Eye of the Tiger Management head Camille Estephan has had preliminary discussions for a potential September showdown between David Lemieux and Canelo Alvarez.
Estephan co-promotes Lemieux (41-4, 34 KOs) along with Golden Boy, and he believes the former middleweight champion would provide Alvarez (53-1-2, 36 KOs) the toughest challenge from the current pool of non-title opponents that are being considered.
“We had exploratory talks, and nothing since then in regard to Canelo. We’ll have to see if the level of interest is there from Canelo to fight Lemieux. Canelo is the top fighter in the world, and he picks and chooses whoever he wants to fight,” Estephan told BoxingScene.com in an interview.
“It’s not about money. We haven’t talked about numbers yet. If Canelo is willing and wants to fight David, we will talk further. The way I see it, in a logical way, he’s probably thinking, ‘why would I fight a power puncher like him? I don’t need that.’ Canelo gets hit. He likes to exchange, and his defense has improved tremendously. I don’t see any non-champion being a threat to Canelo. At least with David, we know it could be lights out with one punch.”
Ever since Billy Joe Saunders pulled himself out of the running to face Alvarez, a pack of crownless opponents like Sergiy Derevyanchenko, Anthony Dirrell, Tureano Johnson, Jason Quigley and John Ryder have been considered for a super middleweight clash with Canelo. WBA champion Callum Smith appears to be a dark horse opponent, too, since Golden Boy has communicated that purses for a crowdless Alvarez fight will affect all parties — including Alvarez.
Estephan expressed that although Lemieux looked lackluster shaking off ring rust in December, suffering two knockdowns before scoring a split decision win over Maksym Bursak, he still serves as a serious threat to Alvarez.
Lemieux has wins over Hassan N'Dam, Gabriel Rosado, Curtis Stevens, Spike O'Sullivan and Glen Tapia but has lost to the likes of Saunders and Gennadiy Golovkin once the quality of opposition has improved.
“Davis is in the prime of his career at the age 31 and massively built. But let’s be honest, we haven’t had it easy. He had missteps before with weight issues, and it cost us a lot,” said Estephan.
“If David hits you, you’re going to go down, no matter who you are. He’s such a risky fight for Canelo. I think David can knock him out. I don’t know if Canelo would want to fight him. I’m not sure. If David catches him with a solid punch, he could be dropped. I don’t think he wants that risk, unfortunately. It would be an intriguing fight for the fans. David is never, ever, in a boring fight. He has the power and explosion to knock out anybody on any given night.”
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist and member of the Boxing Writers Assn. of America since 2011. He has written for the likes of the LA Times, Guardian, USA Today, Philadelphia Inquirer, Men’s Health and NFL.com. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan or via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com.