By Stanley White: Spencer Fearon sees WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders (25-0, 12 KOs) using his boxing skills to out-box his mandatory challenger David Lemieux (38-3, 33 KOs) in their fight on December 16.
Fearon reasons that because Saunders has been out-boxed in the past by Joachim Alcine and Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin, it means that Saunders will be able to do it as well. The one thing that Fearon is concerned about is the judges.
The fight will be taking place in Lemieux’s home country of Canada at Place Bell in Laval, and Fearon thinks it could be difficult for the visitor Saunders to get a decision. Saunders is from the UK, and he’ll be defending his WBO titles on Lemieux’s home turf on December 16.
Saunders vs. Lemieux will be televised by HBO World Championship Boxing. The winner of the fight has a good chance of fighting the Saul Canelo Alvarez vs. Golovkin winner. There’s a lot of money at stake for the winner of Saunders-Lemieux. They could get their biggest purse of their career if they can fight Canelo or GGG.
“Billy Joe Saunders is going to win that fight, and he’s going to outpoint him,” said Spencer Fearon to Fighthype. “He can’t put in the same kind of lackluster performance as he did the last time out. Billy Joe Saunders has just got to do what he does best, and he’s a southpaw. I think Dominic Ingle is the right guy to get his mind right. He’s training now with lineage. We’re going to see. The Ingle stable, they produce champions. You’re not going to see his best work until about 3 more fights,” said Fearon.
Fearon thinks that Ingle is going to improve the 28-year-old Saunders to make him a much better fighter than he is now. Ingle has his work cut out for him though, as Saunders has not looked good in his last 2 fights against Willie Monroe Jr. and Artur Akavov. If Ingle is going to improve Saunders’ game, he’s got a lot of work ahead of him. Saunders is going to need massive improvement for him to beat Lemieux, and then in turn defeat the winner of the Canelo vs. Golovkin fight.
”When you look at David Lemieux, what does he bring to the table? He brings punching power,” said Fearon. ”But he can be schooled, and he can be out-boxed, because I’ve seen that early with Joachim Alcine out-boxing him. So, I’m saying Billy Joe Saunders can do exactly the same thing,” said Fearon.
Lemieux can be out-boxed by a fighter with a good jab, and excellent punching power. Golovkin did it in 2015, but that was largely because Lemieux was afraid to attack him the way he’d attacked his other opponents. Lemieux fought like he was afraid to get near Golovkin. So instead of attacking Golovkin, Lemieux was content eating jabs all night until he was stopped in round 8.
Lemieux realizes now that he fought the wrong fight, and that he would have been wiser to press the attack on Triple G. Even if things didn’t go well for Lemieux, he at least would have put himself in position to potentially win the fight.
”My reservation is it’s in Canada,” said Fearon. ”If it goes to the points, we don’t know. But I think he can build up a healthy lead, enough of a healthy lead, and maintain that healthy lead. Maybe he can get through some scared rounds, but come out as a comprehensive points winner,” said Fearon.
Saunders’ problem is he only has one way of beating Lemieux, and that’s to go the 12 round distance and possibly win a decision. If Saunders goes 12 rounds with Lemieux, it’s going to mean that he’ll soak up a massive amount of punishment along the way. Even if Saunders does make it to the final bell, he’s going to be in such bad shape that there’s little chance that the judges could mess up the decision by picking Saunders as the winner. It would be in Saunders’ best interest to do everything he can to ensure that the fight doesn’t last the full 12 rounds, because he could take a real beating from Lemieux. The way that Lemieux is fighting right now, it’s not a good idea to fight a full 12 round match against him, because it’ll give him too many opportunities to score a knockout.
Saunders doesn’t have to worry as much as Fearon thinks he does about losing a controversial decision to Lemieux. That’s not how Lemieux wins his fights. He hasn’t been involved in any controversial decisions that went his way during his 10-year pro career. The only controversial fight that Lemieux has been involved with is his 12 round majority loss to Joachim Alcine in 2011. That was a fight that Lemieux did more than enough to win, but the judges still gave it to Alcine. Lemieux deserved the win based on his better work through the first 6 rounds of that fight. If Saunders loses to Lemieux, it’ll likely be by a knockout or by a clear decision in which he’s knocked down 2 or 3 times.
Lemieux hits very hard and Saunders is going to have a devil of a time trying to keep from getting hit. The fighters that were able to go the distance with Lemieux in the last 3 years were guys that took enormous punishment, and they lost by lopsided scores. Since 2014, Lemieux has beaten the following fighters by decision: Marcos Reyes, Cristian Fabian Rios and Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam. If Saunders takes the same kind of punishment that those fighters took against Lemieux, there’s little chance that he’ll be able to win a decision.