Madison Square Garden, New York, Oct. 17
TV: HBO Pay-Per-View
By Peter Lim
Looking at the combatants' impressive knockout percentages, one would be inclined to buy into the Fight-of-the-Year hype that the promoters have dished out. But in reality, Lemieux (34-2, 31 KOs) is just a lamer, tamer version of Golovkin (33-0, 30 KOs) and this will be a one-sided affair. Triple G built his dossier against a much higher caliber of opponents than Lemieux.
Lemieux's deficiencies in punch resistance and ring generalship were exposed in back-to-back losses to Marco Antonio Rubio and Jaochim Alcine in 2011. Rubio, who Golovkin annihilated in two rounds, lived up to his role as gatekeeper by weathering Lemieux's onslaught and stopping him. In Lemieux's next fight, he was outmaneuvered by Alcine, a natural 154-pounder several years past his prime. Granted, since his disastrous 2011, Lemieux is 9-0 and has developed better skills and patience, but he is still nowhere close to the composite war machine that is Golovkin.
Lemieux hits hard enough to have a puncher's chance of victory, but short of catching Golovkin napping, it will be all Kazakh and no Cunuck. Golovkin will read the cheaper knockoff of himself like a book from the opening bell and have the discretion of ending it early or late, depending on his mood.
My guess is, Golovkin will err on the side of caution and end it as soon as the opportunity presents itself. Unlike his most recent opponents, Lemieux packs the firepower to render anyone unconscious so Golovkin will not risk toying with the Canadian like he did against Willie Monroe and Martin Murray. He will sap Lemieux of his strength with a few strategic body shots before separating him from his senses in the third round.
I haven't seen anyone dominate rounds with just the jab and deploy it as an instrument of prolonged torture since Larry Holmes in his heyday. This was such a style mismatch that from a military standpoint, it resembled a tough and grizzled master sergeant trying to outmaneuver and overpower a decorated brigadier general on the battlefield.