Hellraiser Boxing - Hellraiser Boxing's preview and prediction for Billy Joe Saunders' huge test in Canada against heavy handed David Lemieux, on Saturday night.
Hellraiser Boxing News | Saunders vs Lemieux Preview
Hellraiser Boxing's preview and prediction for Billy Joe Saunders' huge test in Canada against heavy handed David Lemieux, on Saturday night.

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Saunders vs Lemieux Preview

by Adam Thorn

The build up to Billy Joe Saunders’ WBO middleweight title defence against Lemieux has been more subdued than usual, absent of antagonism (thus far)*. It’s rather nice to just be focussing on BJ’s undoubted boxing ability, and the monstrous power the challenger, David Lemieux, brings. Online antics and threats may get attention, but when it comes down to it, what people want is action, and this fight certainly promises that.

Perhaps focussing on Lemieux is what Saunders has been doing, too, which would be for the best. Billy Joe has made no secret of the fact he wants the winner of Golovkin and Alvarez, when they again meet, in a fight likely to take place next May. Billy’s boxing ability has been tested, and he’s passed with varying degrees of ease each time, but Lemieux will test his chin, and that is something both Golovkin and Alverez will do. Beating Lemieux soundly will go a long way to proving BJ is next in line.

Under new trainer Dominic Ingle Saunders has looked rejuvenated; often criticised for his physique, Billy Joe now looks better than ever. In their first fight together as a team, a solid points win over Willie Monroe Jr., there was no lapse in concentration, which has blighted Saunders in the past. Ingle has been talking about how Billy Joe has come to him at the, “right time”, specifically, at a point where he was ready to listen to advice.

Listening to his instructions will be a key deciding factor in his fight with David Lemieux, a man who won his first twenty contests by stoppage. He may now have accrued three defeats, but the Canadian has obvious, devastating power. Of those losses on his resume, two were consecutive, Lemieux was stopped by Marco Antonio Rubio then outpointed by Joachim Alcine. Both were something of a shock. David then fought Goliath, Gennady Golovkin, just over two years ago, and despite commendable bravery was halted in the eighth.

Since that loss to Golovkin, Glen Tapia and then most recently Curtis Stevens have found Lemieux too much for them, falling short of the distance. Christian Rios and Marcos Reyes have heard the final bell, however. Does this suggest a lack of power- or ability to land that power cleanly- at world level? If the answer yes to either, or both, then David might be in trouble.

There is home advantage working for the Canadian, though. Will Billy Joe need to win by a huge margin to get a close decision as is so often the case for away fighters, even in the UK? Well, recent history suggests not, James DeGale retained his IBF supermiddleweight crown against Lucian Bute in Canada two years ago and received fair treatment. The biggest worry for Billy may well be that if a known puncher David lands and troubles the Brit, he may not get as long as he might elsewhere to recover.

Saunders has been suggesting he’s going to let Lemieux walk onto counters and power shots and eventually put him away, but it’s far more likely that he is only half right. Lemieux’s best shot is to stop the champion, Saunders is far too accomplished a technician to be outboxed, short of getting injured, and David will come at him with increasing intensity through the fight. Southpaw Billy will keep a big distance between his chin and that right hand and rack up rounds. The fight may get closer and closer, possibly even dangerously so for Billy in the mid to late stages, but eventually Saunders will prevail by roughly a four round margin.

*With the exception of Saunders threatening to "slap" Oscar De La Hoya "in the mouth". Which should he do, rest assured we'll run the headline "BJ slaps Oscar in the mouth". You're welcome.

Posted: 15th Dec 2017

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