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Wednesday, April 2, 2014
It's Showtime for Lemieux

By Dan Rafael

By virtue of its close ties to Golden Boy Promotions and adviser Al Haymon, Showtime has a very deep stable of fighters that fight on the network. One of them is middleweight titlist “Kid Chocolate” Peter Quillin, who defends his belt on April 19 in Washington, D.C., against Lukas Konecny on the Bernard Hopkins-Beibut Shumenov undercard.

It’s not a very interesting matchup, as Quillin is the overwhelming favorite against the relatively unknown and not all that accomplished Konecny, whose best days were as a decent junior middleweight contender about five years ago.

One thing Quillin (30-0, 22 KOs) needs is name opponents, but HBO is where the two most notable fighters in his division ply their trade -- Sergio Martinez and Gennady Golovkin, not to mention many of the top super middleweights, should Quillin want to move up in weight. Golden Boy has a dearth of middleweights other than Daniel Jacobs, who could face Quillin this summer if he beats Konecny. That’s the fight Golden Boy chief executive Richard Schaefer has told me repeatedly that he wants to make.

But one of the benefits of Showtime’s recent deal with light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson is that when he defends his title against Andrzej Fonfara on May 24 in Montreal, a prime potential opponent for Quillin is coming along with him.

David Lemieux (31-2, 29 KOs), the power-punching middleweight from Montreal, is promoted by Yvon Michel, as is Stevenson. Lemieux is scheduled to fight on the Stevenson-Fonfara undercard -- opponent to be determined -- and his bout will be part of the Showtime telecast, according to Stephen Espinoza, who heads Showtime Sports.

“Yes, we’re doing Lemieux,” Espinoza said. “We're discussing opponents now.”

Lemieux was a superb prospect before back-to-back upset losses in 2011, but remains a highly entertaining and charismatic fighter. By making his Showtime debut next month, Lemieux, who has won six fights in a row against middling opposition, obviously becomes a potential opponent -- and an interesting one -- for Quillin, which is something Quillin really needs.

• A fight Espinoza has designs on televising is the junior lightweight rematch between titleholder Argenis Mendez (21-2-1, 11 KOs) and Rances Barthelemy (19-0, 12 KOs), one of Haymon’s most recent signings. Mendez-Barthelemy I, which opened the ESPN2 “Friday Night Fights” season on Jan. 3, ended with Barthelemy knocking out Mendez at the end of the second round but the result being changed to a no decision and the title being returned to Mendez because the knockout punches happened after the bell ended the round.

“I do want to do Mendez-Barthelemy II,” Espinoza said. “[I’m] looking for a place for it in June.”

Given Haymon’s association now with Barthelemy, you can count on Espinoza finding a place for it.