Did David Lemieux need extra motivation for his major fight against David Benavidez? Never mind. He had it anyway.

Her son Xander was born last Sunday. This is his third child, after Lilyanna and Leon, but his first with former diver Jennifer Abel.

“He needs food on the table,” Lemieux said during an open media practice on Thursday. That’s how I earn my bread. By boxing. I’ve been doing this since I was nine. I really want to win this fight. »

The Quebec pugilist was still sweating after spending about thirty minutes in the ring and in front of the punching bags.

The journalists had come to meet him at the boxing academy of Marc Ramsay, his trainer, north of Jarry Park in Montreal. Where he spent most of his training camp.

Lemieux (43-4, 36 KOs) faces Benavidez (25-0, 22 KOs) on May 21, in Glendale. At stake at Gila River Arena, legendary home of the Coyotes until this year: the interim WBC super middleweight title.

But the carrot that hangs at the end of the stick is above all the possibility that the winner has of facing Canelo Alvarez for the title of world champion in the category.

After its last years of “restructuring”, according to Lemieux, the stakes are high. How does he experience the birth of his child, a few days before one of the most important fights of his career?

“My wife is strong in please! He says, grateful. I’m happy to have a woman like Jennifer Abel who is 100% looking after the child right now, because she understands the importance of this fight. She was also an athlete. »

“The important thing is really that the baby came before, so that I was there at the delivery. This task has been done. Now we’re on to serious business, and that’s May 21. We have to concentrate and bring this victory. »

David Lemieux has said it many times: his concentration is “not at all” affected by his most recent life event.

Marc Ramsay, who sees him daily, agrees.

“David is someone who gives his full potential all the time,” said the coach. […] It can become a motivation or it can become a distraction. »

“It’s just about putting it to our advantage. So far, it’s only positive. »

If things don’t go as he wishes during the fight, will he spare a thought for his young family?

“No, I’ll think about ripping his head off,” he says, a smile on his face. There are no children, there is nothing. It’s me against him. In the ring, that’s business. It’s all or nothing. This is how I’m going to be on May 21. »

David Benavidez is the big favourite, no doubt about it. He is a young 25-year-old boxer who is still undefeated. Who has the wind in their sails. And who will fight at home in Phoenix.

“Yeah, we’re underdogs,” concedes Marc Ramsay.

“It’s still a battle. On the given evening, it must be done. That’s what we do it for, the fight. If I compare it a bit to hockey: the Toronto Maple Leafs, year after year, it doesn’t work. And then you’re like, okay, this year, we’re putting our foot down and doing it. We are always in this spirit, us. »

“It’s a big challenge, we all know it,” says the Quebec boxer. But in front of him, there is David Lemieux. David Lemieux is hungry. »

David Lemieux is also 33 years old. He has had 47 professional fights. He can now be considered a veteran. If this fight can truly launch Benavidez’s career, it could certainly relaunch Lemieux’s. Or, in case of defeat, put other obstacles in it.

In other words: for Quebecers, is it make or break?

“I’m in the ring to put on a good show,” he replies, a bit stung. It is not in the world to say if it passes or it breaks. »

Let’s remember the facts, then. David Lemieux suffered a tough loss to Billy Joe Saunders at Place Bell in 2017. He missed the opportunity to grab the WBO welterweight belt. Since then, he had to make a crossroads to find the elite, in addition to changing weight division, going from 160 pounds to 168.

“Years of a lot of work, of restructuring, describes Lemieux. Lots of rage in the gym. I tried to restructure the complete boxer in me. To be ready for any kind of opposition. »

Like in life, he says, if you try something and it doesn’t work, “you have to go back to class and restructure things so you don’t make the same mistakes.”

“We’ve worked hard all these years. Here we are again in world championship fight. This time I will be more ready. »



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