By Luke Furman

Former IBF middleweight champion David Lemieux (38-3, 33 KOs) can finally return to the gym. He got the green light from his doctors to resume training.

He was taking time off to fully heal a tear in one shoulder and a left hand injury that was sustained in his last fight, a ten round unanimous decision over Marcos Reyes, which took place in May as part of the Canelo Alvarez vs. Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. undercard at T-Mobile Arena in London.

He now plans to take the necessary time to get back in shape so that he's ready for a real challenge.

Lemieux believes that he made a big mistake by have two fights within a two month period with back to back training camps.

"I have learned that I can not do fights that close together at this stage in my career," Lemiuex said to TVA Sports.

At 28, he has already delivered 41 professional fights. The slugger has long lived with hand injuries, but now he tries to protect them better.

"When I went to see my doctor a year and a half ago, he looked at my hands and said - 'David, you have the hands of a man aged 70-80.'

Despite the risks of the trade, the Quebecer does not count to slow down.

"The glory will be worth 1000 times more than the little amount of pain there will be for the rest of my days," Lemieux said.

Lemieux admits that had to refuse an offer to take on WBO middleweight world champion Billy Joe Saunders on September 16. 

The Canadian puncher has other plans in mind.

"I really wanted to fight [Saunders], but the timing is not good for me because we are aiming for a bigger fight and the risks are high," Lemieux said.

The big fight has a name: Miguel Cotto (40-5, 33 KOs). This is Lemieux's top target.

Lemieux plans to be ringside in Los Angeles on August 26th at the StubHub Center, to watch Cotto fight Yoshihiro Kamegai for the vacant WBO junior middleweight title. Cotto recently signed a multi-fight deal with Golden Boy Promotions, who also handle Lemieux.

Luke Furman covers boxing for