Billy Joe Saunders 25 (12 KO’s)-0-0 is on the crux of mega fights with either Canelo Alvarez or Gennady Golovkin, he’s undefeated and has a rising profile in the UK, but with big fights looming on the horizon Saunders has elected to face dangerous Canadian David Lemieux 38 (33 KO’s)-3 (2 KO’s)-0.
It looks on the face of it that Saunders is being brought in as an opponent against Lemieux even though Saunders holds the WBO belt. Golden Boy who manages both Canelo and Lemieux clearly sees a potential fight between the two as Canelo is number one in the WBO rankings and is therefore bringing in Saunders to add a title belt to the matchup. Saunders is fighting in Lemieux’s backyard of Quebec and the fact that this fight was a voluntary defence for Saunders raises the question on whether this is a high risk low reward fight for the Englishman, though I congratulate him on taking such a dangerous fight.
One only needs to look over Lemieux’s record to know he is a puncher, but he can look a little wild at times especially when he is looking to finish, looping his right hand and perhaps not using his jab to its full extent. However, as a former champion he has pedigree against top names in the division such as: Curtis Stevens, Hassan N’Dam, Glen Tapia and of course his failed attempt against middleweight king Gennady Golovkin. So it’s doubtful that he will freeze as the bell sounds, but Lemieux will need to concentrate on his footwork in particular is he is wants to be landing consistently on such a slippery operator such as Saunders.
Saunders is for many your typical southpaw, using educated footwork and a quick jab to set up an array of punches both head and body. Though Saunders isn’t a big puncher by any stretch he is definitely not feather fisted, almost getting Andy Lee out of there en route to winning the title. In many ways Saunders’s biggest weakness is his dedication to the game, which has seen his form rise and fall throughout his career, most notably in his outing in March last year when he was fortunate enough to be on the end of some very questionable scorecards against Artur Akavov. Although Saunders has yet to be beaten his style is not the most fan friendly, most recently shown in his dramaless victory last time out against Willie Monroe. Though he has an underrated resume in beating previously undefeated fighters such as Jarrod Fletcher, John Ryder, Gary Spike O’Sullivan and Chris Eubank Jnr.
Though Saunders is clearly being brought in to lose his belt, he should be too much for Lemieux who doesn’t have quite the boxing ability of Saunders, and should lose on points. Though if Saunders hasn’t taken his training camp seriously enough, he could fade towards the latter half of the fight. I see Saunders taking the early rounds using his movement and frustrating the home fighter, though Lemieux should get into the fight in the middle rounds, Saunders should have the chin and the skills to bring the title home and scupper Golden Boy’s chances of making a big in house fight.
Also on the card Antione Douglas 22 (16 KO’s)-1 (1 KO)-1 faces former Billy Joe Saunders victim Gary Spike O’Sullivan 26 (18 KO’s)- 2 (1 KO)-0 in the middleweight division.