Photos: Will Hart
By Kieran Mulvaney
There were times on Friday when it seemed one or more of the fighters on Saturday night’s HBO Boxing pay-per-view might throw a wrench in the works by failing to make weight. Certainly, two of those fighters – David Lemieux, who takes on Gennady Golovkin in the main event; and Roman ‘Chocolatito’ Gonzalez, who clashes with Brian Viloria for flyweight honors in the co-main – seemed concerned they might exceed the contracted limit.
As Gonzalez stepped on the scales, the Nicaraguan flag that his team held in front of him, while ostensibly a patriotic gesture, seemed positioned to protect his modesty in case he was obliged to completely disrobe to come in at 112 pounds or fewer; and although he did not have to take that step, and in fact tipped the scales at a mere 111.4, he did afterward refer to the fact that in making weight, he had won his first fight of the week.
Lemieux didn’t even hesitate to discard his underwear, stepping naked onto the scale behind an oversized towel – although he also registered a weight that was safely inside the limit.
Hopefully, neither man has drained himself unduly in making weight, because both figure to be in tough, almost certainly exciting contests against dangerous foes. Both bouts feature two undefeated champions considered the very best in the world (Golovkin and Gonzalez) taking on opponents who have been at, or en route to, the mountaintop before, until forced by defeat to begin their ascent anew. Lemieux was something of a golden child at middleweight until being derailed by back-to-back losses in 2011; since then, however, he has been on a winning and knockout streak. Viloria has been up and down the mountain so many times he likely has a timeshare at the summit: three times he has won and then lost titles at 108 and 112 pounds, but even as he closes in on 35 years old, the 2000 Olympian is arguably in the form of his life.
It is a sign of just how compelling this card is that even though Golovkin and Gonzalez are considered among the very best pound-for-pound (specifically, #2 and #1, according to ESPN), and Golovkin in particular is almost universally regarded as a superstar in the making, victories for either Viloria or Lemieux – or even both – are entirely improbable, given the skills and power that both possess. Don’t be surprised, either, if all four fights on the televised card wind up ending in knockouts; this is not one of those evenings to be making regular refrigerator runs. There have admittedly been plenty of occasions in boxing’s past when the reality has not met the hype; it is genuinely hard to see how Saturday night can fail to do so.
Weights from Madison Square Garden, New York:
Gennady Golovkin: 159.4 lbs.
David Lemieux: 159.8 lbs.
Roman Gonzalez: 111.4 lbs.
Brian Viloria: 111.4 lbs.
Luis Ortiz: 237.8 lbs.
Matias Vidondo: 261.0 lbs.
Tureano Johnson:159.4 lbs.
Eamonn O’Kane: 160.0 lbs.