In a bout that served as a process of elimination for the Middleweight division, Lemieux and Stevens both came in the fight knowing that a win could re-ignite the momentum each man lost after being respectively battered by Gennady Golovkin and a loss would be devastating for their future prospects.
Not as devastating, however, as the left hook that Lemieux landed that not only knocked Stevens out cold, but got him carried out of the ring in a stretcher.
The bout was fought with bad intentions early both Lemieux and Stevens tried to land their big power shots early with Lemieux trying to use his speed and Stevens looking for a big counter. Though the fight seemed even for the first two stanzas, a soft Lemieux looked like he may have been in for a rough night against the motivated Stevens.
In the third, Lemieux was able to land enough shots to back Stevens up to the ropes and uncorked him with the aforementioned hook that not only knocked him down and out, but immediately returned him to elite status in the anemic Middleweight division.
With the win, Lemieux moves to 37-3 and should use the momentum gained in this fight to perhaps goad hermit WBO champion Billy Joe Saunders into a fight or be a suitable foe for Saul Alvarez should a Golovkin fight fail to materialize. As for Stevens, the knockout loss drops him to 29-6, marking his fourth loss against a current or former champion.
The chief supporting action, with action being very lightly used here, was the return of former two-division champion Yuriorkis Gamboa struggling against the awkward Rene Alvarado. Though Gamboa came away with the win, he had a much tougher time against an opponent he would have easily handled in his prime years.
Gamboa spent the majority of the fight on his toes and using his superior boxing technique to bank rounds and get some much needed minutes, but Alvarado had his moments as the fight wore on. In both the seventh and the tenth, Alvarado was able to stun Gamboa and even dropped him in the latter rounds.
It was all for naught as Gamboa earned the decision by scores of 97-92 twice and 97-93. Gamboa moves to 26-1 with the win, his first under his new contract with Golden Boy Promotions, but does so in turning in a performance that leaves more questions than answers of what he may have left to offer at this stage of his career.