This Saturday on June 20th, #4 IBF David Lemieux (33-2, 31 KOs) will be fighting for a world title for the first time in his eight year pro career against #1 IBF Hassan N’Dam (31-1, 18 KOs) for the vacant IBF middleweight title at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada. The Lemieux vs. N’Dam fight will be televised on Fox Sports 2 and Fox Deportes.
Lemieux’s management has slowly been bringing him back since his losses to Marco Antonio Rubio and Joachim Alcine in 2011. Lemieux has since won his last eight fights against weak B and C level opposition. He hasn’t really been tested until now. N’Dam isn’t quite A-level in terms of talent, but he’s a good B level guy with excellent hand speed, and good mobility.
If Lemieux isn’t able to get to N’Dam, he could be in for the same kind of fight he had against Alcine in 2011. N’Dam will look to use a lot of movement to out-box Lemieux, and keep him from getting close enough to land his shots.
Lemieux stands to gain a lot if he wins this fight. He could be in line for an eventual fight against Saul “Canelo” Alvarez if he gets past Miguel Cotto later this year. Lemieux also would have the option of fighting WBA middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin in a unification bout this year, as long as Golden Boy Promotions were on board with that fight. They might prefer to use Lemieux for Canelo. It wouldn’t be good for them to put Lemieux in with Golovkin first and watch him get destroyed. They kind of need him for Canelo because there’s not a lot of options for Canelo for big money fights once he gets past Cotto.
Of course, there’s Golovkin, but that would be like touching the third rail and I don’t think Golden Boy promoter Oscar De La Hoya wants that. It’s better to keep Canelo in fights where he has a high chance of winning rather than ones where he has a high chance of losing. Lemieux is a big enough puncher to give Canelo a lot of headaches if Canelo can’t get him out of there quickly.
Lemieux first has to get past N’Dam before he starts looking for bigger fights. The 5’11” N’Dam has the height advantage over the 5’9” Lemieux, as well as the reach. But it’s clear that N’Dam will need to stay on the move for the entire fight because if he stops for a second too long and it could be all over. All Lemieux needs is one big punch and he’ll have N’Dam out on his feet.
Peter Quillin dropped N’Dam six times in their fight in 2012, a fight in which N’Dam lost by a 12 round decision. N’Dam couldn’t take Quillin’s power at all in that fight. Each time Quillin landed anything hard, N’Dam was on the canvas. The only reason Quillin didn’t score a knockout was because he didn’t fight with any urgency after each time he knocked N’Dam down.