I just want to break his bones, David Lemieux says of Curtis Stevens bout

I just want to break his bones,  David Lemieux says of Curtis Stevens bout
David Lemieux won two bouts last year, including stopping Glen Tapia, right, in the fourth round in Las Vegas in May. Christian Petersen / Getty Images

In boxing, one’s never certain how much of the pre-fight enmity being expressed is merely hyperbole designed to sell tickets — or whether the two pugilists actually do hate each other.

In this case the promoters, including Oscar De La Hoya, the chief executive officer of Golden Boy, maintain this is no act; David Lemieux and Curtis Stevens aren’t faking the vitriol.

“I have nothing to prove. I just want to break his bones. I don’t want him to get knocked out too fast,” Laval’s Lemieux, the former International Boxing Federation middleweight champion, told the Montreal Gazette by telephone.

Lemieux, 36-3 with 32 knockouts, returns to the ring Saturday night, when he meets Stevens (29-5, 21 KOs) of Brownsville, N.Y., in the 12-round main event at the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, N.Y. The bout will be televised by HBO as part of its Boxing After Dark series.

“Just getting to know (Stevens) disgusts me. Just his being is repulsive to me. The way he has been acting on social media,” Lemieux said. “I’m going to make him pay.

“It’s already bothering me, just knowing the type of person he is. I feel like I have to do a good job destroying him,” the 28-year-old Lemieux continued. “I just find he’s a bum acting like this. I’m going to have to expose him.”

After a training session for the media in Laval Monday morning, Lemieux and his co-promoter, Montreal’s Camille Estephan, flew to New York for two days of publicity sessions and media interviews. The festering animosity between Lemieux and Stevens prompted the promoters to keep them separated inside a Manhattan restaurant, each speaking to reporters at different times.

“Stevens has all the wrong values,” Estephan claimed. “On top of that, he’s talking the way he is. David’s a gentleman. He doesn’t like this kind of thing. He wants to take care of it in the ring and teach him a lesson.

“These kind of emotions are actually more motivating for him. All that Stevens did is put himself in more trouble and motivate David even more.”

Lemieux captured the vacant IBF title in June 2015, scoring a unanimous decision against Hassan N’Dam at the Bell Centre. But then, inexplicably, Lemieux decided his first defence would come against the undefeated Gennady Golovkin, four months later at Madison Square Garden.

Golovkin dominated before stopping Lemieux in the eighth round of their unification title bout.

Lemieux fought twice last year, stopping Glen Tapia in the fourth round in Las Vegas before scoring a unanimous 10-round decision against Cristian Fabian Rios last October at the Bell Centre.

Lemieux, ranked third by the WBC, fourth by the WBO and sixth by the IBF, has worked diligently to rebuild his career. He’d eventually like a rematch against Golovkin, while Estephan has grand visions of a mega bout against WBO super-welterweight champ Canelo Alvarez.

“At this point, the world’s watching and they want to know what’s up? Where’s he going?” Lemieux said. “For me, putting a good mark against Stevens is going to get me back to where I want to be. This is what I’m here to do.

“I think I’m definitely back. I’m back and better. I’m strong and very dangerous. On Saturday, I’m going to show what I can do. You guys watch and see.”

The 31-year-old Stevens, like Lemieux, lasted eight rounds against Golovkin when they met in November 2013. Stevens also lost a 12-round decision to N’Dam in October 2014. But since then, he dispatched the previously undefeated Patrick Teixeira in the second round last May, following that up with a 10-round decision over James De La Rosa last November.

That makes him 4-1 since Golovkin, with three stoppages.

Stevens, like Lemieux, is a banger who comes straight ahead. Lemieux has forged a continual battle to improve his defence and has succumbed to weight issues in the past. But he said his camp has gone well, cutting weight a non-issue. He vowed, while laughing, to have no problem making 160 for the weigh-in, late Friday afternoon.

“I’ve been hit by harder and stronger opponents. I have no worries against him,” Lemieux said. “The preparation has been extremely good. It’s not going to be a problem. I’m going to be ready for whatever Stevens does.

“It’s going to be a nightmare for Stevens. I can promise the fans that. He’s too much of a coward to stay in the ring for 12 rounds. When it becomes too difficult, the balls go in him.”

If the two fighters embrace in the centre of the ring past midnight on Saturday — as we suspect will occur — we might have to suggest this was nothing more than fake news.
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