By Dave Spencer / Fightnews Canada
Despite initial fears of a broken orbital bone, middleweight David Lemieux was given a clean bill of health over the weekend. The 22 year-old slugging sensation who suffered a stunning 7th round TKO defeat to Marco Antonio Rubio after winning and dominating the first five rounds had a severely swollen jaw following the fight and his team had feared the worst. “I’m glad to report that after careful and thorough examination, the only damage may be to his ego,” joked Lemieux’s trainer Russ Anber to FightNews.
“We trained for a marathon and ended up running a sprint,” summed up the trainer of the night’s effort where Lemieux charged out of the gate like a speed horse at the Kentucky Derby but couldn’t sustain the pace and was caught by the veteran Rubio as the marched by the half-mile pole.
“That’s the danger with a guy like Rubio,” said Anber following the contest. “David was fighting a good fight. He was feeling confident. He called him into the corner and made him miss with four-five-six punches and David was feeling good in there but the guy is such a dangerous puncher and you give him that opportunity and the fight turned on a dime.”
With his fighter disoriented and swollen, down once and on his way a second time, Anber didn’t hesitate in making the walk up the stairs and saving his twenty-two year-old fighter and having him fight another day. “My decision to stop the fight is that David is 22 years old. He’s got a great career ahead of him and I don’t think there was any reason, especially after hitting this guy with everything but the kitchen sink and he was still there. I thought the gamble was too great for somebody who was only 22 and an exciting fighter who was doing the right things. When he got hurt he had the hands held high and he was bobbing, weaving, he wasn’t offering up a sitting target for Rubio, he was doing the right things but I certainly didn’t want him to be that sort of target for the next five rounds, so that’s why I stopped it.”
It was a disheartened Lemieux that addressed the media after the fight with an icepack firmly attached to his jaw. “What can I say, he got the better of me,” said the middleweight contender. In the later rounds, he caught me with a few shots that I shouldn’t have gotten hit with and changed the game plan, but I’ll come back stronger next time, that’s all I can say.”
While discouraged by the defeat, Rubio had positive things to say about Lemieux and his future in the sport. “He’s a young fighter with a big future. I think it’s important, what’s helped me in my past through my bad experiences is my team, my promoters, my trainers, my managers, they’ve been with me through the good and the bad. This is the time that will make a difference in his career and that’s what has helped me. Boxing is a one punch game sometimes, it’s happened to me in my past. I think the important thing is that his fans and his hometown is that the support they’re going to give him is what’s going to bring him back.”