For those who crave action, the middleweight unification bout between Gennady Golovkin and David Lemieux is a dream fight. Both possess two-fisted KO power and at their best they are supreme aggressors who get the job done in highlight-reel fashion. Meetings between two championship-level sluggers are rare in middleweight history, but when it's finished this fight may compare favorably to Gerald McClellan-Julian Jackson I, Nigel Benn-Iran Barkley or, dare we say, Tony Zale-Rocky Graziano I and II.
Last Time Out: Both set the table with impressive performances against mobile boxers as Golovkin stopped southpaw spoiler Willie Monroe Jr. in six while Lemieux decisioned Hassan N'Dam to win the vacant IBF belt. Golovkin scored two knockdowns in round two and ended the fight with another in the sixth but Monroe enjoyed several good moments in rounds four and five, including a 33-30 lead in total connects in the fourth. In the end, GGG led 133-87 overall and 116-56 power to offset Monroe's 31-17 lead in landed jabs and was much more precise (45%-29% overall, 47%-33% power). Lemieux was in beast mode against N'Dam, for 78% of his total output was power shots. The results were emphatic as he scored five knockdowns (two in rounds two and five, one in the seventh) but because N'Dam jabbed well (28.5 thrown/7.4 connects per round) he hung in both physically and statistically (Lemieux led 216-202 overall and 168-113 to off-set N'Dam's 59-48 lead in landed jabs, plus Lemieux prevailed only 36%-32% overall and 46%-40% power).
Aggressors Beware: Both fight their best against aggressors but the numbers prove Golovkin is much more effective. In four fights against Rubio, Stevens, Macklin and Rosado, Golovkin averaged 75.1 punches per round to his opponents' 42.1, averaged 19 more connects per round (30.2-11.2), landed more power shots per round (17.9-8.1), jabbed extremely well (his 12.3 connects per round more than doubled the 5.2 middleweight norm) and boasted excellent percentage gaps (40%-27% overall, 32%-17% jabs, 49%-34% power). Lemieux's numbers against Rosado, Jose Miguel Torres (the older brother of former 140-pound titlist Ricardo) and Rubio are less dominant. While he averaged 20.5 more punches per round (57.7-37.2) he landed just 5.9 more (17.5-11.6), was out-jabbed (3.7 connects per round to 4.1 and trailed 14%-24%), landed six more power punches per round (13.8-7.5) and, most tellingly, he trailed 30%-31% overall and led just 44%-38% power -- not good figures if one is fighting a sharpshooter like GGG. Lemieux will have to get past GGG's jab and get inside to be effective. In his last 6 fights, 13 of his 16 landed punches per round were power shots.
Overall GGG landed 39% of his total punches, opponents 25%- good for a +14 CompuBox plus/minus rating, #3 among current champ. caliber fighters. His 9 landed jab per round ranks #1 (tied with W. Klitschko & Mauricio Herrera) and his 26 punches landed per round is second only to Leo Santa Cruz's 32 landed per round.
Prediction: Lemieux specializes in single-shot pyrotechnics -- he scored seven knockdowns against Torres, five against N'Dam and three versus Fernando Guerrero -- so even if he's being beaten he'll always have a puncher's chance. But Golovkin has a quicker and more prolific trigger, a superior jab, better defense and just as much power, if not more. He also appears to have the better chin, though it will be tested. GGG by TKO.