Billy Joe Saunders vs David Lemieux prediction: Ugly defeats exciting this timeWritten by Lee Cleveland
In what's expected to be a boxer vs brawler affair, WBO middleweight belt-holder Billy Joe Saunders (25-0-0 12 KO's) will face fan favorite David Lemieux (38-3-0 33 KO's) on December 16 at Place Bell in Quebec Canada.
For starters, let's give credit where it's deserved.
Props to Saunders
Not only is Billy Joe finally leaving the UK to defend his title, he's fighting his most dangerous opponent to date; David Lemieux, in his native Canada. Although Saunders probably stands to earn a bit more fighting in Quebec, the consensus, 'by-the-book' business decision would have been to face Lemieux in the UK in familiar surroundings and with the crowd behind him.
Saunders vs Lemieux is a great match-up that many casual fans will ignore because neither guy is a mainstream star. Moreover, Saunders' isn't exactly dynamic in the ring. Watching him fight can sometimes be tantamount to watching paint dry - However, if anyone can force him to be exciting it's the aggressive, heavy-handed David Lemieux.
David is a former middleweight title-holder as well as a respected fighter and action-packed knockout artist who always brings intrigue and excitement, but has technical shortcomings Saunders could expose. Nevertheless, his power and durability make him a legitimate threat to anyone from 154 to 168 pounds.
Simply put, Lemieux, regardless of what's happening in the fight, will remain a threat until the final bell sounds.
The big questions
Billy Joe Saunders has never fought anyone on David Lemieux's level. How will he react to all the Canadian's pressure? What'll happen when KO artist lands flush? Will Lemieux land flush at all, and will he force Saunders to make defensive mistakes? If so, will David be tactful enough to capitalize on them?
Sometimes the best defense is a great offense
Saunders uses his speed and movement to pile up points during the course of a fight. He won't look for a knockout but if an opportunity presents itself in the latter rounds, he'll step on the gas. For the most part, Saunders implements a "machine gun" approach, offensively.
Opposite of Canelo Alvarez, Saunders doesn't sit on his punches and therefore sacrifices power. Moreover, whereas Canelo Alvarez is stingy with his punch output and makes every shot count, Saunders overwhelms opponents with volume punching. Thus, his shots don't have the crispness or accuracy we are accustomed to seeing from most elite level fighters. However, that might be the tonic to keep David at bay.
If Saunders, with his movement, high-volume punching, slapping and pushing, can nullify the brutish Lemieux's high-pressure offense, Billy Joe will cruise to a points win.
Saunders vs Lemieux prediction
The popular David Lemieux is your classic fan-friendly fighter who is not only a knockout artist, but is an aggressive, bloodthirsty bull who can absorb punishment as well.
Lemieux is one of the most exciting fighters in the world and undoubtedly a top middleweight, and most fans will be rooting for him but something tells me the brash-talking Saunders might have his number.
So why are they fighting in Canada, again? Team Saunders must have seen something in David they believe they can expose.
I see Billy Joe using his superior footwork and working at angles to stay out of range of David's heavily artillery. Combine those elements with Saunders' speed and awkward style, and David will have his hands full come December 16.
To win, Lemieux will have to be in top condition and look to cut the ring off and get in close. And, if he can't bait Saunders into a trap, Lemieux may have to try to wear down Saunders with his aggression and hope to score a late stoppage.
The onus is on Saunders to fight a mistake-free fight, not Lemieux.
That stated, look for Saunders to stay cautious and frustrate Lemieux with his movement and volume punching. David will win some rounds due to his aggression, and because he'll land the harder, cleaner, most impactful shots in those stanzas. But, in the end Saunders will convince two of the three judges that his activity rate was enough to carry the fight, albeit barely.
Prediction: Saunders wins an ugly (but not boring) Majority Decision, much to the chagrin of many boxing die-hards.