I was going to pass this one bye altogether as I originally didn’t give the match up much credence when it was signed. It could have made a nice prelim going into this weekend’s Golovkin/Jacobs bout, but on its own merits it was as predictable as snow in the winter and main the reason I didn’t find time to cover it last week. I have to admit I was surprised at how many fans thought it was a pick-em’ fight. If you follow my column here you know I am fearless in handicapping fights and predicting outcomes.
With David Lemieux squaring off against Curtis Stevens I didn’t need to go back any further than their common opponent Gennady Golovkin in failed title attempts to get a sense of this bouts rhythm. Lemieux had only two other losses and has been more active. At 28, he is four years younger than Curtis and almost three inches taller. At middleweight, every advantage on paper means something.
Stevens entered the ring in excellent condition with a ledger of 34-5, 21 KO’s. He took all of 2015 off after suffering a UD loss at the hands of Hassan N’Dam.
While both fighters can brag over their respective ability and style they are considered more of talented brawlers than superior boxers. With that being said and the knowledge that Curtis isn’t fleet footed pitted this one ring center for as long as it would last. I assumed the masses understood this one was for David to lose as he wouldn’t have to look for Curtis and throws heavier leather. Some might argue his power is surpassed only by the man himself, “GGG”. In retrospect, a Jacobs defense against Lemieux would have given us a much better understanding of what to predict over this weekend’s title unification with Danny and Gennady.
Why? Did you happen to notice the first round last Saturday night? It was painfully obviously that David took a page out of his own loss to Golovkin and put it to work against Stevens. He worked behind a very heavy jab while cutting the ring into phone booth warfare. Every second jab was followed by a hard volley of punches with good balance and never neglecting to go downstairs to both sides with relentless pressure landing fifty percent of his punches. Both men tested each other’s beard early with David acting like he didn’t care knowing exactly how the bout would soon play out under his assault. Knowing it took a prime Golovkin 8 rounds to stop David, and the marginal similarity in power and style would have been a great barometer as to how Jacobs will fare in a few days.
The left hook that stopped Curtis instantly at the 2 minute mark of third round was the subject of fanfare all weekend. Roy Jones, JR. likened it to a Joe Louis left hook and rightfully so. I have been saying for years in Facebook forums that Joe’s left was a killer punch hidden inside a fifteen inch arch. Curiously it has not left the lasting impression of some of the modern day greats like Joe Frazier. What it did do was transform Max Kellerman from expert analysis into a beguiled fan. Max seemed so transfixed on the one punch knockout that he appeared almost as stunned as Curtis himself. When he went on to say he saw a lot of KO’s in his day and this one was as brutal as he’s seen I kind of chuckled to myself wondering if Max thought all the viewers were younger than his own 43 years. This wasn’t misrepresentation, but boxers get in the ring with the ultimate goal of knocking their opponent out. More puzzling was Jim Lampley’s fascination with Lemieux’s mid-section and what he referenced to several times as lacking muscle tone and perhaps lack of training. Hey Jim, this was contested at 160 pounds not heavyweight. Fighter’s rehydrate!
There was major concern as Stevens was unable to leave ring under his own power and taken out on his proverbial shield; a stretcher for safety measures and taken to hospital for observation. A dejected Stevens sent fans his best wishes from the hospital reassuring them he was alright and would be back.
If he gets clearance to continue, and truly wants to, Curtis needs to take a year off. Let his body and mind heal while making peace with the loss. If I was his corner, I’d bring him back in the gym in six months to keep sharp but away from sparring ten or eleven months. Good time to re-evaluate with a couple of tune ups before perusing a name contender. Even at that, some subtle cautious match making may be in order. No need to match him too quickly with another huge puncher anytime soon without a belt to defend.
Lemieux has several attractive options before him including catch weight king Canelo Alvarez and WBO champ Billy Joe Saunders. A smart move would be a tune up awaiting such a match and keeping himself in public’s eye.
The Real Deal…
This Saturday March 18th WBA champion Daniel Jacobs takes on multi title holder Gennady Golovkin at Madison Square Garden for middleweight supremacy. Both men need this victory to cement their legacy and not be thought of as second best.
As the months flew by with storied anticipation since the match was signed the last few weeks have spiraled into a frenzy with many fans backing the underdog Jacobs citing his exhilarating win last year over Peter Quillin.
The pressure mounting for this fight has caused both camps concern for making “the” statement that night. While my previously reported pick hasn’t changed, I sense the smell of war aloft in the air and it will hover inside the Garden until the first bell rings when both combatants will be on a mission to test the others mettle and gaining a psychological advantage. Be prepared for Hagler/Hearns 2.
Any way this bout plays out I give the predominant edge to “GGG”. You would think that Jacobs’ plan would be hand speed, movement and boxing. If he elects to go to war in round one he’s selling himself short on ring intelligence and acumen playing right into the Lion’s cage.
Lastly, a firestorm just came to my attention and I’m sure will infuriate boxers, writers and fans alike. Ring Magazine has just released its new issue and internet version of the same. Its middleweight rankings list “Catchweight King” Canelo Alvarez as middleweight champion even though he shamelessly dumped his WBC Belt last year rather than fight true long standing champion Gennady Golovkin. Gennady who is making his 18th defense this Saturday, has been trying in vain to get Canelo in ring for over three years and counting.
Point being, Ring Magazine is now owned by Sports and Entertainment Productions, LLC, which in turn is owned by private investors led by none other than Oscar De La Hoya himself who is the owner of Golden Boy Promotions and guiding factor in Canelo’s career. If this isn’t a blatant misuse of power and conflict of interest, I don’t know what is. Let me be frank here and propose it a different way. Oscar, what the fuck are you thinking by allowing that mag to shill for “your” fighter?
What happened to the scared writing and rankings that once captivated the world with its caption, “The Bible of Boxing”? Bullshit like this has reduced the quality of magazine to rag weed of the toilet paper variety. By your standards, Golovkin and Danny Jacobs are putting their belts and lives on the line in a few days for what? To still be reviewed on Sunday morning as the number 2 and 3 middleweights in the world while your so called champion gets to fight next month against an inactive overweight has been! One who has been plagued his entire career with complaints from trainers that he is lazy, spoiled, and another catchweight king who rarely bothers to play fair and make contracted weight.
I personally stopped buying the magazine years ago, for its inflated price of carrying month old news. Today, I ask my readership to boycott Ring Magazine until the time comes when it’s once again fair, and unbiased. If, by some small chance this rating happened to get by you unaware, then it’s high time for you to fire the staff and replace them with sane ones. The timing of the new rankings as the March 18th Super fight approaches is more than suspect and coincidental.
Stay tuned…Contact the Feature Writers