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Saunders worried about being robbed against Lemieux

Billy Joe Saunders David Lemieux Saunders vs. Lemieux

By Scott Gilfoid: Billy Joe Saunders (25-0, 12 KOs) will be leaving the UK to defend his WBO middleweight title in a little more than a month from now against former 160 lb. champion David Lemieux (38-3, 35 KOs) on December 16 at the Place Bell in Laval, Quebec, Canada.

There haven’t been many people making noise about Saunders potentially being robbed by facing Lemieux in Canada.

”The way you’ve got to look at it, the whole world will be watching this fight,” Saunders said to IFL TV. “I will make it as hard or as easy as I want to make this fight. I will beat him convincingly enough where they won’t be able to rob me. I will beat him convincingly. Anywhere you go, the home fighter always gets a close decision, so I can’t afford to let it be close. If I didn’t think I could beat him convincingly, I wouldn’t go [to Canada].”

The conventional wisdom is that if Lemieux wins the fight, he’s going to do it in a stunning manner that there will be no question who the better fighter is of the two. In other words, Lemieux will likely knock Saunders out at some point in the fight if he can catch up to him. Getting close enough to the 28-year-old Saunders to land a big shot will be the tricky part. Saunders has trimmed off a lot of weight, and it looks like he’s trained to do a lot of running inside the ring on December 16. As most boxing fans know, if a fighter chooses to survive and go into sparring partner mode, they’re very hard to knockout.

Saunders can probably keep himself from getting knocked out if he chooses just survive and not try and win the fight. Of course, then he’s not going to keep his WBO middleweight title. It won’t help Saunders complain that he was robbed afterwards, because few boxing fans are going to buy that excuse if all he’s going to do is spoil for 12 rounds.

If Saunders tries to win the fight against Lemieux, he’s going to need to stay in the pocket and trade power shots the way he was doing at times against Andy Lee in 2015. That’s not an approach that would work well against Lemieux. Saunders won’t last long if he wants to fight a war against Lemieux.

Saunders doesn’t possess the power in his punches for him to hurt Lemieux. Looking at the recent photos of how painfully thin Saunders is right now, it’s clear that he’s training for a marathon type of fight in which he runs, and focuses on being elusive for 12 rounds. By taking off so much muscle as well as fat, Saunders is counting on being able to win a boxing match by fighting in an amateur style rather than a pro style. That’s not going to work. Maybe it would if Saunders was fighting at home, but it’s not going to work in Canada. The judges are likely going to expect Saunders to come and fight. If he just stinks up the joint by running, the judges will listen to the booing from the fans and give the rounds to the aggressor Lemieux.

“One month until you hit the canvas,” said Lemieux recently on his social media site.

This fight is not a 50-50 fight like some boxing fans are saying. Lemieux has to be seen as the clear favorite going into the fight due to his power, home town advantage, and the fact that he’s fighting a lot better than Saunders. The two of them appear to be going in different directions right now. Saunders already reached the zenith of his boxing career 2 years ago against Andy Lee in 2015, and he’s been on the decline ever since with poor performances against Artur Akavov and Willie Monroe Jr. You can put some of the blame on Saunders’ bad performances on him having blown up in weight before starting his training camps for the Akavov and Monroe fights, but it doesn’t matter. The fact is that Saunders has looked terrible in his last 2 fights, and he’s coming into the Lemieux contest looking too thin. Saunders has the starved look that you often see from a fighter when he goes overboard in trying to melt off a lot of weight in too much of a hurry. Rather than taking it off gradually, Saunders has dropped the weight in such a rapid manner than he looks like he’s emaciated. That’s not going to help him one bit when he gets inside the ring with Lemieux on December 16.

Saunders is going to try and turn the fight into a chess match in which he jabs, moves and holds for 12 rounds. That’s a stiflingly type of fight that sometimes works for pure boxers against sluggers, but I don’t think it will work against Lemieux for a couple of reasons.

• Lemieux has short arms, and he’s excellent at throwing power shots from close distance. Even if Saunders chooses to use the punch and grab technique, he’s going to get hit while moving forward to grab Lemieux. All it takes for Lemieux to end a fight is one big punch

• Lemieux’s ability to cut off the ring against runners is impeccable. Lemieux cuts off the ring just as good as Gennady Golovkin does. As such, if Saunders decides to run for 12 rounds, Lemieux will catch up to him sooner or later and force him to fight. As weak looking as Saunders is looking right now, he’s not going to be able to stand his ground against Lemieux without getting mowed over like a lawn

You’ve got to give Saunders credit for agreeing to travel to Canada to defend his WBO middleweight title against Lemieux in hostile territory. That takes a lot of courage for a fighter to do that. Unfortunately, it’s going to take more than courage for Saunders to win the fight against a fighter like Lemieux. If all Saunders is planning on doing it pecking away at Lemieux with his weak shots, he’s going to get blasted out in short order on December 16. The outcome of the Saunders-Lemieux fight won’t be decided on a robbery by the judges. It’s very likely going to be decided by a bone-crushing knockout.

If there is going to be a decision, it’ll probably be a one-sided one in which the judges give Lemieux a lopsided 12 round unanimous decision win over Saunders. The reason why the judges will do that is because Saunders will run himself out of the fight by failing to stand his ground against Lemieux. It’ll bad to see Saunders lose his WBO title by going out on a whimper by running for 12 rounds, and failing to get the decision. That’s how things go in boxing. When you get a fighter trying to game the system by running, the judges see through those tactics and they give the win to the other fighter that actually comes to fight. It would be better for Saunders to realize now that he’s not going to be able to spoil his way to a win so he doesn’t waste time with this tactic.

Saunders should be focusing on being big for this fight, because he needs punching power for him to have a chance of beating Lemieux. Further, having extra size will help Saunders take the big shots that Lemieux will be nailing him with in the fight.

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