The big-hitting middleweights participated in a conference call with U.S. media to promote their fight on September 15th in Las Vegas on the Gennady Golovkin v Canelo Alvarez middleweight title rematch undercard.
A tense call, much of the discussion centred around Lemieux’s title challenge against WBO champ Billy Joe Saunders back in December in Montreal – where O’Sullivan scored his break-out win over Antoine Douglas on the undercard.
Lemieux [39(33)-4(2)] was dominated by the English fighter – who also holds a wide points win over O’Sullivan – and has claimed in the aftermath that he had a shoulder injury in the bout.
The Canadian former IBF champion detailed how he has been dealing with a torn labrum muscle in his left shoulder for an extended period but states that it is fully healed. In addition, he also claims that his previous weight issues [he missed weight by over 2lbs for his last championship fight v Karim Achour in May] are also behind him.
Professing a clean bill of health, Lemieux outlined how “Surgery was definitely something I looked into but I didn’t wanna be off for a full year, so I tried to avoid it as much as I could. And leading up to the Saunders fight I said ‘it’s gonna be OK. It’s gonna be OK.’ But, obviously, it wasn’t.”
“So we tried different things and finally something worked. It’s been good ever since and we’re sticking with that plan. And it’s been going great, so we don’t need the surgery right now. So I keep training and everything is solid. I’ve got my left hand back and I’m back to a hundred percent, and not 50 percent.”
“Going back the last few years I’ve been working against a lot of injuries. They’ve been put in the past. I’m in tremendous shape and I’m feeling great. I can use both my hands, I can use everything, all my tools. I think Lemieux is back and I’m about to demonstrate what I’m about. I think a lot of people are going to be surprised [with] what I bring to the table.”
O’Sullivan, who would laugh in response to many of Lemieux’s points, was not convinced by the Quebec fighter’s claims.
“I think it’s just an excuse, to be honest,” said the Mahon man before revealing how unimpressed he was with Lemieux’s showing versus Saunders where many felt he lost each and every round on home turf.
O’Sullivan [28(20)-2(1)] recalled how “I had a good feeling that he [Saunders] would beat him [Lemieux], but I didn’t think he’d beat him as convincingly as that. I thought Lemieux, being a former world champion, I thought he was a better fighter.”
“Prior to that fight, I thought he was better than that. I didn’t know a great deal about him, and the more I look into him and obviously I’m fighting him now, so I’ve watched back a lot of his fights and, you know, I’m not surprised Billy Joe kind of beat him like that. Initially, I didn’t think it was gonna be as easy as it was for Saunders.”
33-year-old O’Sullivan is in the best form of his career and the Celtic Warriors man is hugely confident ahead of the clash with his Golden Boy stablemate at the T-Mobile Arena.
The Cork fighter believes the momentum and the scales have tipped in his favour and reasoned: “Look at David. He doesn’t look like a guy that trains like I do. He tires easy in a lot of his fights. I don’t think he lives right and doesn’t train as hard as I do. And I don’t think he can win his fight. I think he’s a one-trick pony, he just does the same thing over and over again. I know what’s going to be coming”
“He talks about knocking me down and knocking me out cold – I’ve never been down on the canvas in my career. He’s been knocked down several times, he’s lost to all different style of fighters. David had his chance against Golovkin and he got destroyed and I think he’s going to get destroyed again on September 15th. Lemieux is going to be an easier fight for me than Douglas, there’s no doubt about that. ”
Lemieux was not fond of O’Sullivan’s remarks and promised to punish the Irishman for his chat.
The 29-year-old said that “I’m gonna make Spike eat all his words.”
“He says I’m finding excuses against Billy Joe Saunders, that I had an injury or whatever. But I have no excuses. I’m just giving facts. But now I’m a hundred percent, so let’s see what happens on September 15th. The talk is done. Let’s just walk the walk. So now let’s see what’s up.”
“Don’t worry, I’m going to beat your ass, it’s not going to be no walk in the park. I’m not coming here to lose, I’m coming to destroy you. Don’t take me lightly, keep working hard in the gym, you’re going to need it.”
For O’Sullivan, he has consistently said that the big pay-per-view undercard slot was just a stop on the road to the middleweight title and he echoed this in his closing remarks.
“I’m going to steal the show in spectacular fashion. I’m going to obliterate him. Nothing personal, you’re just in my road. I’m sorry, but you’re in my way.”