Saunders: I want Canelo in May after I beat Lemieux
By Dan Ambrose: Billy Joe Saunders (25-0, 12 KOs) says he’s ready to cut in line in front of Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin to take the Saul Canelo Alvarez fight on May 5 after he successfully defends his WBO title against mandatory challenger David Lemieux (38-3, 33 KOs) this Saturday night on December 16 at the Place Bell in Laval, in Quebec, Canada.
(Photo credit: par Vincent Ethier/EOTTM)
Saunders, 28, thinks he’ll knockout Lemieux, because he’ll out-box him and take advantage of his shoulder problem.
Saunders says he can beat Lemieux at level 70 percent preparation, but he’s prepared 110% for the fight. Saunders doesn’t say why Golden Boy Promotions and Canelo would want to take a fight with him rather than Golovkin (37-0-1, 33 KOs), who is a much bigger name and offers far more money in terms of the pay-per-view market. Canelo gains little in fighting Saunders other than his WBO middleweight title.
“The way I’m feeling, I don’t think David Lemieux will go 12 rounds with me,” said Saunders to secondsout.com. “I want Canelo Alvarez. I’d be happy to sign a contract with Golden Boy and my promoter after this fight, and sit down and sign and fight him in May. I choose who I want to fight,” said Saunders.
Golden Boy gains more by setting up a fight between Canelo and Lemieux than a Canelo-Saunders fight. Lemieux is better known in the U.S by casual boxing fans, and he has the more interesting fighting style. Saunders is mostly a boxer, who tends to run out of gas after 6 rounds. Canelo vs. Saunders likely would bring in the same amount of PPV buys as Canelo’s fight with Liam Smith last year in September at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. That fight brought in a little over 300,000 PPV buys on HBO PPV. The boxing public in the U.S won’ care that Saunders is the WBO middleweight champion. It no longer means anything to be a world champion at this point due to the weight classes being watered down with multiple champions. Canelo gains more by fighting guys that the fans have heard of in the U.S. Even if Lemieux loses to Saunders, he’s a better option for Canelo. Saunders isn’t worth fighting other than to pick up his WBO title. Canelo doesn’t care about titles, so Saunders isn’t going to be able to lure him with his WBO strap.
”It would make more sense for me to sit down with Oscar [De La Hoya] and make this easier after I beat Lemieux,” said Saunders. ”If wants me and Canelo wants me, we’ll sit down and make a deal. I’ve signed to fight him twice now, and also signed to fight Canelo twice in 2 fights that didn’t happen. I’m ready to rock and roll whenever they are,” said Saunders.
Saunders is considered the underdog in this fight with Lemieux in the eyes of a lot of boxing fans. Rather than taking his eyes off the prize, Saunders needs to stay focused on trying to beat Lemieux, because there’s a good chance that he’ll lose to him.
”Listen, I’ll get this one out of the way Saturday,” said Saunders. ”To me, David Lemieux is just dog meat for Oscar De La Hoya now. That’s the reason. He’s injury prone; he’s got a bad shoulder. He could be out of this fight, because he’s going to be swinging and hitting fresh air for 12 rounds or LESS,” said Saunders.
It’s interesting that Saunders is already trying to make a deal with Golden Boy for a fight with Canelo before he’s even fought Lemieux. It takes a lot of ego to look past a dangerous fighter like Lemieux. Saunders might be brought down to earth on Saturday when he gets inside the ring with the Canadian.