.
While Golovkin has been able to turn himself into the hottest fighter in the sport, on the strength of his dominant, 20-fight knockout streak, fans have still longed to see him matched up with another true star. But the established stars have wanted no part of him.
But while the big names were avoiding Golovkin, David Lemieux was busy making a name of his own. In June, Lemieux knocked down Hassan N’Dam four times in the most exciting ring war of 2015 to date, capturing the vacant IBF world title.
Although just 26, Lemieux had already emerged as a hot prospect in 2010. Then, in 2011, he suffered two straight setbacks, against Marco Antonio Rubio and Joachim Alcine. But he’s re-grouped strongly, winning nine straight fights, seven by knockout.
The fight will mark GGG’s pay-per-view debut. Lemieux will be a definite underdog with Vegas heading into this bout, but he also presents the most dangerous offensive opponent Golovkin has faced. GGG has not been a difficult opponent to hit during his career, so Lemieux should get some opportunities to crack him hard. Lemieux will want to seize the momentum when he gets it.
This should be one of two major fights in the middleweight division this coming fall. Miguel Cotto vs. Saul Alvarez has been talked about as a “done-deal” for weeks now. That superfight will be a pay-per-view event, as well.
Facing Cotto will give the red-headed Mexican superstar an opportunity to seize the lineal middleweight championship, along with the WBC strap. Meanwhile, the winner of Golovkin and Lemieux will walk away with the IBF and WBA straps.
It’s always dangerous to get too far ahead of yourself in boxing. But at long last, it does look like a mini-tournament at middleweight could actually be falling into place.