Saunders: Lemieux hasn’t faced anyone as slick as me
By Allan Fox: Billy Joe Saunders is making it clear that he does not intend on staying in the pocket tonight against knockout artist David Lemieux in their fight at Place Bell in Laval, Quebec, Canada.
The unbeaten Saunders (25-0, 12 KOs) is going to try and out-slick Lemieux (38-3, 33 KOs) to send him down to a crashing defeat in front of his own fans in Canada.
Saunders will be defending his WBO middleweight title against Lemieux. The WBO belt is Saunder’s golden ticket to retirement cash out fight against the winner of the Saul Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin rematch. Saunders doesn’t even need to beat Canelo or GGG. Just getting the fight will give Saunders a massive payday, especially if it’s Canelo that he ends up facing.
”I think he’s probably been in with a lot bigger punchers than me, a lot bigger, but he hasn’t been in the ring with someone as slick as me,” said Saunders.
Saunders has got to have a better plan on winning the fight tonight than trying to out-slick Lemieux. The fights taking place in the wrong country for Saunders to win by being negative for 12 rounds. He’s got to bring some offense for him to have a chance of beating Lemieux. When picture a fighter that is trying to out-slick his opponent, you can get an image of someone trying to make their opponent miss with their shots for the entire fight.
Vasyl Lomachenko wins by being slick, but he also has excellent offensive skills. Saunders is not a Lomachenko level fighter. For him to beat Lemieux, he’s going to need to box him and use his jab the way that Golovkin beat him in 2015. Golovkin jabbed Lemieux for for the first 7 rounds before switching things up to using his body punching in the 8th round to get a knockout. It worked well for Golovkin, but only because Saunders wasn’t willing to take risks by going on the attack.
Lemieux is a different fighter now. He’s 28, and he’s not going to let Saunders win for lack of trying like he did against Golovkin. What further helps Lemieux in this fight is Saunders’ lack of punching power. Lemieux’s last few opponents have had more punching power than Saunders. There’s nothing that Saunders has in the power department to make Lemieux second guess whether he should go on the attack or not.
”He’s used to an American style or even Golovkin’s style, waiting for bombs to come, taking them and tucking up and then coming back,” said Saunders in talking about Lemieux’s fighting style. ”He won’t be landing with none of them — he’ll be missing with a load of them and then I’ll be coming back and I’ll break his heart.”
It’s possible that Saunders could wind up wearing Lemieux out by making him miss and then countering him all night long. I don’t think it’s going to happen without Lemieux landing his own shots. Lemieux is an accomplished body puncher. If he can’t land his punches to the head of Saunders, then he’ll start aiming his shots to the body.
Saunders is going to have problems keeping from getting hit by Lemieux’s body shots in the fight. It’s worthwhile for Saunders to try to avoid Lemieux’s shots as much as possible, but I doubt that he’ll be able to keep out of the way of all of his big punches. Something is going to get through to land from Lemieux.