By Keith Idec
LAS VEGAS – The last time an opponent provoked David Lemieux this way, Lemieux knocked Curtis Stevens unconscious.
Lemieux told BoxingScene.com following a press conference Thursday that Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan has angered him even more than Stevens irritated him before their March 2017 fight. O’Sullivan called Lemieux “a greasy piece of sh*t” twice during the Canelo Alvarez-Gennady Golovkin undercard press conference at MGM Grand and lightly head-butted Lemieux when they went face-to-face for promotional photographs.
“The same thing will happen to him that happened to Stevens,” Lemieux said. “I want him more than I did Curtis Stevens. I’m in better shape than I ever was against Curtis Stevens, on top of it. I know he’s a tough guy, but I’m gonna rip him apart.”
Lemieux’s left hook knocked out Brooklyn’s Stevens in the third round of their fight 18 months ago at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York. Stevens was removed from the ring on a stretcher that night and Lemieux said following that vicious conclusion that Stevens got what he deserved for his disrespectful taunts.
The former IBF middleweight champion wants to beat the 34-year-old O’Sullivan in a similar manner Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena.
“Stevens just trash-talked, but he’s getting too trash-talky for nothing,” Lemieux said of O’Sullivan. “You can see he’s getting emotional. I’m the third real middleweight he’s gonna fight [after Chris Eubank Jr. and Billy Joe Saunders]. His last fight was against a welterweight [Berlin Abreu] and his fight [before that] was against Antoine Douglas, who didn’t even pass his medical tests. And we saw what happened when the stakes got too complicated for him against Eubanks Jr. He quit. So we’ll see what happens on Saturday night.” Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York
Montreal’s Lemieux (39-4, 33 KOs) took particular offense to Ireland’s O’Sullivan (28-2, 20 KOs) bumping his head into Lemieux’s forehead.
“I told him, ‘Don’t f*cking touch me,’ so I pushed him back,” Lemieux said. “I’m gonna touch him plenty on Saturday, so just keep cool, buddy, unless you wanna fight here and then we cancel the fight. Keep it professional. We’ll fight Saturday.”
The 29-year-old Lemieux believes O’Sullivan’s behavior at the press conference showed a lack of confidence.
“I’m a professional,” Lemieux said. “I keep it calm. I have animosity inside me towards him because of who he is, but I know how to control myself. But, you know, you can see he’s scared and he doesn’t know how to control himself. That’s why he’s acting the way he is. A real professional doesn’t act like that. Keep it cool, keep it business. Saturday night, we’re gonna fight. Why are you pushing and bumping here?
“Saturday is the time to fight. We’re gonna have plenty of time to fight, and nobody’s gonna stop it. Like if we fight here, they’re gonna all jump in and it’s gonna take a few seconds. Saturday, we have 12 rounds. Relax. And we don’t get paid here.”
Lemieux-O’Sullivan has been sanctioned as a WBA middleweight elimination match. It’ll be part of HBO’s four-fight telecast, which is scheduled to start at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on Saturday ($84.99 in HD).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.