- Dan Rafael, ESPN Senior Writer
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Now that big puncher David Lemieux has claimed a middleweight world title, scoring four knockdowns in a thrilling unanimous decision win against Hassan N’Dam on Saturday night in front of a raucous hometown crowd at the Bell Centre in Montreal, what’s next?
The obvious big fight for Lemieux would be to take on fellow massive puncher Gennady Golovkin (33-0, 30 KOs) in a title unification fight. That is a fight that fans are already drooling about.
Lemieux promoter Oscar De La Hoya of Golden Boy said they want to fight Golovkin -- but it won’t be next. Golden Boy has been informed that Lemieux must make a mandatory defense before Dec. 20. Lemieux (34-2, 31 KOs), 26, will be formally notified by the IBF on Oct. 20 that his mandatory is due. Theoretically, he could fight before then, but that is not going to happen, especially after such a rough fight with N’Dam.
“So we’ll see and we’ll take it from there, but David’s next fight will be the mandatory,” De La Hoya told ESPN.com. “But do we want to put him in with GGG? Absolutely, yes. Positively, yes. But it will have to wait until next year because of the mandatory.”
The IBF allows for unification bouts to trump mandatory fights, but Golden Boy is, unfortunately, not interested in pursuing the Golovkin fight at the moment.
Who Lemieux’s mandatory opponent is has not been determined. Former titlist Sam Soliman fights prospect Dominic Wade on Friday night. If Soliman wins, he will be ordered to face Eamonn O’Kane in the eliminator to produce the mandatory challenger. If Soliman loses (and he’s the underdog), O’Kane will be ordered to face Tureano Johnson in the eliminator.
Even after Lemieux fights his mandatory defense, De La Hoya said the inclination would be to have Lemieux fight one more time after that before looking to make a Golovkin fight, perhaps in the summer of 2016.
“In the meantime, GGG can go fight Andre Ward or go call out Carl Froch or do whatever he wants to do,” said De La Hoya, who has his own designs on a possible fight with Golovkin should he end his retirement, as he is thinking of doing that. “Right now, David is going to take a little time off after that war he had with N’Dam and then come back and fight the mandatory later this year.”
But he said Golovkin is still a preferred big opponent for Lemieux a couple of fights down the road.
“Sometime next year, second half of next year,” De La Hoya said. “It wouldn’t be one fight away, but as long as they fight. I want to see that fight happen and so does David Lemieux. “What I like is about it is that David Lemieux is only getting better. He hits much harder than GGG and he’s a fighter who will press the action and fight him back. It’s an amazing matchup.
“One thing I found out about GGG that I’m sure several experts know is that GGG cannot fight going backward. He cannot fight going back. And he gets marked up. He got marked up by a fighter that couldn’t crack an egg, Willie Monroe, in his last fight [on May 16]. If you put him in with Lemieux, it will be a real fight for him.”