By Dean Berman: Former IBF middleweight champion David Lemieux (40-4, 34 KOs) will be coming off of a 15-month layoff when he returns to the ring to face Max Bursak (34-5-2, 15 KOs) on December 7 at the Bell Centre in Montreal, Canada.

Lemieux, 30, has won his last two fights since suffering an embarrassing one-sided 12 round unanimous decision defeat at the hands of former WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders on December 16, 2017.

Since that defeat, Lemieux has beaten Karim Achour and Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan. Lemieux’s impressive first round knockout win over Spike O’Sullivan took place in September 2018.  With a win like that, Lemieux should have come back quickly, but hes’s now been out of action for over a year. Lemieux can’t afford too many more long layoffs like that if he wants to make the most out of the remaining time he has with his boxing career.

The Saunders fight was one of Lemieux’s low points in his career, as he was never competitive at all. Going into the match, Lemieux had struggled to make weight. When he finally did, he looked drained during the fight, and not at his best.

Lemieux had been thinking of moving up to 168 after his defeat to Saunders, but his last fight was at middleweight against O’Sullivan. Bursak is a super middleweight. So it’s likely that Lemieux will be fighting at 168 for this contest. At 5’9 1/2″, Lemieux is short for the super middleweight division, and he could be over-matched against the taller guys.

Simon Kean vs. Siarhei Liakhovich

In undercard fights on the Lemieux vs. Bursk card, former WBO heavyweight champion Siarhei Liakhovich (27-7, 17 KOs) will be taking on 2012 Canadian Olympian Simon Kean (17-1, 16 KOs) in a 10 round fight. The 43-year-old Liakhovich is coming off of a 2-year layoff after beating Ramon Olivas (14-14, 10 KOs) by a third round knockout in October 2017.

Kean, 30, has won his last two fights since being stopped in the 4th round in a shock upset to Dillon Carman (14-5, 13 KOs) in October of last year. Kean came back to avenge his loss to Carman in stopping him in the third round last June.

Arslanbek Makhmudov vs. Samuel Peter

Also on the Lemieux-Bursak undercard is unbeaten heavyweight prospect Arslanbek Makhmudov (9-0, 9 KOs) taking on former WBC heavyweight champion Samuel Peter (38-8, 31 KOs) in a 10 round fight. The 30-year-old Russian Makhmudov is now fighting out of Canada, and trying to make things happen with his career.

Makhmudov has recent wins over Julian Fernandez, Jonathon Rice and Avery Gibson. Makhmudov has good size at 6’5 1/2″ 260+ lbs. but he’s going to have to be pushed fast for him to go anywhere in the sport. He doesn’t have a great amateur background like some of the other Eastern European fighters.

Peter, 39, is coming off of a 7th round injury stoppage loss to Hughie Fury on July 12 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. At this point in former world champion Peter’s career, he’s become an opponent for other fighters.

Peter is known for his fights against Wladimir Klitschko, James Toney, Vitali Klitschko, Oleg Maskaev, Eddie Chambers, Jameel McCline, Jeremy Williams and Charles Shufford. Peter has been on the downward slope of his career since losing his World Boxing Council heavyweight title against Vitali Klitschko in 2008. That loss took a lot out of Peter, as his career hasn’t been the same since.