There have been some problems getting this fight together, promotionally – and with the rankings systems – but it would finally appear that the big punching Canadian David Lemieux (33-2, 31ko) and teak-tough Frenchman Hassan N’Dam (31-1, 18ko) are finally going to get it on – June 20, in Montreal, Quebec Canada.
For the French-Canadian fans it will certainly be a huge affair and a great fight stylistically with this fight representing the new Golden Boy Promotions signing attempting to make the jump from serious contender to bone-fide world champion.
Lemieux had a promising start to his explosive career, knocking out all in his way until the wheels fell off in 2011 when he was stopped by his corner against Mexican veteran Marco Antonio Rubio. In his follow up fight he the dropped a decision to countryman Joachim Alcine who incidentally, Birmingham’s Matthew Macklin knocked out inside a round in his very next fight.
Lemieux was slammed following the losses and his status as a prospect questioned along with his engine and ability to adapt and think in a fight that isn’t going all his own way. He proved that movement troubles him and his defence needed tightening. It was the worst year of his career.
Since then the now 26 year old Canadian has been fighting low-key opposition and maturing in what were essentially confidence building bouts, until he captured the NABF 160lb strap by dominating Fernando Guerrero a year ago. Following that breaking out of Canada as it were with his dust up with Philadelphia’s Gabriel Rosado last December on HBO.
After decking the tailor made Rosado with one of his signature left-hooks in the 3rd round, Lemieux continued to beat up on Gabriel who through trading with him, ended up with a gradually swelling eye that come the rightful stoppage, was completely closed.
It was a great performance, admittedly, yet despite his entertainment value – Rosado is a pretty limited fighter, who stupidly wanted to trade – a bad move with a fighter of Lemieux’s power.
Hassan N’Dam won’t do that. I think that’s safe to say. He announced himself in the six knockdown thriller against Peter Quillin back in 2012 as one of the gamest fighters I’ve ever seen. In a thrilling scrap, the Frenchman – who hit the deck ALL 6 times – would simply not be denied. He is awkward and slick as they come and a real mover – all of which could potentially be a massive problem for Lemieux.
He is exactly the sort of fighter who will want to take Lemieux into deep water and – one senses – should he get caught himself as he often has – he possesses the heart to withstand it. And he carries a reasonable degree of power himself – enough to get David’s respect at least.
Peter Quillin is a very good fighter. He remains N’Dam’s only defeat.
N’Dam’s last fight was an IBF eliminator against a Lemieux type fighter who likes to come forward in Curtis Stevens last October. The Frenchman was excellent, running rings around the smaller man, moving in and out of range fantastically, eventually dropping the American in the 8th round en-route to out-classing the Stevens and getting the decision. He was caught himself few times mind you but was never in serious trouble throughout.
For me this fight is a real pick-em. It’s essentially a classic Boxer v Puncher narrative but it is certainly going to be interesting to see what each man brings on fight night. Golden Boy and Oscar De La Hoya are already planning to mould Lemieux into something of a Canadian Canelo Alvarez – commercially at least – although it is obviously very, very early days.
With his poster boy looks and massive appeal back home in Quebec – where he is already a huge star – June 20th and this dangerous fight with N’Dam represent a critical juncture in Lemieux’s career and Golden Boy’s hopes for him as a cross-over star.
Of this fight with N’Dam and his hopes for selling it to the Canadian fans, De La Hoya said at the announcement;
“David Lemieux v Hassan N’Dam will be an action packed fight the fans in Montreal will be excited to see for the coveted, vacant IBF middleweight title. Hassan and David are both elite fighters in the division – both former and current title holders with fighting styles that will keep the fans on the edge of their seats.”
Following on from the success of last weekends entertaining Canelo-Kirkland slugfest, De La Hoya said;
“This is just the kind of fight boxing needs to have (more) of. The fans want action and both Hassan and David are sure to deliver that.”
I’m inclined to agree with him. I just hope it gets the attention from the fans it deserves.
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