Since making his debut in the professional boxing ranks at age 18, David Lemieux has wasted little time establishing a reputation as a powerful and dangerous puncher, racking up knockouts and one win after another along the way. Despite the fact that he’s often in full training mode for a fight, Lemieux always finds the time to watch the Canadiens battle for NHL supremacy. We met up with the new darling of the Quebec boxing scene a few hours before his IBF Middleweight Championship bout on Saturday night at the Bell Centre to learn more about his love for the CH.
How long have you been a Canadiens fan?
DAVID LEMIEUX: I’ve been a fan since I was very young. People just can’t get enough of hockey in Montreal. They eat it up.
Do you ever have the time to stop by the Bell Centre and take in a game?
DL: I love hockey. I came by a few times last season with my promoter, Camille Estephan. But, I don’t get to watch as many games as I’d like to during the season because I’m often in training for a fight. I was hoping the Canadiens would go further in the playoffs, but every year they’re improving and I’m confident about the future.
We often hear a lot about just how much energy the Bell Centre crowd can generate for the players. How excited do you get when your fights are held there?
DL: I get the sense that the crowd will be even more jacked up after the first round. (laughs) We’re all expecting a huge fight. I’m going to feed off the energy in the crowd. I really feel their support when I box in Montreal. I want to win this title not only for me, but for them, too.
On Saturday night, you’re going to fight for the IBF Middleweight title. What kind of fight are you expecting going up against Hassan N’Dam?
DL: Everyone who’s familiar with Hassan N’Dam knows that he’s coming here to box. Everyone who knows me knows that I’m not in the ring to fool around. I’m there to take care of business. Putting on the gloves is no laughing matter. There’ll be fireworks at the Bell Centre on Saturday night.
|David Lemieux (© Pat Beaudry) |
Would you like the crowd to start encouraging you during the fight like they do at hockey games by chanting “Ole, Ole, Ole!”?
DL: I’m so focused when the bell sounds, but I still feel their support during my fights regardless of the fact that I’m really concentrating.
As a boxer, do you think fights still have a place in hockey?
DL: It’s definitely not like boxing, but believe me when I say that those guys hit hard! You’ve got 6-foot-4 guys hitting each other without gloves on out there. Even I’d be feeling the pain! (laughs) I’ve got a lot of respect for what they do.
Which current Canadiens player would you like to have a sparring session with?
DL: P.K. Subban seems like a guy who knows how to box. Hockey isn’t boxing, but it could be interesting. (laughs)
We all know just how powerful your punches are in the ring. But, if we put you on skates, would you be able to hit just as hard?
DL: Wow, it wouldn’t be as pretty! (laughs) I know how to skate. I was good for hitting guys, but scoring goals wasn’t a strength of mine. I always got the job done with my fists.
Interview conducted by Vincent Cauchy. Translated by Matt Cudzinowski.
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