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Gary O'Sullivan is stopped by referee Russel Mora during his middleweight boxing match against David Lemieux.
Gary O'Sullivan is stopped by referee Russel Mora during his middleweight boxing match against David Lemieux.
Image: SIPA USA/PA Images

'I'm going to buy a nice house for my family in Togher when I get home, that's why I do all this'

Ireland’s Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan suffered a brutal loss to David Lemieux on Saturday night.
Sep 16th 2018, 9:40 PM 24,583 12

Declan Taylor reports from Las Vegas

NOT EVEN A crushing one-round defeat was enough to turn Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan back to the drink in the early hours of Sunday morning, after returning from a precautionary visit to a Nevada hospital.

Instead, the 34-year-old father of four kicked back with a cup of tea, a bottle of alcohol-free beer and a broken nose. “But who cares about that?” He said. “I’ve done it 14 times already, it’s like sweating to me.”

Having banked a career-high purse, understood to be around €300,000, it was suggested to Spike that he may take the money and run, having been ‘switched off’ by David Lemieux’s searing left hook, which ended his big Vegas debut after just 2:44 of round one.

But, now 31 fights deep into his professional career, O’Sullivan has no plans to retire and is instead plotting a move down in weight and a fresh quest for world honours.

A full 28 weeks into sobriety, he feels well capable of shedding the six pounds which would take him inside the 11 stone light-middleweight limit after feeling that he may have been simply outgunned by a far heavier man at the T-Mobile Arena.

Indeed Lemieux rehydrated to a colossal 179lbs, which was over a stone heavier than Spike’s 163lbs fight-night weight.

“Maybe the weight difference was a factor,” he said. “But hey, maybe it wasn’t. I know he was far bigger than me so the move down in weight makes sense.

“I made middleweight so easily this time because I’m off the booze. I didn’t need to cut at all and was eating plenty. I will be able to do 11st no problem.

“I believe the best is yet to come.”

But first he will lick his wounds after joining the long list of fighters who have found themselves stricken in the middle of a Las Vegas ring.

“They say it’s the shots you don’t see coming that do the damage and it’s true,” he said.

I didn’t even feel the shot land, it has never happened before, it’s a completely new experience.

“I didn’t even know how long I’d been down for, I wondered whether it was minutes, he must have switched me off momentarily.

“I remember during our conference call he said he’d be the first to put me down and he was right about that. But fair play to him, he did what nobody else could do.

“I think I can certainly come back — really, I’m f***ing disappointed with that punch. I genuinely thought I was going to win.

“Even though I lost I thought he was fairly s**t to be honest, I thought he’d be better than he was.

“I thought ‘f***ing hell this is going to be easy’ and probably got a bit too relaxed then next thing ‘bang’.”

Spike is due to fly home on Tuesday after spending Sunday and Monday seeing the sights of Vegas. It is not unlikely that he may even take a stroll past the T-Mobile Arena and wonder what might have been had he weathered an early storm.

He added: “When I got back from the hospital I was full of energy because I am the fittest I’ve been in my life and ready for 12 rounds.

“I thought I would let him expend his energy and then take over later on in the fight. That was the plan.

“It doesn’t even feel like I’ve been in a fight apart from having a bit of a sore nose. I still feel like if I was to fight David Lemieux tomorrow I would beat him, that’s just the way I am.

“The overwhelming feeling is frustration but now I’ve got to go back to the drawing board.

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“But overall it has been a good week, a good experience. I have always said throughout my whole life that it’s all about learning — you either win or you learn.”

Win, learn and earn. Aside from the main event fighters Gennady Golovkin and Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, O’Sullivan was the highest paid man on the card.

“That makes me feel proud,” he said.

I’m going to buy a nice house for my family in Togher when I get home, that’s why I do all this.

“I went in the ring prepared to die for my family if I had to. I felt so good.

“Beforehand I signed a beneficiary form, like a will, a prior to the fight which guaranteed the money would be for her and my kids if anything bad happened to me. You never know, man.

“I went through some stuff in my life before when I thought I was going to die. I never thought I’d be around today but I’m still here thankfully.

“I’m willing to die in the ring as long as my family are looked after — and that’s the truth.

“I’ve dealt with far worse in my time. It’s a boxing match. I’m sickened that I lost but life goes on.”

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Declan Taylor


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