Gennady Golovkin celebrates his eighth round tko against David Lemieux during their WBA/WBC interim/IBF middleweight title unification bout at Madison Square Garden (Getty)
The end came in the eighth frame, with referee Steve Willis having seen Lemieux take enough punishment and calling an end to the contest at 1’32” into the round. Lemieux had been down on the mat once earlier in the fight, during the fifth round. After seven full rounds, all three judges’ scorecards read 70-62.
“I feel like the referee called the fight too early,” said Lemieux during his post-fight interview. “I am fine. When he stopped it I wasn’t even on the mat, I can keep going.”
Golovkin (34-0, 31 KOs) was in the driver’s seat from the opening bell– working behind a heavy jab that rocked Lemieux’s head back like a power shot, and controlling the action and real estate with no regard for his opponent’s skills. Lemieux (34-3, 31 KOs), on the other hand, was never able to establish his distance, and found himself punching air and on the defense throughout the encounter.
“I feel great, it was a great fight,” said Golovkin. “I felt his power, but I was strong tonight and my punches hurt him.”
Punchstats had Golovkin landing 280 out of 549 punches thrown (an incredible 51%); Lemieux landed 89 out of 335.
Watch the Golovkin jab in action as he uses it to set up a right hand:
The first round open the fight with both fighters meeting in the middle of the ring and testing their jabs and distance. Golovkin established his jab early on, but Lemieux kept his distance and winged shots. Golovkin kcontinued the jab attack going into the second round and started opening up with hooks and combinations.
Lemieux came out punching in the third round and found some success during the installment and pressuring GGG into the ropes. But Golovkin took control of the action with his stiff jab and hooks to the body, and Lemieux backed off and gave him more room.
Two hooks from Golovkin opened the fourth installment and he went back to work with his jab, pressuring Lemieux into the ropes and unloading with combinations to the head and body.
Watch Golovkin score with a perfect left hook:
Fifth round, the Golovkin jab continued to control the fight but more and more power shot began being thrown into the mix. A right to Lemieux’s body, which he thought was too low, put him on the mat for the only time in the bout, and the Canuck barely made it out of the round.
Golovkin came looking to close out the show in the next round, landing two huge rights to open the installment. Lemieux attempted to get inside where he could mount an attack, but Golovkin’s jab was in full effect and turned Lemieux out at the door.
In the seventh round, a bloody-faced Lemieux landed with lefts to the body but, again, it was all Golovkin, serving offense against the ropes and working the head and the body
The final round of the fight kept the trend going, GGG jabs, Lemieux too far to land. A GGG jab opened up Lemieux to a beautiful right hand, and the, ref seeing the opportunity to save Lemieux from taking any more punishment, stopped the fight.
“David is very competitive fighter and as long as he was able to throw punches he was going to keep on trying but his chances of winning were decreasing as the fight went on,” said referee Steve Willis after the fight. “Against a guy like [Golovkin] he was going to get really hurt and I’m here to protect the fighter’s health and that’s my top priority “
With the win, GGG not only extends his unbeaten and knockout streaks, but also walks away with Lemieux’s IBF world middleweight title. Although recently voted the number four boxer on Ring Magazine’s pound for pound list, the much-avoided Gennady Golovkin had yet to find a top-tiered opponent willing to truly test what fans consider to be the most complete package in the sport today. However, after Lemieux’s ineffective performance on Saturday, the calls for tougher opposition are likely to continue.
But with the winner of Saturday’s fight expected to take on the winner of the upcoming Canelo Alvarez vs. Miguel Cotto matchup, GGG lines himself up for a true major title unification and a shot at cementing his place at the top of the middleweight division.
“I want all the belts, now I have two,” said Golovkin when asked what was next for him. “The winner of Cotto/Canelo for sure. I’m not sure who will win that fight, but I want to fight the winner next.”
Golovkin, 33 years old, entered Saturday’s fight coming off a sixth-round stoppage win over Willie Monroe Jr. in May. GGG holds recent victories over Martin Murray, Marco Antonio Rubio, and Daniel Geale.
Fighting out of Montreal, Quebec, 26-year-old bruiser David Lemieux had made his American ring debut in December 2014 with a brutal 10th-round TKO victory over Gabriel Rosado at the Barclays Arena in Brooklyn. He followed that fight by putting Hassan N’Dam down four times on his way to unanimous decision win in June, which landed him Saturday’s gig facing GGG.
On the co-main event, Roman Gonzalez successfully defended his perfect record by stopping Brian Viloria in the ninth round of their scheduled 12-rounder; Luis Ortiz knocked out Argentine Matias Vidondo in the third round; and kicking off the broadcast, Tureano Johnson out-punched and outpointed Eamonn O’Kane.