On the Canelo Alvarez-Amir Khan pay-per-view Saturday night, former IBF middleweight champion David Lemieux returned to action for the first time since getting knocked out last October by Gennady Golovkin. His opponent was former junior middleweight prospect Glen Tapia.
I was never a fan of this matchup, since the moment it was announced. Lemieux is an explosive, big-puncher in his prime. If he didn’t have the misfortune of entering his best years at the same time that Gennady Golovkin was dominating the scene, Lemieux would have a very good chance at developing into a big box office attraction, at least in his native Montreal. HBO’s Harold Lederman called him “The French Rocky Graziano” during his most recent bout. I actually think that’s an outstanding assessment of Lemieux.
And that’s putting Lemieux in some very nice company.
Glen Tapia is actually a year younger than David Lemieux, but he’s not in remotely the same place in his career. Three years ago, he was a good-looking prospect at junior middleweight. He had a nice amateur career and won his first 20 professional fights. He was a guy with obvious, world-class talent.
But boxing is a cruel sport, and reality, literally, drills you hard in the face and torso when you compete in that sport. If Tapia was a baseball player, he’d be a guy who came up with some buzz, had a few decent years in the line up and settled into being a platoon or utility player. There would be plenty of room for him on a line up.
In boxing, though, you don’t strike out. You don’t go “o-for-20.” You don’t stumble after a fly ball. If you fail in boxing, you suffer head trauma.
When Glen Tapia fought James Kirkland in December 2013, he took one of the worst beating of recent years. He showed tremendous heart and never went down, but he took far too much punishment before finally losing in Round 6 of a fight he had no chance of winning.
Tapia lost by TKO for a second time against Michel Soro, less than a year ago. Once more, it was a brutal exhbition, as Tapia stayed upright and got battered.
So I wasn’t crazy about the idea of watching Lemieux fight a slugger like Lemieux. And for the first three rounds of their fight, Tapia took nothing but abuse, while handing back nothing in return. When Tapia went down hard in Round 4, his corner threw in the towel, rather than let him continue.
I’ve seen fans on social media complaining about this as a “quick stoppage.” I saw one moron post that a fight should only be ended when a fighter in “unable to physically continue.”
That’s a frankly barbaric attitude to take. A fight should end when one man has taken too much punishment and/or it is obvious that he cannot win. Tapia has taken career-damaging punishment on two occasions already. Against Lemieux, he was showing nothing but an ability to take more punishment.
It was an absolutely appropriate stoppage. Nobody who cared about the man could have seen it any other way.