Lemieux: Saunders was running from me
By Jim Dower: David Lemieux was not happy about the way WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders elected to fight him last Saturday night at the Place Bell in Laval, Quebec, Canada. Saunders (26-0, 12 KOs) decided to play it safe against the hard hitter Lemieux (38-4, 33 KOs) by moving continuously for 12 rounds.
When Lemieux did get close, Saunders would wrap him up in a clinch to keep him from getting his shots off. Lemieux proved to be unskilled at dealing with the holding by Saunders. A quality fighter like Andre Ward would have dealt with Saunders’ clinching by hitting him with his free hands to the body while being held. Lemieux didn’t do that. He allowed Saunders to hold him, and that made his job much harder.
Saunders came out on top in winning the fight by a 12 round unanimous decision. The 3 judges unanimously had Saunders winning by a one-sided decision by the scores 120-108, 117-111, and 118-110. Those were not close scores at all.
“I wasn’t at my best. As of the second round I couldn’t use my left hand the way I wanted to,” said Lemieux. ”He was on the run and I had difficulty throwing my shots. I guess his strategy to win is to run away from fighters instead of fighting. If that’s the way you want to win then, hey, congratulations.”
Lemieux looked like a bully that had no answers when he met up with someone that he couldn’t overpower. It was the same thing we saw from Lemieux in his losses to Gennady Golovkin, Marco Antonio Rubio and Joachim Alcine.
Lemieux came across as a poor sport with his comments after the fight last night. It was too one-sided of a fight for Lemieux not to give Saunders more credit for winning. Lemieux saying that he had injured his left hand in round 2 was not a good reason for him to give for his loss. It would have been better if Lemieux had kept quiet about the injury to his hand, and just focused on giving Saunders his credit afterwards.
Lemieux looked unprepared for the movement that Saunders used in the fight. Lemieux should have been leaner, and ready to ready to cut off the ring at a faster pace. Saunders had made it clear in the run up to the fight that he was going to use movement against Lemieux. It’s not as if it was a closely guarded secret that Saunders was going to be mobile for 12 rounds. Lemieux seemed to think that Saunders was going to stand and fight him. When that failed to happen, Lemieux had no answers. He was slow in cutting off the ring, and he let Saunders jab and counter him all night long.
Lemieux can forget about a rematch with Saunders. That’s not going to happen, and it wouldn’t be a clever idea anyway. Lemieux needs to go back to the drawing board and try and rebuild his shattered career. After this loss, Lemieux is going to find it hard to come back. His opponents from here on out are going to be looking to follow the blueprint Saunders created by jabbing and moving for 12 rounds. Unless Lemieux can learn how to deal with that style, his boxing career will soon be finished.