When HBO, citing scheduling issues, passed on televising the David Lemieux-Hassan N’Dam vacant middleweight title bout -- a very interesting fight in a hot weight class -- on June 20 at the Bell Centre in Lemieux’s hometown of Montreal, it left Golden Boy Promotions looking for an American television outlet.
On Wednesday, Golden Boy, which won promotional rights to the fight at a purse bid, closed a deal with one, announcing that the fight, along with two other bouts on the card, will air live on Fox Sports 2 (10 p.m. ET) and be simulcast in Spanish on Fox Deportes. The fight will headline a pay-per-view broadcast in Quebec.
"The broadcast on Fox Sports will allow American audiences the chance to see a great fight featuring two of the most exciting stars in boxing," Golden Boy president Oscar De La Hoya said in announcing the deal. “This matchup will deliver action-packed intensity as both Lemieux and N'Dam are hungry to move their careers forward and claim the title."
The 31-year-old N'Dam (31-1, 18 KOs), of France, was supposed to challenge Jermain Taylor for the belt. Taylor was stripped of the belt amid legal troubles, paving the way for Lemieux (33-2, 31 KOs), 26, to accept the fight when others ahead of him in the IBF’s ratings declined the opportunity.
"Being on Fox Sports is a great opportunity to use this exposure and show fans an explosive night of boxing," Lemieux said. "I plan to put on a show and draw more people as fans to my sport."
Most figured HBO would be involved with the fight because of its interest in Lemieux and the fact that the network put on his last fight, an impressive 10th-round knockout of Gabriel Rosado in December. HBO is also heavily involved in the middleweight division, as it has a contract with titleholder Gennady Golovkin and junior middleweight star -- and soon to be middleweight -- Canelo Alvarez. The network also has a long-standing relationship with champion Miguel Cotto, who defends his title against former titlist Daniel Geale on Saturday night.
The June 20 broadcast will also include Quebec lightweight Dierry Jean (28-1, 20 KOs), 33, a former junior welterweight title challenger, facing Jerry Belmontes (19-6, 5 KOs), 26, of Corpus Christi, Texas, in a 10-round bout.
In the opening bout, Cuban heavyweight Luis Ortiz (21-0, 18 KOs) will face an opponent to be named in an eight-round bout. Ortiz, 36, will be fighting for the first time since the end of his suspension for testing positive for steroids following a crushing first-round knockout of Lateef Kayode for an interim title on Sept. 11 in Las Vegas. The Nevada State Athletic Commission suspended him for eight months, fined him $8,000 (10 percent of his $80,000 purse) and changed his win to a no-decision.