SAUNDERS VS. LEMIEUX MEDIA CONFERENCE CALLTRANSCRIPT
Billy Joe Saunders vs. David Lemieux, a 12-round fight for the Saunders’ WBO World Middleweight Championship, is presented by Golden Boy Promotions and Eye of the Tiger Management in association with Frank Warren.
The event will take place Saturday, Dec. 16 at Place Bell in Laval, Quebec, Canada and will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 9:40 p.m. ET/PT.
OSCAR DE LA HOYA: Thank you to the media for joining us today in this International Media Conference Call for Saunders versus Lemieux. We are kicking off fight week with this call and have a week of events leading up to Saturday’s events, which will surely be a showdown between two heavy hitters this Saturday, December 16th, at the brand new Place Bell in Laval, Quebec, Canada. WBO Middleweight World Champion Billy Joe Saunders will battle the heavy-handed David Lemieux for Saunders title, which is a WBO title. This event is presented by Golden Boy Promotions and Eye of the Tiger Management in association with my partner Frank Warren.
Additionally, we have a spectacular co-event as part of the HBO telecast. Antoine “Action” Douglas versus Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan will be a ten-round fight for the WBO International Middleweight title presented by Golden Boy Promotions, Eye of the Tiger Management, and in association with GH3 Promotions and Murphy’s Boxing.
And opening up the HBO telecast, we will have Cletus “Hebrew Hammer” Seldin returning to the ring just more than a month after his dominating knockout victory. He’s taking on a highly regarded Yves Ulysse Jr., and that’s a ten-round super lightweight, and that will be opening up the telecast on HBO, which begins at 9:40 Eastern/Pacific time.
Tickets for the Saunders-Lemieux are priced beginning at $45 all the way up to $500. They’re still for sale. Tickets are going fast. We’re going to have a full house at the brand new arena.
So at this time, it is my pleasure to introduce to you the president of Eye of the Tiger Management, my good friend and partner at Golden Boy Promotions, Camille Estephan.
Camille Estephan: Hello, everyone. It’s fight week. We’re here. We’re ready. This fight is going to be a war. We expect a show that we’ll talk about for the next decade. HBO undercard as well, two styles that, I think, will marry very well. Great fight, Action Douglas against O’Sullivan. I can’t wait to watch the fight myself as a fan. We thank you for supporting HBO, Golden Boy, Frank Warren. Everybody’s involved. So many promoters, so many people got together to put this great, great event together.
Oscar, Eric, and the team, wonderful job. Thank you very much. We’re ready here.
OSCAR DE LA HOYA: Thank you very much, Camille.
Let me introduce now the trainer for David Lemieux. Obviously, he’s been doing an amazing, amazing job. They’ve been training for months now getting ready for this incredible showdown on December 16th. Here is Marc Ramsey to say a few words. Marc?
MARC RAMSEY: First of all, I would like to thank everybody who made this happen, HBO, Golden Boy, Camille Estephan, and Eye of the Tiger Management, Frank Warren.
I proposed to David Lemieux a couple of tough, tough training camps, but a very successful training camp where we reached every single goal in camp. I’m very enthusiastic about the performance of David Saturday night and a very nice victory just before Christmas for our fans here in Montreal.
OSCAR DE LA HOYA: Thank you. Thank you very much. So now it’s my pleasure to introduce to you Canada’s biggest star. He’s a former IBF Middleweight World Champion. He has a stellar record of 38 wins, 3 losses, and 33 knockouts. David is a thunderous puncher with tremendous, tremendous power in both hands. He captured the IBF World Middleweight Title against Hassan N’Dam in 2015, knocking the then world title holder out four times en route to a decision victory.
This year, Lemieux blasted out title contender Curtis Stevens in a third-round impressive knockout, which is a contender for the Fight of the Year. And then also he went on to beat Marcos “Dorado” Reyes. Now he’s up for another big challenge in Billy Joe Saunders, and that will be for the WBO Middleweight title. It is my pleasure to introduce to you from Canada, David Lemieux.
DAVID LEMIEUX: Thanks, Oscar. Hi, everybody. I’m so excited for this week. Very, very grateful for another great opportunity to become world champion again. I’m thankful for everybody to be part of this. Thanks to Golden Boy Promotions, Eye of the Tiger Management, HBO, and everybody around. Thank you, guys.
It’s been a great camp. I’m really excited for this fight. I’m more excited, actually, just to lay my hands on Billy Joe Saunders more than anything else. He’s got a big mouth. It’s rare I see fighters with such a big mouth. I just hope his fighting is going to come as close as his mouth on Saturday night. He has a very, very aggressive Lemieux on his back, and I’m going to be ready. I’m extremely prepared for this fight. So, it’s not going to be easy for him. It’s actually going to be hell for him.
I’m here to knock him out. I’m here to destroy him every round. It’s 12 rounds. It’s unfortunate for him, but I’m ready for 12 big rounds. I’m excited for this fight to give the fans their money’s worth and finish the year with a new WBO title.
OSCAR DE LA HOYA: All right. Thank you, David. Do we have Team Saunders on?
BILLY JOE SAUNDERS: Here ready to rock and roll.
OSCAR DE LA HOYA: All right. It is my pleasure to introduce to you the man behind the WBO World Champion. Obviously, when you have a world champion like Saunders, you need a great trainer, and so it’s my pleasure to introduce to you Dominic Ingle. Dominic?
BILLY JOE SAUNDERS: No, this is Billy Joe. Dominic is not here. It’s the champ here, just the champ alone.
OSCAR DE LA HOYA: All right. So, let me — it is my pleasure to introduce to you, hailing out of Hatfield, United Kingdom, Saunders is undefeated coming off back-to-back defenses. He is the WBO World Champion. He demolished Irish Andy Lee in 2015. He is the WBO Middleweight Champion, fighting the likes of Willie “The Mongoose” Monroe.
And on Saturday night he’s looking to stay undefeated, and he’s ready. He trained hard for this fight. So, it is my pleasure to introduce the WBO Middleweight Champion Billy Joe Saunders.
BILLY JOE SAUNDERS: Good afternoon, everybody. Training camp is very, very good. It’s come to an end now. Lovely, beautiful, it’s done. Fitness is done. Feeling in the best shape ever. No excuses. No excuses. Don’t need no excuses about injuries or anything else. It’s going to be a very good fight. I think David is a good fighter, but at the minute, he’s just the last bit of dog meat for me because (indiscernible) Golovkin told me I am the dog himself. And I know he’s given David a bit of a beating and also set that big fire out for me.
OSCAR DE LA HOYA: We will now open it up for questions from the media.
Q. My first question for David is I guess this is going to be the first time there’s going to be a boxing event in this particular arena they opened this year in Laval. I wonder, just from your perspective, I know you’ve had a lot of fights in Quebec and in Montreal in particular, but what would it mean for you to win a world title in front of your hometown, the way you did the first time you won a world title belt, especially in a new building, and excited about the fight?
DAVID LEMIEUX: Well, it’s been done once. It’s going to be done twice. I think it’s going to be a great night for the fans, what I’m going to bring to the ring and how I’m going to fight. People are just talking about my punching power and this and that, 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. So, we’ll see how he holds up.
Q. When you fought in your last fight that was — in a world title fight and you lost that fight. What makes you believe that your performance against Saunders is going to be a whole lot different than the way it went down against Golovkin? I know that wasn’t your best performance.
DAVID LEMIEUX: I’m a whole different guy than I am facing Golovkin. I’m a whole different guy. You put Golovkin back in front of me, and it’s going to be a whole different scenario. Now I’ve got Saunders to take care of. We’ve done everything we need to do in camp. I don’t think it’s going to be very difficult in the ring against him.
I’m going to be nice manners because it’s going to be hell for him. But I’m ready. I’m ready to take the title now.
Q. You made it clear, David, in your opening remarks that you don’t really seem to have much like for Billy. I wonder where does that come from? What’s the reason? I’ve heard you talk in other fights, and you didn’t have that kind of animosity between Gennady Golovkin or even Curtis Stevens, necessarily. What is it about Saunders that has you going in the wrong way?
DAVID LEMIEUX: I’m going to make him pay in the ring. 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.
Q. Is there something he said that got you upset or something he did?
DAVID LEMIEUX: Well, he said a whole bunch of things. Just his character, he is who he is, and I don’t like him.
Q. Billy, can you give me your perspective about traveling to your opponent’s hometown to defend your title. Your previous world title fights have taken place in front of the more friendly crowds over in the UK. Give me your mindset about coming to enemy territory.
BILLY JOE SAUNDERS: I go to enemy territory all the time. Where I’m from, when I boxed Andy Lee, it was the biggest feud amongst possible gypsy culture, English, Irish, Scottish, and Welsh all there in one mixture. Most of them there for Andy Lee.
I perform under pressure. I’ve seen David’s absolute best performance against Gennady Golovkin. I think David is very weak in the mind. And at the end, I don’t care if it’s in his backyard, put the ring there. As long as there’s a ring we can get in, that’s all that matters.
I’m quite happy to know I’m under his skin because, if he wants to play a boxing match, then bring a blindfold, and I’ll put it on, and I’ll beat him. That’s how confident I am.
Q. Do you have any regard for his punching power? Most people watch David fight, they think — and have seen knockouts he had against Curtis Stevens, and think of David honestly as one of the top punchers in the sport regardless of weight class. Do you have any thoughts about the kind of punching power he possesses?
BILLY JOE SAUNDERS: Against bums, yeah, knocking out old men, but he got stuck against Rubio. He’s a tough man with power. He lost his next and then fought bums all the way up until Golovkin. Curtis Stevens, he’s not an A-level fighter. He’s just a step up, a bit of a seasonal fighter. He’s really nothing special. He dealt with him, fair play. But he got spanked by Golovkin previous to that.
When you mix him up against the very, very best of the league, he’s not quite comfortable. He didn’t win a round against Golovkin.
Q. One more question for you, Billy. Since you’re so confident you’re going to win this fight, what kind of big fight in the middleweight division or maybe a different division do you want after this fight? There’s obviously a possibility of a Canelo Alvarez-Gennady Golovkin rematch. What do you want to do after you beat him?
BILLY JOE SAUNDERS: I want whoever’s next. I would love to fight Canelo Alvarez. I would love to fight him. As long as it’s all a fair playing field here in Canada, which I’m sure it will. I don’t want no Canelo-Golovkin results. I want a fair result. If David Lemieux beats me fair and square, I will shake his hand. But when I beat him fair and square, he won’t even shake my hand, and rightly so.
Q. Billy, just what you just mentioned about going to basically his hometown and you want fair play, how concerned are you about the judging if the fight goes the distance?
BILLY JOE SAUNDERS: Listen, I’m not concerned at all. We’ve got one Canadian, one English, and one other nationality. So it’s going to be a fair playing field. Listen, David’s already said that he’s going to knock me out. So we don’t need judges, do we? He’s already put that pressure on himself. He has to come and knock me out, and if he doesn’t knock me out, there’s no way in God’s name that he’s going to win this fight because, to me, he will be a walking punch bag.
Q. Obviously, if you win this fight, you’re in a great position because they haven’t made the Canelo-Golovkin rematch. How do you feel about possibly getting Canelo, as you just mentioned, if you win this fight?
BILLY JOE SAUNDERS: When I win this fight, that’s the one I want is Canelo. He’s a global superstar. He’s the one you have to beat to get recognized at the high potential of this game. I would love to work with Oscar De La Hoya and Frank Warren Promotions to make that fight after, but I’ll be up for that fight with Canelo.
Q. And you obviously have no trouble coming to Las Vegas or something like that based on what you said, right?
BILLY JOE SAUNDERS: Listen, if I will come to Canada to spank David, I will go to Las Vegas, Mexico, wherever they want, to be in the fight. I’m not in it for money. I’m not in it for anything else. I’m in it because I want to be involved in big fights. Now I’ve got my hand in the big pot, I don’t want to make any slip-ups. So I’ve got to make sure I’m 100 million percent on Saturday night, which I will be.
Q. David, what is your perspective on possibly getting another — if you win this fight, possibly getting another shot at Golovkin or possibly facing Canelo?
DAVID LEMIEUX: These are all names that will come up sooner or later, so I will be prepared when their time comes.
Q. Hi, David. I just wonder, you’re up against a left-hander, unbeaten guy who doesn’t have a lot of knockouts on his record. So the obvious thing would be power against — puncher against boxer. Is that the way you see the fight?
DAVID LEMIEUX: You know, we’ve prepared for many scenarios. I’ve had multiple sparring partners. We’ve been training to brawl. We’ve been training for everything. Come fight night, there will be no surprises. But I have an idea about how he’s going to fight against me, and we’ve prepared very well for it. So there’s going to be no surprises for me.
In regard of fighting a left-handed guy, I’ve always done good against left-handed guys. It’s not a problem.
Q. Were you inspired at all by Jean Pascal winning his farewell fight?
DAVID LEMIEUX: Inspired? No, but I guess he did do good. I didn’t really see the fight, but congratulations to him. He had quite a comeback.
Q. David, I’m sure that Saunders points to your record and says, well, he has losses, and I don’t. However, do you think that those losses give you a level of improvement and learning that somebody with an O on their record doesn’t have? In other words, is that an advantage to you?
DAVID LEMIEUX: If you look at those losses, there’s really only one loss that I can credit. The two losses were early in my career, the first one against Rubio, and the one against Alcine is very debatable, in my eyes. I still don’t believe I lost that fight.
The one against Golovkin, I had my issues. Right away the fight was done. No excuses. I worked my way back up, and I’m very confident in getting those defeats back to a win on Saturday. The first thing to do is to get this deal settled, and we’ll talk about Golovkin or Canelo or whoever it is.
Q. And earlier you were asked about fighting in this new arena in front of the Canadian fans. I think many people are surprised how avid the Canadian fans are, that there are so many very strong Canadian boxing fans. Why do you think that that is? That doesn’t strike people immediately as a country that is very strong with boxing.
DAVID LEMIEUX: We love boxing. We have a lot of good fighters. There’s been a lot of good fighters out here, and boxing has been very active.
Q. Well, they love it, and they show it. The question for you, Billy Joe, you have fought all of your previous professional fights in Great Britain. For your first fight, you choose to come to Canada. Why was that the choice for your first overseas fight?
BILLY JOE SAUNDERS: Because David’s team wouldn’t come to England. I wasn’t going to come to Canada at first, but then if this fight was going to get made, it was going to be after Christmas. I said, listen, I want to beat out twice before the new year, and twice I will be. So traveling is nothing to me. I’m a born traveler. Traveling is nothing to me. I’ve been boxing all over the world since I was 10 years of age, from Russia, from Australia, from Beijing — you name the countries, I’ve been there. I know it’s only amateur boxing, but I’m so used to traveling and preparing to fight the same nervous system, the same energy you need to play.
I’ve seen David. I’ve seen David at his very best, his extreme best. That don’t worry me. He has to bring more than that.
Like I say, boxing is a dangerous sport. One punch can change everything. As David says, he’s a very, very big puncher. So I have to be on my game.
Q. And a final question to the both of you. Are you motivated by the animosity between you? I mean, there’s no love lost at all. Your comments today have been mild compared to Twitter.
BILLY JOE SAUNDERS: I don’t know David. All I know is he’s got short legs. That’s all I said is he’s got short legs. I think with such a nervous — the nerve button a bit. Listen, I don’t not like David. As a matter of fact, after I beat him, I’ll give him a kiss on the cheek, no problem.
Q. Any response, David? And I’ll end my remarks there.
DAVID LEMIEUX: You kiss me on the cheek, you’d better watch out for my hook.
BILLY JOE SAUNDERS: For the hook? I’ll watch out for that one, yeah. I’ll watch out for the hook, David. Careful you don’t pull that shoulder out as well.
DAVID LEMIEUX: What was that?
BILLY JOE SAUNDERS: I said be careful you don’t strain too hard on your shoulder when you try that hook, okay?
DAVID LEMIEUX: I’m ready. Both shoulders are good. Let’s see if your chin holds up.
BILLY JOE SAUNDERS: Good, good, good. My chin will hold up. I’ll promise you that. That’s one thing I’ll promise you, my chin will definitely hold up. If it don’t, you can have my purse. How about that? No problem.
DAVID LEMIEUX: I’ll keep that in mind after the fight.
BILLY JOE SAUNDERS: Keep that in mind because you need it. You’re only getting a small one this time, aren’t you?
DAVID LEMIEUX: I got you in Canada at least.
BILLY JOE SAUNDERS: Yeah, you got me in Canada, no problem. At least it’s a ring, isn’t it? You’ve got me in Canada. I’ll just look at it a little bit and smack you up and go do what I need to do after. That’s what we’ll do.
DAVID LEMIEUX: We’ll see on Saturday.
Q. Billy, you just mentioned something about David’s shoulder. Do you suspect that he has a shoulder injury? Is that what you mean?
BILLY JOE SAUNDERS: I don’t expect nothing. Every fight has had injuries, but some are worse than others. We seen James DeGale last week. He had a shoulder injury, and he rushed back too soon, and he should have waited a bit longer. Look, the way I look at it, I’m sure David is healthy and ready to go because he wouldn’t be in the ring if not. His management team wouldn’t be advising him to get in that ring, I’d like to hope so. If I had an injury, then I wouldn’t be here. So we’ve both got to be 100 percent. Thank God we’re both 100 percent, and we can both go to work on Saturday night.
Listen, I’m not hoping for no advantage or disadvantage for injuries. I’m hoping to get in there against the best guy myself and get the win fairly.
Q. This is a question for Billy Joe Saunders. Hello, champ. It’s great to speak with you, sir. No matter what both of you and David say, the bad blood element of this fight is a big, big talking point. You had a bad blood fight with Eubank, Jr., of course, which you won and still talk about a rematch and various things. Is this more bad blood in this fight, do you think? Do you see this as more of a fight where you dislike your opponent?
BILLY JOE SAUNDERS: Like I said earlier on, I don’t dislike David. I don’t know him to dislike him. I don’t really keep track of him, how he goes on and how he don’t. All I know is that he said some — he mentioned about putting people in a coffin dead on Twitter. Now, I’ve only got respect for the boxing world, and we recently lost someone who passed away in the ring and also somebody again the other day. So I just don’t like that talk because it’s stupid talk because to those people’s family, it is very upsetting and very discrediting to boxing.
So if he knocks me out, he knocks me out. If I knock him out, I knock him out. But a death situation, that’s the only thing I didn’t like, which personally, myself, it don’t hurt me, but I love boxing, and it discredits boxing. So that’s the only reason why I got a little bit of a — why I said he had short legs and something else, why I said that.
I’m only saying the truth. He’s got short legs. David, my son’s got some size 22 jeans I brought over for you for after the fight. I’ve got them as a present for you, 22-inch legs.
DAVID LEMIEUX: You talk in English. I don’t understand what you’re saying.
BILLY JOE SAUNDERS: I’ve got very nice jeans for you, good gesture. They’re very short in leg for you.
Q. Also, Billy, you look to be in absolutely fantastic shape. Is it fair to say you’re in the best physical condition you’ve ever been in before? Because people have remarked on the way you look so ripped. Have you trained harder than ever before?
BILLY JOE SAUNDERS: Listen, when I come into somebody’s backyard in Canada — I flew over here — I’m never going to leave a stone unturned. I am at my physical, best shape I possibly can be in. There is no better Billy Joe Saunders turning up here on Saturday night, and I can guarantee that. So I hope David can be the same.
Q. This question is for Billy. You’ve taken a lot of criticism from a lot of people who say you’re ducking Gennady Golovkin. I wasn’t interested in the question myself, but I see on my Twitter feed that you mentioned Canelo over Gennady. Would you like to comment on that?
BILLY JOE SAUNDERS: I know that Golovkin and Canelo, they hold the ace card. I offered to fight Golovkin in June, but he passed up on the opportunity. Not that he was scared or frightened, but he had big business to do with Canelo. So if them two aren’t fighting, it makes more sense now that, me beating one of Oscar De La Hoya’s boxers in Canada, also gives me more of a chance to fight Canelo. Either one of them come along, I would love to fight Canelo.
Q. David, have you altered your training at all to face Saunders or no? In other words, you’re fighting a slickster this time. You’re not fighting a Stevens or a Canelo or even a Triple G. You’re facing someone who’s a little more slippery. Have you altered your training at all?
DAVID LEMIEUX: For every fighter there’s a new planning. I’m in the best shape of my career. Come Saturday night, you guys watch what I’ll do. You can judge for yourself.
Q. (In French).
DAVID LEMIEUX: (In French).
THE MODERATOR: Camille, can you translate the question and the answer for others on the call. Camille or David, are you able to translate the question and response that was just given in French?
CAMILLE ESTEPHAN: Basically, how David feels about fighting, and David is very excited to be able to fight for a second time for a world title in front of his fans, this time in his own backyard. He’s very proud of being able to do an event of this magnitude for the city of Laval.
With regards to the second question was about how he’s going to fight Canelo and Golovkin after his fight. And he says, looking back, David is making a big mistake to talk about what he’s going to do after Saturday, and David would prefer to not talk and just do. Show him on Saturday rather than just talk about it.
THE MODERATOR: We’re going to transition to final comments. David, do you have any final comments you want to share with the media on the call today?
DAVID LEMIEUX: Saturday night I’m going to be the new world champion.
THE MODERATOR: Billy Joe, do you have any final comments you’d like to give?
BILLY JOE SAUNDERS: LOL. See you Saturday. God bless you all.
THE MODERATOR: Thanks for joining us on today’s call. We will see you Saturday at Place Bell for Saunders vs. Lemieux. Have a great day.
Header photo by Vincent Ethier/EOTTM
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