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Post-Golovkin, does David Lemieux have any fight left in him?

David Lemieux returns to action Saturday in Montreal.

Gennady Golovkin v David Lemieux Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Gennady Golovkin’s opponents typically don’t fare well after their encounter. Their careers can be divided into two stages. There’s pre-Golovkin, when they’re legitimate contenders. But then there’s post-Golovkin, when the decline is drastic. I call this the Golovkin Effect.

As examples, consider what happened to these fighters pre- and post-Golovkin:

  • Grzegorz Proksa. Pre-Golovkin, Proksa was the dude who kicked Sebastian Sylvester’s ass in 3 rounds. His lone loss to Kerry Hope was quickly avenged by TKO8. Post-Golovkin, he lost to Sergio Mora and was destroyed by Maciej Sulecki. Two years after fighting Golovkin, Proksa retired.
  • Matthew Macklin. Pre-Golovkin, Macklin probably should have been crowned a world titlist seeing how he had been robbed against Felix Sturm. Post-Golovkin, he had been dominated -- and stopped -- by unheralded Argentine journeyman Jorge Sebastian Heiland. Macklin has been on the comeback trail for quite some time, but if we’re being honest, he’s looked like a ghost of his old self.
  • Daniel Geale. Pre-Golovkin, Geale was the unified WBA and IBF middleweight world titlist. He had wins over Sebastian Sylvester, Felix Sturm, Osumanu Adama, Anthony Mundine, and Garth Wood. Though he lost his IBF title to Darren Barker, it was competitive. Post-Golovkin, Geale was wiped out by Miguel Cotto, who probably has no business as a middleweight. And last weekend, he was destroyed in two rounds by the unheralded Renold Quinlan. At 35-years-old, Geale looks like a spent force.
  • Marco Antonio Rubio. Pre-Golovkin, Rubio stopped David Lemieux, and competed briskly against Julio Cesar Chavez. Post-Golovkin, he was shut out by Anthony Dirrell, and then he swiftly retired.

These are not anomalies. There’s some fighters like Curtis Stevens and Willie Monroe Jr. that might buck the trend, but the fact remains. The Golovkin Effect is real, and it shortens careers.

Which brings us to David Lemieux’s bout this Saturday against Cristian Fabian Rios. Yes, on paper, this looks like a mismatch. BoxRec ranks Lemieux at #4 while Rios is at #51.

Look a little closer, and you’ll see that since fighting Golovkin, Lemieux has only fought Glen Tapia. Tapia, though, had the tar beaten out of him by James Kirkland, and was just coming off a brutal stoppage to Michel Soro. (It should also be noted that Tapia has never fought at middleweight against a significant opponent.)

Which brings us back to Rios. He’s never shown potential beyond the Argentine domestic scene, but then again, neither did Heiland before his KO victory over Macklin. Incidentally, Rios and Heiland fought each other to a draw back in 2012. If Rios wins against Lemieux, then the parallels are eery.

But there’s another reason I like Rios as a test for Lemieux. Unlike Tapia, Rios is a natural middleweight, and has campaigned in this weight class for his entire career. Also unlike Tapia, Rios has never been stopped. Therefore, Rios is a great test to see if Lemieux can buck the Golovkin Effect.

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