Middleweight titlist Gennady Golovkin and junior middleweight star Canelo Alvarez may one day face each other in what would be a huge pay-per-view fight. But until that happens -- if it happens -- HBO, which has both under contract, has a vested interest in helping develop opponents for them.
That’s where HBO’s Dec. 6 “Boxing After Dark” tripleheader (10 p.m. ET/PT) comes in. The card, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, could go a long way toward helping develop opponents for them. But even if it doesn’t, it’s a quality show -- and if you’re a fan, it's a stunning bargain. At the kickoff news conference at the Barclays Center on Wednesday, Golden Boy announced that tickets start at $15.
The main event features Montreal middleweight David Lemieux, a big banger making his American debut, against entertaining gatekeeper Gabriel Rosado, who usually tests every opponent. Lemieux’s job is to beat Rosado convincingly. Fighters who defeat him probably can take the next step. Fighters who can’t, well, they’re probably not going far.
The 25-year-old Lemieux (32-2, 30 KOs) wants in on the big-fight sweepstakes, which means an eventual fight with GGG or Alvarez, who, sooner than later, will be a middleweight. Beating Rosado is a good way for Lemieux to start making his case.
"I'm really looking forward to this fight," Lemieux said. “My training camp has already started and I am in great shape. I want to take this opportunity to prove that I represent a real threat to the middleweight division. Gabriel Rosado is a tough fighter and he has fought a lot of talented boxers and has established his credibility. This will be a good test for me and I'm working really hard to deliver an amazing performance."
Said Camille Estephan, Lemieux’s manager, “I'm extremely happy for David to get this opportunity on the big stage in the U.S. against a very well respected Gabriel Rosado. We are not looking past this fight. Nonetheless, we believe David is capable of competing with the cream of the crop in his division."
Rosado (21-8, 13 KOs), 28, had his shot against Golovkin, who sliced and diced him en route to a bloody seventh-round TKO in January 2013. That loss started a poor run for Rosado, who is in an 0-3 (with a no contest) rut, including another cut-induced TKO loss to Peter Quillin in a title bout. Rosado won a non-official boxing match by sixth-round knockout of Bryan Vera in the Big Knockout Boxing event in August when they fought in a “pit.”
Rosado is happy to be getting another opportunity on HBO, where he faced Golovkin.
"A fight like me against David Lemieux is what HBO is all about, and the type of fight the boxing world craves," Rosado said. "I'm both excited and motivated to fight again on the East Coast. I'm from Philly and I know my fans will be in Brooklyn to represent [Philadelphia] alongside my New York fans. Records can be deceiving and I believe David Lemieux will learn that first hand, and I'm hungry to get back in the mix with the best in the middleweight division."
The junior middleweight co-feature pits Hugo Centeno Jr. (21-0, 11 KOs), 23, of Oxnard, California, and James De La Rosa (23-2, 13 KOs), 26, of San Benito, Texas, in a 10-rounder. Perhaps one will emerge as a fighter to watch at 154.
"I'm really excited about this great opportunity,” Centeno said. “I will take complete advantage of it and showcase my talent.”
De La Rosa scored his biggest win Sept. 13, a 10-round decision against Alfredo Angulo on the Floyd Mayweather Jr.-Marcos Maidana II undercard.
"Here I am again on the big stage, this time against Hugo Centeno Jr. on HBO," De La Rosa said. “I'm dedicating this fight to my mentor Emanuel Augustus, who I'd been sparring against since I was 14 years old. People know he came to put on a show and I'm coming to do the same Dec. 6 in Brooklyn."
Augustus is hospitalized in critical condition after recently being shot in the head in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
"The winners of these two fights will find themselves positioned for huge match-ups in their next bouts, while the losers will experience a major setback," said Golden Boy promoter Oscar De La Hoya, whose company is putting on the card and promoting the top two bouts.
The third fight is an even match between junior welterweights Thomas Dulorme (21-1, 14 KOs), 24, and 30-year-old Hank Lundy (25-3-1, 12 KOs). While not an official eliminator the winner very likely could propel himself into a world title opportunity.
“This is a great opportunity for me to showcase my talent against a very good opponent,” Dulorme said. “I know a victory against Lundy will open up many doors for my career. I'm coming to win and win convincingly for my fans back home in Puerto Rico.”
Said Lundy, “This is what we've been waiting for, to fight on a big stage -- HBO. This is a great opportunity to show the world Hammerin' Hank is the best-kept secret in the 140-pound weight class. On Dec. 6, I'm coming to New York to put on a hell of a show. As a Philadelphia kid, everyone knows that I've fought hard. Nothing comes easy. The fans know I'm going to bring it.”