On Saturday, December 16, 2017, Billy Joe Saunders (25-0, 12 KOs) defends his WBO Middleweight title against former IBF Middleweight title holder, David Lemieux (38-3, 33 KOs).
The fight will headline an HBO World Championship Boxing tripleheader at Place Bell in Laval, Quebec, Canada beginning at 9:40 pm, EST/PST.
Saunders will be traveling to enemy territory to face the heavy-handed Lemieux who already owns two wins this year, one of which was against Curtis Stevens that will likely be voted 2017 KO of the Year in most circles.
But if you ask Lemieux, power is not the only attribute he possesses and he’s looking to show the complete package against Saunders.
“People are just talking about my punching power and this and that,” said Lemieux on a conference call on Monday. “But they’re going to be surprised once I start mixing it up with Saunders, and not just the punching behind here, there’s a boxer too.”
Lemieux has bounced back well since losing a one-sided bout against Middleweight kingpin Gennady Golovkin in October of 2015–a fight which saw Lemieux lose his IBF title via eighth-round TKO.
“I’m a whole different guy than I am facing Golovkin,” said Lemieux. “I’m a whole different guy. You put Golovkin back in front of me, and it’s going to be a whole different scenario.”
Indeed, Lemieux will have to show more than he did against Golovkin if he hopes to snag his second world title.
While Saunders does not possess debilitating power like Golovkin, he does have enough pop to earn an opponent’s respect and he’s got a solid jab that can dictate most fights alone.
A major factor in this matchup may just be the pre-fight talking between Saunders and Lemieux as it is clear that Saunders’ trash talk has gotten under Lemieux’s skin.
“I’m going to make him pay in the ring,” said Lemieux. “All this animosity is going to come out in the ring. If he thinks he can run away for 12 rounds, he’s in a lot of trouble. He said a whole bunch of things. Just his character, he is who he is, and I don’t like him.”
Will Lemieux be able to channel his anger and still execute a proper gameplan? Or will he come out swinging for the fences and get easily outboxed?
Tune into HBO on Saturday to find out.