It’s hard to think of another fight that was as much of a pure boxing clinic as yesterday night where Billy Joe Saunders 26 (12 KO’s)-0-0 absolutely outclassed puncher David Lemieux 38 (33 KO’s)-4 (2 KO’s)-0 in Quebec, silencing the fans and sending a strong message to other top middleweights.
Prior to this fight many thought that Saunders was perhaps going to be an easy fight for either Canelo Alvarez or Gennady Golovkin due to his rather inconsistent performances and a lack of fights against top competition in America. However this fight against Lemieux puts Saunders firmly in the mix at 160 pounds and shows that he will not be an easy fight for anyone.
When the fight was made many fans and pundits alike were split on the outcome of the result, with both fighters not appearing to be quite at the head of the division, however they could not have been more wrong. From the outset Saunders looked a class above, and seemed to have an answer for whatever Lemieux decided to do, partly this was due to the rudimentary tactics Lemieux employed, walking forward in straight lines and not using any feints, but mostly it was due to Saunders’s incredible movement and discipline. In the first half of the fight Saunders played the role of the matador, pumping out his stiff jab metronomically frustrating the home fighter, and spinning out to the right as Lemieux looked to counter over the jab. This pattern continued for the first 6 rounds, where after Saunders’s trainer Dominic Ingle decided to turn up the heat. Though Saunders is as much of a pure boxer as you are likely to get, he doesn’t naturally panic when the range is closed down, and at many points after the jab Saunders would throw straight left hands and right hooks, when Lemieux thought that Saunders would simply reset.
I believe it was this mentality to not just to outpoint Lemieux but to keep him in his place that broke his spirit, in the initial rounds Lemieux would attempt to bull rush Saunders to land something clean. However as the rounds progressed Lemieux found holding the centre of the ring harder and harder, Saunders making him work for every little bit of success, and you could see Lemieux attempting to land a shot but almost looking like he did not expect it to.
Lemieux will of course not be happy with his performance, perhaps wishing he had thrown more shots to the body early on, using more feints and some throw away jabs just to back Saunders to the ropes, but one has to admire the skills of Saunders here. Though to many the fight wasn’t entertaining since it was so one sided, I thoroughly enjoyed the fight. Just watching a fighter use his legs and waist to tremendous effect while still landing stiff hard shots. The fight can be summarised in a simple statistic, in the whole fight Saunders landed 103 jabs, Lemieux landed just 12.
Though Saunders looked amazing in this fight, I can see why Golden Boy may be wary of putting Canelo in with Saunders now, especially with the great foot movement he put on show. The fight with Golovkin looks more probable from a business perspective, with Golovkin aiming to unify the division, however if the fight does get made perhaps it will not be the one sided affair that many thought it would be.
On the undercard Gary Spike O’Sullivan 27 (19 KO’s)-2 (1 KO)-0 knocked out Antoine Douglas 22 (16 KO’s)-2 (2 KO’s)-1 in the seventh round and is aiming for a rematch with Billy Joe Saunders.