Bahamian Super Middleweight Champion Tureano Johnson has suffered another setback in his progression, but this time, he had little control over it as his much anticipated bout with Canadian David Lemieux was called off on Saturday. The cancellation continues a 16-month layoff for Johnson a technical knockout loss to Sergiy ‘The Technician’ Derevyanchenko of the Ukraine in August of last year.
According to reports, Lemieux, who is highly ranked in a number of professional boxing organizations, suffered from severe dehydration on Friday morning and failed to meet the 160-pound weight limit for the proposed fight. He had to be hospitalized. Johnson was set to challenge Lemieux in the co-main event of the Rocky Fielding/Canelo Alvarez fight card on Saturday night, and the scheduled 10-rounder was set to take place at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
“If you’re fighting Tureano Johnson, you are going to make 160. You have to be disciplined and you have to be fair. He wasn’t disciplined and he wasn’t trying to be fair,” Johnson told Marcus Villegas of Fight Hub TV. “Tureano is going to stick to the rules of the game. It’s upsetting, it’s disappointing and I feel that this is highway robbery for Tureano Johnson.”
Multiple-time World Champion Alvarez went on to demolish Fielding to retain the World Boxing Association’s (WBA) Super Middleweight Title on Saturday night.
As for Johnson, at 34, he is reaching the age when a number of boxers hang up the gloves, but the Bahamian pugilist is determined to press forward. He feels that he is on the verge of greatness, and just a win or two away from realizing his world title aspirations. A win over Lemieux, had the fight come off, would have catapulted him back up the world middleweight rankings for sure.
The fight between former World Champion Lemieux of Montreal, Canada (40-4, 34 KOs) and Johnson (20-2, 14 KOs) was set to be a title eliminator bout for one of Alvarez’s global titles. However, now both might suffer as a result of the cancellation. There’s no telling when either fighter will get back in the ring, and in the case of Lemieux, it probably cost him a shot at Alvarez.
“It’s a great disappointment. I was more than prepared to fight David Lemieux,” Johnson said to Villegas. “I knew he couldn’t take me – I’m not just a stepping stone. You can’t take on Canelo and can’t get past Tureano. I deserve the opportunity. I came here to prove that I’m the guy to fight the biggest star in boxing right now and that’s Canelo. Will I be able to prove that now? That’s a question for the fans out there.”
Had Lemieux beaten Johnson, he would’ve been considered a leading candidate to fight Alvarez in a middleweight championship match May 4 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Lemieux, 29, has won each of his two bouts since former World Boxing Organization (WBO) Middleweight Champion Billy Joe Saunders masterfully out-boxed him on December 16, 2017, at Place Bell in Laval, Quebec, Canada.
Lemieux’s first-round knockout of Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan on the undercard of the Alvarez-Gennady Golovkin rematch on September 16 moved Lemieux into position to challenge Alvarez.
Johnson trains out of the Sadam Ali Boxing Center in Brooklyn, New York, under the watchful eyes of American Coach Andre Rozier, and fights under the banner of Golden Boy Promotions.
The fight against Lemieux was set to take place on one of the world’s biggest stages for boxing and professional entertainment – Madison Square Garden which is known as the ‘Mecca of Boxing’.
Johnson is the WBA’s International Middleweight and World Boxing Council’s (WBC) Silver Middleweight titles holder, and hopes to add a world title to that collection in the not too distant future. The veteran Bahamian fighter was pounded in his last fight against Derevyanchenko before going down, and is now looking to get back on track.