After dominating Marco Antonio Rubio for five rounds, David Lemieux looked like he was on the fast track to stardom in front of his adoring fans in a middleweight battle at the Bell Centre in Montreal in the Friday Night Fights main event. He was outworking, outboxing, and thoroughly dominating Rubio, and looked to be well on his way to his 26th win in 26 fights.
Rubio’s game plan, however, was to survive the early rounds against his young, aggressive, inexperienced opponent, to study his approach, and to exploit his weaknesses in the later rounds.
In a perfect execution of his stated game plan, Rubio began landing solid jabs and counter right hands in taking the 6th round convincingly, bloodying Lemieux’s face and planting seeds of doubt in his less experienced foe. In the 7th, a discombobulating straight right shot behind the ear left Lemieux sprawled in the corner and, after Rubio drilled Lemieux with several flush shots in his ensuing attack, the corner of Lemieux stood on the apron and waved off the bout, giving Rubio a huge upset victory and handing Lemieux his first career loss.
Lemieux’s first loss disappointed the Montreal fans, as Terrence questioned the quick corner stoppage.
With the win, Rubio earned a mandatory shot at the winner of the Sebastian Zbik-Julio Cesar Chavez, Jr. bout on June 4. Rubio will enter that fight with considerable momentum, as he is now on a seven-fight winning streak after retiring on his stool against Kelly Pavlik in a middleweight championship bout in 2009, with the last two wins coming over undefeated prospects.
If Chavez, Jr. were to emerge from the rather daunting gauntlet of the undefeated Zbik and the tough, strong Rubio, he would prove himself a legitimate — not to mention extremely lucrative — opponent for middleweight champion Sergio Martinez. As Rubio showed tonight, however, he could easily spoil those plans were he to face the unbeaten son of the Mexican legend.
Lemieux, meanwhile, needs to figure out how it all fell apart so fast. He went from utterly overwhelming Rubio to being bloodied and beaten in about five minutes of ring action. He showed a lot to like in the early rounds, but he did not respond well to Rubio’s punches in the middle rounds (in other news, Gaddafi is a dick) and he made the crucial mistake of not holding when he was clearly hurt. The punishment he sustained as a result led to the stoppage.
The corner stoppage seemed a bit premature, but the momentum of the fight had clearly swung dramatically in Rubio’s favor and an eventual stoppage seemed inevitable, given Lemieux’s lack of experience and apparent inability to weather adversity.
Instead of a meaningless trinket belt, Rubio was awarded some kind of medal after the fight. I favor this development, so long as there are no sanctioning fees involved. Give these guys medals, trophies, wads of cash, yachts, you name it. Just don’t make up fake championships for them.
On the undercard, Montreal super middleweight Adonis Stevenson scored a tremendous knockout with a straight left hand to rebound from his first career defeat, stopping Derek Edwards in the 3rd round. After dropping Edwards twice in the 2nd round with straight left hands, Stevenson ended matters in resounding fashion with the most powerful of his three knockdowns, a knockout blow that will surely be featured on the Friday Night Fights year-end wrap up.
In a swing bout, 2008 Colombian Olympian Eleider Alvarez stopped the overmatched Ernesto Zamora in the 3rd round of a cruiserweight fight for his fourth win in as many fights.