Lemieux: I’m ready to smash Saunders’ face
By Jeff Aranow: Former IBF middleweight champion David Lemieux (38-3, 33 KOs) is fully psyched up and ready for his fight this Saturday night against WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders (25-0, 12 KOs).
The two fighters have been waiting for 2 months to battle it out and they’re finally at fight week. Lemieux has been saying all this time he’s going to smash Saunders and take his WBO title from him in their fight at the Place Bell in Larval in Quebec, Canada.
The winner of Saunders-Lemieux is going to sitting in a great position to make a lot of money facing the winner of the Saul Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin fight. That’s the fight that Saunders has been waiting on. If Saunders had it his way, he’d likely be fighting a soft job on Saturday to further milk his WBO title while he waits for the Canelo-Golovkin rematch to play out. Saunders wouldn’t take any risks by fighting someone where the outcome isn’t a sure thing like it’s been in his last 2 fights against Artur Akavov and Willie Monroe Jr.
”Fight week! Ready to smash his face,” said Lemieux.
Lemieux, 28, says Saunders is kidding himself if he thinks he can run from him for 12 rounds. Lemieux plans on catching up to Saunders and nailing him with his best shots to get him out of there. Lemieux isn’t predicting a knockout. He feels he can go the full 12 rounds if he needs to. Lemieux says he’s trained for every scenario Saunders can use in the fight.
Lemieux believes that Saunders is going to use movement to try and box for the entire fight, which makes sense. Saunders isn’t a huge puncher with his 48 percent knockout percentage. If he tried to have a dust up with Lemieux, it’s likely going to end badly for him with Lemieux knocking him out before long.
Saunders talks a good game. He spent much of the conference call on Monday trash talking about Lemieux’s legs, telling him that he’s got short legs. It was nonsense stuff from Saunders, and it had nothing to do with the actual fight.
Lemieux’s trainer Marc Ramsey believes his fighter will do the job on Saunders.
“You have a good technician who is very fast, a great mover,” said Lemieux’s trainer Marc Ramsey to Boxcaster in talking about Saunders. “Then you’ve got a pressure fighter in David. The one that is going to be able to impose his style is going to be the winner. I truly believe it’s going to be Lemieux. I think David can do it. He did it against Hassan N’dam,” said Ramsey.
Lemieux did well against N’Dam in knocking him down 4 times in their fight in 2015. N’Dam was boxing Lemieux the same way that Saunders likely will, but he kept getting caught with left hooks to the head that were putting him down again and again. When N’Dam wasn’t being knocked down, he was doing well by winning rounds with his skills. The problem N’Dam had was he didn’t have the chin to stand up to Saunders; big shots. If the thing happens to Saunders, then we could see him on the canvas multiple times in the fight. Lemieux is a better finisher now than he was in 2015 when he fought N’Dam. If Lemieux gets Saunders in trouble on Saturday, I think he’ll likely knock him out.
“I’m going to make him pay in the ring,” said Lemieux about Saunders. Kb>”All this animosity is going to come out in the ring. If he thinks he can run away for 12 rounds, he’s in a lot of trouble,” said Lemieux.
Lemieux will need to cut off the ring better against Saunders than he did in his fight with Joachim Alcine in 2011. Saunders is not going to make it easy for him in the early rounds.
It’s a given that Saunders is going to use movement at least initially. However, it’s doubtful that Saunders will be able to move for long. He doesn’t possess the stamina to move for a full 12 rounds. It’s also not Saunders’ style to run from his opponents. Saunders will run for a while, but he’ll turn and fight eventually. One reason for that is because he’s fought a lot of marginal fighters, who didn’t have the offensive skills or the chin to stand up to his own power, which isn’t that great. Having been accustomed to fighting weaker opponents, Saunders will feel that he can stand and trade with Lemieux. Once he starts doing that, he’ll be in the line of fire for Lemieux’s big power shots.
”We’ve been training for everything,” said Lemieux. “”Come fight night, there will be no surprises. But I have an idea about how he’s going to fight me, and we’ve prepared very well for it. So, there’s going to be no surprises,” said Lemieux.
Saunders has boxed his last 2 opponents Willie Monroe Jr. and Artur Akavov. He never attempted to slug with either of them for any length of time. Saunders did punch with Andy Lee 2 years ago in their fight on December 19, 2015. Saunders knocked Lee down twice in round 3. Lee was caught cold in that round. Once Lee got comfortable, he dominated the last 7 rounds of the fight, but it wasn’t enough for him to make up for his 2 knockdowns.
Saunders seems to be fading as a fighter. His best years were 2009 to 2015. Since winning the WBO title, Saunders has gone downhill, and looked poor in his last 2 fights. It’s possible that the combination of Saunders’ weight ballooning in between fights and poor training has caused him to well off the mark. Before starting training for this fight against Lemieux, Saunders looked overweight by at least 30 lbs. Saunders has had to use his training camp as a part fat farmer to trim the weight off first before working on the actual boxing. Lemieux looked a lot better in starting his training camp. His weight wasn’t that far off from where he needs to be on Saturday. Saunders was clearly weight drained for the Akavov and Monroe Jr. fights. If the situation is the same for this Saturday’s fight with Saunders being depleted, he’s going to get knocked out. Saunders can’t compete with a puncher like Lemieux in the shape that he was in for the Monroe Jr. and Akavov fights. Lemieux is too good of a fighter to let Saunders survive for long against him if he’s in the state that he was in for his last 2 fights.
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