By Dave Spencer / Fightnews Canada
One defeat in 19 fights, never been stopped, promoters could have tried selling David Lemieux’s most recent victim any number of ways Friday, but thankfully chose not to. Lemieux was downgraded from headline status for his fight with Purnell Gates, giving way to a local grudge match between Renan St-Juste that was actually shorter in duration than the Lemieux debacle, but at least was a fight for as long as it lasted.
Everyone stood in unison as to the sub-standard effort put forth by Gates and hoped that some sanctions would be forthcoming by the Quebec Commission. Gates who claimed a hand injury after the first, and perhaps only, punch he threw went down twice before his corner had seen enough and made the climb up the stairs, calling off the contest at 2:50 of the second round.
“He didn’t want to fight,” said Lemieux after the contest, “In boxing you can have an injury very easily, maybe it’s true, maybe it’s not, he just didn’t want to fight.”
Lemieux figured “maybe” he caught Gates with a right hand for the first knockdown that had Gates crashing backwards into the ropes and then forward into the canvas. The second knockdown was pretty much scored on a feint.
Lemieux’s trainer Russ Anber offered up a plethora of examples of boxers fighting with injuries and stated, “So you hurt your hand a little bit, you’ve got another one…it would have been one thing if he was throwing 25 right hands in a row and hurt it, but it didn’t matter that it was hurt, you weren’t throwing it anyways.”
Promoter Yvon Michel said he would recommend to the commission that some sort of disciplinary action would be taken. Even rival promoter Jean Bedard of Interbox attending the fight felt the performance was bad for boxing.
Gates certainly appeared injured, more so after the fight while having his tape removed than during it where he resembled Usain Bolt than any prize fighter. Several attempts were made to cut the bandages from his hand, with Gates wincing and walking away several times.
“You sign a contract, I think you’re obligated to give your best effort,” said Anber. “I think the Athletic Commission should see to it that a best effort is given, because they’re the ones paying ultimately paying him, with the promoter’s money. If this was the old days where the promoter paid the fighter directly, that guy doesn’t get paid. He goes on a knee, without even taking a punch, and he gets a pay cheque? I think it is contingent on the Commission that regardless of ability, that the boxer’s give the best of their effort. It doesn’t matter how good you are, just give your best effort, I don’t think he did that.”