Canada's David Lemieux is completely aware of the destruction Gennady Golovkin has unleashed, the 20-bout knockout streak and 91% knockout ratio being as subtle as a punch on the nose.
But Lemieux, a power puncher himself with 30 knockouts in 34 fights, said that by elevating to middleweight world champion himself and striking the right financial deal in short order, he hasn't once hesitated to embrace a challenge few others have sought.
"Just because most people have done it this way doesn't mean everybody's going to do it that way," Lemieux said Thursday, appearing at L.A. Live's Conga Room to promote his Oct. 17 title-unification bout against the unbeaten Golovkin (33-0, 30 KOs) at Madison Square Garden.
Big-name fighters such as Julio Cesar Chavez Jr., Andre Ward and Miguel Cotto have sought other avenues than Golovkin.
"Sheep live in groups. Lions live alone," Lemieux said. "So when that opportunity came to me, I saw I'm ready, saw we got what we want … it's a super-fight. Why not now? I'm not scared of anyone. I'm a world champion. I'm very confident in my abilities."
More than 15,000 tickets have already been sold by MSG for the HBO pay-per-view bout that also includes a World Boxing Council flyweight title defense by Nicaragua's Roman "Chocalitito" Gonzalez (43-0, 37 KOs) versus former two-division champion Brian Viloria.
The shine of Lemieux's confidence in the face of the killer from Kazakhstan was a welcome departure given Golovkin's impressive but not heavily challenged run since coming to fight in the U.S. three years ago.
"I'm not a dreamer. I'm a realist," said Lemieux, who claimed the International Boxing Federation belt in June with a five-knockdown unanimous-decision victory over Hassan N'Dam in Montreal. "I know I'm going to win. I've gotten to know my abilities. … Determination is why I'm here today.
"We're two pit bulls unleashed and we're both going to go for the neck."
Golovkin, 33, never engages in much talking. He saves his entertainment for inside the ring, relying on the knowledge gained through an estimated 350 amateur fights and power amplified through training in Big Bear for Abel Sanchez.
Golovkin said he's watched Lemieux (32-2) become "much better" since his April 2011 technical-knockout loss to Marco Antonio Rubio – whom Golovkin knocked out in the second round in October.
"I respect him because he's a champion," Golovkin said. "I have a plan, my strategy, I know my job."
Sanchez said defense is more of a priority than usual.