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Saunders outclasses Lemieux on the road in career performance


By Rizwaan Zahid

Billy Joe Saunders put on a masterful display of ring generalship and boxing skills en route to a 12 round unanimous decision (118-110, 117-111, 120-108) over David Lemieux in Laval, Canada, just outside of Lemieux’s hometown of Montreal.


From the opening bell, it was apparent that Saunders was the quicker of the two, as he pumped out his jab from the southpaw stance, keeping the powerful Canadian at distance.


It was much more of the same in round two, as Lemieux couldn’t connect with anything. Round three was better for Lemieux, but when he did land shots, they were too few and far in between. Round five saw Saunders playing the villain, making Lemieux miss wildly and then saluting the crowd while Lemieux regrouped to try again.


Saunders’ disciplined defense became frustrating for Lemieux who, on this night at least, began looking more and more like a one-dimensional fighter that Saunders said he was.


In round seven, Saunders bloodied Lemieux’s nose. Lemieux’s lack of cutting off the ring played right into Saunders’ hands as the fight went on. Lemieux would go in recklessly, before Saunders turned him around and pepper him with a combination.


That pattern continued until a short burst from Lemieux in the final seconds of the 11th round gave him some momentum. It was short lived though, as Saunders avoided any damage in the 12th round.

“I knew what sort of fighter David Lemieux is and I know what sort of coach he’s got,” Saunders told HBO’s Max Kellerman after the fight. “I look easy to hit, I look easy to hurt, I look easy to put down, I look like I’m running out of gas. But you can’t hit me.”


“At this time last year, I was an absolute disgrace (vs Artur Akavov) in Scotland. And I would never, ever jump in the ring again with a performance like that. And that’s down to one man and one man only, (his trainer) Dominic Ingle from Sheffield. If it wasn’t for him, my boxing career would be finished and over.”


While Lemieux accepted his defeat, he said a hand injury and Saunders style made it difficult for him.


“I wasn’t at my best,” Lemieux said. “Hats off to Billy Joe, but as of the second round, my left hand, I couldn’t use it the way I wanted to.”


“He was running away from the first round till the end. I guess that’s the strategy to win, running away. If that’s the way he wants to win, congratulations.”


For Lemieux, this could very well be the last hurrah on the big stage. After falling to both Gennady Golovkin and Billy Joe Saunders over the last two years, it’s unlikely he’ll get a rematch with either of those two anytime soon, or a fight with “Canelo” Alvarez.


For Saunders however, he has put himself in the mix as arguably the third or fourth best middleweight in the world after both Canelo and Golovkin. A Daniel Jacobs fight could loom in the future for Saunders’ American debut.


Saunders was able to defeat Lemieux an entirely different way than Golovkin did. However it’s that supreme ring knowledge that might give him a chance at proving how good he really is. On this night at least, he showed that he belongs in the discussion of potential middleweight fights that can be made for 2018.

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