Saunders and Lemieux trash talking already
By Jeff Aranow: It didn’t take Billy Joe Saunders and David Lemieux to start trash talking each other. With their December 16 fight announced on Tuesday, Lemieux (38-3, 33 KOs) and WBO middleweight champion Saunders (25-0, 12 KOs) are already bashing each other up in the media in preparation for their December 16 fight at Place Bell in Laval, Canada.
Saunders vs. Lemieux will be televised on HBO at 9:40 p.m. ET/6:40 p.m. PT.
Former IBF middleweight champion Lemieux has been referring to Saunders as a “coward” and saying he’s going to send him to the hospital. Lemieux cannot wait to get at Saunders to try and rip his WBO 160 lb. title away from him in their fight in 2 months from now on HBO Championship Boxing. Lemieux has the home country advantage with the fight taking place in Canada, and he plans on using it to help him defeat Saunders.
Winning the WBO title will give Lemieux a great bargaining tool to get fights against Gennady “GGG” Golovkin or Saul Canelo Alvarez. Lemieux is the backup option for Canelo, says Golden Boy CEO Oscar De La Hoya. If negotiations between Triple G and Canelo don’t produce a fight, Golden Boy will make a Canelo-Lemieux fight to take place instead on May 5.
“It’s time to be world champion again,” Lemieux said to espn.com. “Saunders is about to get destroyed. I’m going to be extremely ready for this fight and I’m going to inflict a lot of pain on Saunders. His 0 must go.”
It’s been 2 years since Lemieux lost his International Boxing Federation in a defeat against Golovkin in 2015. Lemieux has won his last 4 fights beating Marcos Reyes, Curtis Stevens, Cristian Fabian Rios and Glen Tapia. Lemieux hasn’t fought since beating Reyes last May, as he’s a shoulder problem that kept him out of the ring. The injury has healed and he’s prepared to start fighting again.
Lemieux wants to go right after Saunders, 28, on December 16 to look to destroy him the same way he’s done against many of his other opponents. Saunders is mostly a boxer, and he tries to outsmart his opponents and win fights based on his boxing skills rather than his brawn. Saunders has sneaky power though, and he’s quite capable of hurting his opponents when he loads up on his shots. Saunders knocked Andy Lee down twice in round 3 of their fight on December 19, 2015. Those knockdowns came in handy when it came to the scoring of the fight. Saunders won a 12 round majority decision. Without the 2 knockdowns, he would have lost to Lee.
Lemieux will have to give Saunders some respect inside the ring. He’s not going to be able to barrel over him like he’s not even there. Saunders can punch well to the body, and that’s one of Lemieux’s weaknesses. Gennady Golovkin twice hurt Lemieux with body shots in their fight in 2015. Golovkin stopped Saunders in the 8th round from a body shot.
”I’m expecting a good, clean, fair decision. Once I beat Lemieux I’ll be moving onto bigger fish — the winner of the (expected) rematch between Canelo (Alvarez) and Golovkin,” said Saunders to espn.com.
It was only last week when the World Boxing Organization president Paco Valcarcel ordered the Saunders vs. Lemieux fight. That was a surprise move to some fans, considering that they expected Saunders to be able to make another voluntary defense of his WBO title. Saunders has defended his title twice in the last year in defeating Willie Monroe Jr. and Artur Akavov. Saunders wanted to stay busy long enough to get a fight against Canelo or Triple G. Saunders can still fight the winner of that mega-fight, but he’ll have to deal with Lemieux first.
It works out better for Saunders if he can get a victory over Lemieux, because that would enable him to negotiate a better deal against the winner of the Canelo-Golovkin fight. Saunders’ resume is thin in talent. He’s beaten Chris Eubank Jr. and Andy Lee, but those are the only 2 notable opponents that he’s faced during his career. A victory over Lemieux will enhance Saunders’ credentials. It would also enable Saunders to make a couple a voluntary defense in his next defense if he must wait on the winner of the Canelo-GGG fight to sign for a fight with him.