Photo: Lina Baker
As long as someone who doesn’t punch as hard as Gennady Golovkin is in the ring with David Lemieux 35-3 (32KO’s) he’s pretty damn impressive. Glen “Jersey Boy” Tapia 23-3 (15KO’s) had little to offer in terms of resistance against the Canadian bruiser during the four rounds of action it lasted as the co-main event of Canelo VS Khan.
Lemieux didn’t do anything tricky or crafty, he merely overwhelmed Tapia (who came up in weight from 154) with power. Firing a jab then following up with hard straight right hands to the body and head, it was clear from the first seconds that the fight wouldn’t last the distance as Tapia looked slow on his feet.
In the fourth round Lemieux landed a hard left hook that dropped Tapia for the first time in his career. Tapia would beat the count but trainer Freddie Roach had seen enough and motioned to referee Russel Mora to stop the fight at :56 of the fourth round.
“He was getting hit too much. He wasn’t doing what we planned to do and when I saw him go down, I knew what I had to do to protect my fighter. He was taking too many punches.” Said Roach after the fight.
“It proves all the doubters that Lemieux is back. When I first got offered this fight, I knew that it wasn’t going to be easy. We made sure to have the best training camp possible and within the first round I knew I was dominating. I knew after the first round that I would knock him out. I’m ready to be among the best in the middleweight division and become a world champion again.” Said Lemieux following the fight.
The wins for both Lemieux and Curtis Stevens earlier in the evening could produce a matchup between two hard punching fighters that would undoubtedly produce fireworks.
Frankie Gomez 21-0 (13KO’s) appears to have arrived to the big time with a dominant unanimous decision victory over crafty veteran and cult fan favorite Mauricio Herrera 22-6 (7KO’s). Gomez was faster and stronger than any amount of veteran tactic Herrera could produce and shut him out on the scorecards with 100-90 reflected on all three.
Gomez showed good poise and a new dedication to his fitness, a subject that has long been under scrutiny after coming in 6.5 pounds over for a fight against Humberto Soto last year on the Canelo vs Kirkiland undercard that was canceled because of his inability to make the weight. Subsequent performances at smaller venues like the Fantasy Springs Casino in Indio California saw the fighter from East Los Angeles (an area with a deep boxing history) come in better shape during each outing.
The big question answered was if Gomez could rise to the occasion for a big card and take his future by the reigns. For the time being, the answer is yes and Gomez sets himself up for fights against bigger opponents in the future. Herrera takes a step backward and looked old, the craftiness expected to befuddle the young gun Gomez was nowhere to be found and he could find himself in professional gatekeeper land soon.
If you were looking solely at the odds, Patrick Teixeira 26-1 (22KO’s) was anywhere from a -165 to -200 favorite to win over Curtis “The Cerebral Assassin” Stevens 28-5 (20KO’s). That version of the future was not in the cards.
Teixeira, from Brazil was untested at the higher levels of the middleweight division and it showed as Stevens timed him with a beauty of a right hand in the second round to send him down hard. Teixeira would beat the count but was on unsteady legs, prompting referee Tony Weeks to call a halt to the fight at 2:07 in the second stanza.
The win puts what appeared to be a rejuvenated and newly aggressive Stevens back into the landscape of a red hot middleweight division. “I feel great to get back into the game after my one and a half year break. I really want Lemieux, but I will take whatever I can get. My head is right, and I’m ready to take on whoever.” Said a confident Stevens after the fight.