Former middleweight titleholder David Lemieux is on the comeback trail.
When last seen in the ring on Oct. 17, Lemieux was pounded for eight one-sided rounds and lost his world title to Gennady Golovkin in a unification fight at sold-out Madison Square Garden.
Now, Lemieux is set for a more humble return. He will take on James De La Rosa in a scheduled 12-round bout on March 12 at the Olympia Theater in Montreal, Lemieux's hometown, Golden Boy Promotions and Eye of the Tiger Management announced on Tuesday.
"We can't wait to see him back in action," Golden Boy CEO Oscar De La Hoya said of Lemieux. "Golden Boy Promotions is behind David 100 percent and fighting against James De La Rosa will be a big test for him and his first step on his journey to once again becoming a world champion."
Although HBO contractually owes Lemieux a return bout following the loss to Golovkin, the network has no plans to air the fight on March 12, which will be televised on Indigo pay-per-view (9 p.m. ET) across Canada. Lemieux's HBO return would come later in the year against a better caliber opponent than De La Rosa, whom HBO was not interested in.
"I am happy to be fighting in my hometown," Lemieux said. "I'm very hungry to get back in the ring, and I am ready to climb my way back to the top of the middleweight division. I know De La Rosa is a serious threat, and I can promise all my hometown fans that I will be ready to give them all a great show on March 12."
Lemieux (34-3, 31 KOs), 27, won a vacant 160-pound world title when he scored four knockdowns against Hassan N'Dam in a unanimous decision victory in Montreal last June. Lemieux, one boxing's best pure punchers, then pressed for the unification fight against Lemieux in his first defense.
De La Rosa (23-3, 13 KOs), 27, of San Benito, Texas, fought three times in 2014, including an upset 10-round decision win against Alfredo Angulo. But in De La Rosa's next fight, he got knocked out in the fifth round by Hugo Centeno Jr.
De La Rosa has not fought since that December 2014 bout, but he said he is coming back with renewed vigor thanks to a new corner.
"A new trainer and a new strength and conditioning coach have created a new James De La Rosa," he said. "I have no problem going to his hometown to show him and everyone else, that he isn't what he is hyped up to be. I'm going to Montreal to win."
De La Rosa recently began working with trainer James Johnson and strength and conditioning coach, Hickel Woolery.
"James is always game for big opportunities. He has never met a fight he didn't like," said Adrian Clark, De La Rosa's manager. "There will be fireworks in Montreal on March 12 and after the smoke settles, James De La Rosa will stand victorious."