Lemieux is finally headed up to super middleweight.
Former middleweight titleholder David Lemieux has had trouble making weight at 160 recently. He missed weight but still fighting Karim Achour in May 2018, after which it was reported that he would move up, but he didn’t, staying at 160 to knock out Spike O’Sullivan in September.
In December, he had to be hospitalized trying to make weight, and his fight against Tureano Johnson was pulled a day before it was set to be part of the Canelo-Rocky undercard. That may have cost Lemieux more than just the December payday, as it was assumed by most that with a win over Johnson, he would be Canelo’s May 4 opponent, as the company had made clear that they weren’t looking for Alvarez to face Daniel Jacobs next. When Lemieux fell through, Jacobs became really their only option, and we got that fight.
But now, Lemieux is looking set to officially move up to super middleweight for a fight with John Ryder on the Canelo-Jacobs card in Las Vegas, which will stream live on DAZN. The fight was first rumored in January, and now looks like it’s a done deal, or close enough that everyone has confidence it will be soon.
Lemieux (40-4, 34 KO) has had a somewhat rocky career, but his huge punching power at middleweight has kept him in the game. On his way up, he was exposed a bit in back-to-back 2011 losses to Marco Antonio Rubio and Joachim Alcine, but bounced back to win nine fights over the next four years, and grabbed the IBF middleweight title with a win over Hassan N’dam in 2015.
He tried to unify with Gennady Golovkin in Oct. 2015, and was soundly beaten, stopped in the eighth round. After four more wins, he got another title shot, and Billy Joe Saunders boxed circles around him in Dec. 2017. At the moment, he’s won the two straight over Achour and O’Sullivan.
Ryder (27-4, 15 KO) is a decent enough first opponent at super middleweight, but also on paper is the level opponent that Lemieux has generally been able to muscle right through in the past. He’s a former British title challenger at both 160 and 168, losing at 160 to Billy Joe Saunders and Nick Blackwell, and at 168 to Rocky Fielding in 2013, 2015, and 2017. He also dropped a decision to Jack Arnfield in 2016.
Ryder has made himself a ranked contender at super middleweight, and was thought to be in line for a shot at Callum Smith’s WBA “super world” title. This fight with Lemieux is rumored to be for either for the WBA “world” title that Canelo Alvarez won from Rocky Fielding in December, which could be vacated by Alvarez, or a WBA interim title, which makes tons of sense, obviously, if there are already two titleholders in a division from one sanctioning body.
At the moment, Ryder is on a three-fight win streak, stopping Patrick Nielsen, Jamie Cox, and Andrey Sirotkin, all decent enough wins.
As for the Canelo-Jacobs card, right now we know that we’ll have this fight, prospect Vergil Ortiz Jr is lined up for a bout, Joseph Diaz Jr is probably fighting on the card (maybe against Scott Quigg, maybe not), and Bilal Akkawy has been reported for the show, too.