Declaring himself "a knockout artist," Canadian middleweight David Lemieux said he expects rival Fernando Guerrero "to take my head off" when they meet on Saturday's in support of RING and WBC light heavyweight champion Adonis Stevenson's defense against Andrzej Fonfara on Showtime from Bell Centre in Montreal.
Lemieux (31-2, 29 knockouts), 25, takes his six-fight winning streak that includes five knockouts into his bout with Guerrero (26-2, 19 KOs), 27, a southpaw and former title challenger.
Lemieux has been on a tear since suffering consecutive losses to Marco Antonio Rubio by seventh-round stoppage in April 2011 and via majority decision to Joachim Alcine in December 2011. He was last in action for a seventh-round TKO of Jose Miguel Torres in November.
"I'm a knockout artist. Every fight I go into, I expect a knockout and I'm feeling the strongest I've ever felt since the beginning. I expect [Guerrero] to take my head off, so I will be ready for whatever. I’m not scared," said Lemieux, during Thursday's final press conference.
"I expect the same punishment that I give to my opponents. I want to knock him out, so I expect the same thing from him. I'm not worried. Whatever he brings to the table, I’ll adjust and I’ll be victorious."
Guerrero's unanimous decision over Raymond Gatica in November helped him rebound from being dropped four times during his seventh-round stoppage loss to WBO middleweight titleholder Peter Quillin in April of last year. The loss to Quillin ended a streak of four straight wins, three by knockout for Guerrero, whose other loss was by fourth-round stoppage to Grady Brewer in June 2011.
Guerrero said he has no problem making the trek abroad.
"We've fought in Canada before in the amateurs and I won both times. I'm 2-0 in Canada. I'm not worried about fighting in front of his hometown fans. I've grown since the loss to Quillin. I had one of the worst camps of my life for that fight and I wasn't mentally or emotionally prepared. We just have to move on and not have any emotions in there for this fight. Lemieux and I have a lot of similarities. We both have two losses. I consider myself a puncher just like him. He's strong; I’m strong. He's fast; I’m fast. He has heart; I have heart," said Guerrero.
"We'll get in there and see what happens. One of us will likely walk out with a third loss and I've done everything I can to make sure that it isn't me. Once we step in the ring, there aren't any excuses. If I win, it’s because I prepared as hard as I could. If I lose, it's because I didn’t give it my all. I've seen a lot of his fights. We've done our homework. We know what he does well and we also know his weaknesses. But I never give up. I have the will to fight."
JERMELL CHARLO-CHARLIE OTA
Stevenson-Fonfara will also be supported by Jermell Charlo (23-0, 11 KOs) opposite Charlie Ota (24-1-1, 16 KOs).
The twin brother of Jermall Charlo, Jermell was last in action for a unanimous decision over former title challenger Gabriel Rosado in January. In Ota, Charlo faces a 32-year-old who is coming off a majority decision win over Mike Ruiz in November.
"In camp, we worked on so many different things and we're ready for whatever Charlie is going to bring. He’s 5-foot-6 and I'm 5-foot-11½, so that’s an advantage for me. I'm fast; I'm strong," said Charlo. "I'm way stronger than I was for the Rosado fight, so, hopefully, that will come out during this fight. You'll see the strength and you’ll see that I'm ready for this next stage and level of boxing."
Charlo spent time training alongside southpaw 154-pounder Erislandy Lara, who is prepping for a bout with Saul Alvarez on July 12.
"We push each other hard, even with the language barrier," said Charlo. "We're able to still communicate and make fun out of training and at the same time, give it our all. We've been gaining from everything that we knew we missed out on last fight, so it's just the process of getting better."
Ota will rely on his pressure and power.
"This is a great fight between a boxer and a puncher. It's no secret what I'm going to do," said Ota. "I'm going to bring the heat and put the heat on Charlo."
The Stevenson-Fonfara card also includes 175-pounder Eleider Alvarez taking on Alexander Johnson and welterweight Mikael Zewski facing Prince Doku Jr.
Alvarez (14-0, 8 KOs) turned 30 last month and is coming off January's unanimous decision over previously unbeaten Andrew Gardiner, while Johnson (15-1, 6 KOs), 32, will be after his fourth consecutive win, having last been in the ring in a unanimous decision over DeLeon Tinsley in December.
In January, Zewski (23-0, 18 KOs), 25, scored his third straight knockout in the seventh round against Krzysztof Szot. Zewski's opponent, Doku (18-5, 12 KOs), 27, is attempting to end a two-fight losing streak, having lost by unanimous decision to Jose Benavidez in March.
HBO 2 TO REPLAY SERGIO MARTINEZ-JULIO CESAR CHAVEZ JR.; MIGUEL COTTO-ANTONIO MARGARITO II
In advance of RING and WBC middleweight champion Sergio Martinez's June 7 defense against Miguel Cotto at New York's Madison Square Garden on HBO Pay-Per-View, the network announced on Friday that it will replay two of the fighters' biggest victories.
Martinez's unanimous decision victory over Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. and Cotto's ninth-round stoppage of Antonio Margarito consecutively on May 30 at 11:15 p.m., ET/PT and again on May 31 at 10 a.m., ET/PT on HBO 2.
Martinez rose from a 12th-round knockdown for a unanimous decision that dethroned Chavez as WBC beltholder in September 2012, and Cotto's win over Margarito in December 2011 avenged the first loss of Cotto’s career, an 11th-round knockout in July of 2008.
FELIX VERDEJO, JOSE LOPEZ ON MARTINEZ-COTTO CARD
Unbeaten Puerto Rican lightweight Felix Verdejo (12-0, 9 KOs) of San Juan will face Engelberto Valenzuela (8-1, 3 KOs) of Mexico, and junior featherweight Jose Lopez (13-0, 11 KOs) of Carolina, Puerto Rico faces Raul Hidalgo (21-10, 16 KOs) on the undercard of Martinez-Cotto.
Also, Puerto Rican Olympian Jantony Ortiz will make his professional debut in a flyweight bout against Elio Ruiz (1-4).
All three of the bouts will be televised live exclusively on WAPA 2 Deportes in Puerto Rico and Wapa America in the United States, Miguel Cotto Promotions and Top Rank Promotions announced on Friday.
RONALD AKEEM ELLIS TRIES TO REMAIN UNBEATEN
Super middleweight Ronald Akeem Ellis (8-0, 6 KOs) will return to action against Guillermo Garcia (6-10-2, 1 KO) on June 14 in Tijuana, Mex., as the 24-year-old from Miami follows up a unanimous decision over Josue Castaneda on May 16, Sheer Sports Management announced on Thursday.
OLEKSANDR USYK RETURNS ON MAY 31
Olympic gold medalist and heavyweight Oleksandr Usyk will pursue his fourth straight knockout in as many wins on May 31 against Cesar David Crenz (21-8, 13 KOs) at the Sport Palace in Odessa, Ukraine.
A 6-3 southpaw, Usyk trained alongside RING champion Wladimir Klitschko prior to his last fight, a third-round knockout of Ben Nsafoah on April 26.
"I know that Crenz had more professional experience but I will be well prepared on May 31 for what he brings to the fight. This is my second fight this year; however, I want to fight six times in 2014," said Usyk. "I want to stay busy this year, keep winning and gain more experience as a professional."