“The Times They Are a-Changin,'” Bob Dylan’s famous hit and the title track for his 1964 album, was the songwriter’s deliberate attempt to create an anthem of change for his generation. More than four decades later my generation was introduced to this classic tune in the introduction credits to the movie based on the famous graphic novel, The Watchmen. Now while the film, like the novel, has numerous themes and layered symbolism, my focus here is on its unique perspective on the hero archetype. The final scene of the movie puts the hero in a situation where he must sacrifice himself for the greater good.
The song “The Times They Are A-Changin'” was David Lemieux’s choice for his ring walk when he faced Hassan N’Dam this past June and I think this was a deliberate choice on his part. How is this song relevant to Lemieux’s situation? I can think of several reasons, but here’s just two to think about.
First off, there’s the fact that for a while it looked like Lemieux would never be a champion. No one could deny his talent or his punching power, but in defeats to Marco Antonio Rubio and Joachim Alcine it appeared he would not realize his potential. So the times are changing because Lemieux has changed. His re-emergence as one of boxing’s elite fighters is proof of that. Now he’s warning everyone there’s going to be a bigger change yet about to happen.
The other big change is one that speaks to the sport of boxing. For years fight fans have been complaining about how the best fighters are not facing each other, how the best matches don’t get made, how elite boxers like Floyd Mayweather and Andre Ward won’t take on big challenges. Now consider that and think about what Lemieux has done. He won the IBF title by beating N’Dam, and instead of taking the safe route and having a couple of hometown money fights, he steps up and challenges the guy no one wants to fight, Gennady Golovkin. And, if he wins, he’ll be the logical next opponent for whoever wins the upcoming Miguel Cotto vs Canelo Alvarez showdown.
Think about it: when’s the last time you saw anyone step up and choose the toughest opponents, the most dangerous fights, when they didn’t need to? This is why I think David Lemieux is a hero. Because he’s doing something different. The times are changing and it’s time for real fighters to be real champions, and that means taking risks, taking on the biggest challenges. After all, that’s how great fighters are made. Doesn’t matter how talented you are, in the end, it’s about whether or not you were willing to take on the biggest risks and face the best fighters. The best fighting the best: that’s what boxing should be all about!
Yeah, the odds are long on Lemieux. Almost no one is picking him to win tonight. But win or lose, David Lemieux has already sent a statement to the whole sport. The times are changing. David Lemieux of Montreal, Quebec is a major force in the middleweight division and the best fighters are going to have to reckon with him. And on top of that, someone just raised the bar. If you have a title belt, it’s time to do what David Lemieux has done. Step up and take the biggest challenge for the sake of boxing, for the sake of the fans. Lemieux didn’t need to take this fight, but he did. And now Madison Square Garden is sold out. And the whole world is watching. The times, they are a-changin’. — Manny Montreal