On any occasion outside of the top level of the sport, David Lemieux can count on his left hook to bail him out of most situations.
The former middleweight titlist from Montreal picked up his fourth straight victory following a 5th round knockout of Francy Ntetu in their super middleweight battle Saturday evening at Centre Gervais Auto in Shawinigan, Canada. Lemieux’s vaunted left hook was responsible for the fight’s conclusion, catching Ntetu along the ropes to put him down and out for the night.
Lemieux entered the ring for the first time in 2020, having officially weighed a career heaviest and visibly fleshy 167¼ pounds for the occasion. His physique and performance were a far cry from his more competitive years as a major player in the middleweight division.
It was ultimately enough to get the job done versus Ntetu, a 38-year old Congolese journeyman—now based in Quebec—with minimal power or punch resistance. Lemieux asserted himself from the beginning, scoring with right hands upstairs and the occasional left to keep Ntetu on unsteady legs.
A major scare was averted in round four, when generous officiating got in the way of what actually took place in the ring. Lemieux was on the attack, connecting with an overhand right and left hook only for Ntetu to regain his composure and connect with a straight right to put Lemieux on the canvas. For reasons only the referee can explain (but likely will not), the sequence was waved off as a slip.
It ultimately proved moot as Lemieux would close the show one round later.
Ntetu was forced to clinch after nearly every overhand right which crashed home on his chin. Lemieux also made sure to touch the body on occasion, including the fight ending sequence in setting up a left hook to send Ntetu (17-4, 4KOs) staggering backwards into the ropes and onto the canvas.
Lemieux advances to 42-4 (35KOs) with the win, his fourth in a row since a lopsided 12-round loss to then-unbeaten middleweight titlist Billy Joe Saunders in December 2017. The knockout is his first since icing Ireland’s Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan in their September 2018 meeting in Las Vegas, and his first in his home country in more than six years.
On the undercard, Arslanbek Makhmudov needed just 0:27 to keep his perfect knockout to win ratio intact. The Montreal-based Russian slugger claimed Ontario’s Dillon Carman (14-6, 13KOs) as his latest victim.
A compact left hook by Makhmudov (11-0, 11KOs) did the damage, with Carman hitting the deck and struggling to maintain his balance while taking a mandatory eight count. Referee Alain Villenueve didn’t like the body language, stopping the fight despite an oversold protest from Carman who clearly couldn’t continue.
The win is just three seconds shy of Makhmudov’s quickest night in the office, which came in his December 2017 pro debut. Makhmudov has now scored eight 1st round knockouts through 11 pro fights, including his quick hit of aged former heavyweight titlist Samuel Peter last December in Montreal.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox