SAN DIEGO, Calif., December 16, 2017 – Billy Joe Saunders needed to fight the perfect fight without a mistake against David Lemieux on the Canadian’s home turf in Quebec Saturday.
Billy Joe Saunders vs. David Lemieux
Saunders did just that in an impressive display of boxing skills and punching accuracy, retaining his WBO world middleweight championship in an overwhelming unanimous decision. Scores were 120-108, 118-111, and 117-110, although it was difficult to figure out how the judges found any rounds to give Lemieux at all.
Saunders (26-0, 12 KOs) neutralized the dangerous punching power of Lemieux (38-4, 33 KOs), the former IBF world champion, from the opening bell with his wicked, accurate jab and superb footwork over the first half of the fight. It was a puzzle Lemieux couldn’t even begin to solve. As Lemieux grew increasingly frustrated, Saunders poured plenty of salt in the wound by clowning Lemieux for missing on an attempted left hook.
Billy Joe Saunders power second half
In the second half the fight, it was Saunders who began landing the power shots against the power punching Lemieux, taking a page out of Lemieux’s own book as another form of ring humiliation. Saunders is a clever fighter and this is where he derives his supreme confidence in himself. If you’re going to talk trash, you better be able to back it up. Saunders did.
“Don’t quit, don’t quit. We have the power to go right to the end,” said trainer Marc Ramsey to Lemieux after the tenth round.
“He’s going to run at you this round, just like he ended the last round. Don’t let him do it!” trainer Dominic Ingle reminded Billy Jo Saunders prior to the start of the final round. In Lemieux’s corner, Ramsey told his fighter, “Your heart, you have to give it all you have, right to the end of the round.”
But with a minute left in the round, the crowd began to boo as Lemieux was no closer to solving the Saunders puzzle than he was in the first minute of the fight. There were no raised hands by Lemieux, as Ingle raised Saunders on his shoulders. “Bring on Golovkin!” shouted Saunders.
Billy Joe Saunders vs. David Lemieux Results
Saunders landed 165 of 430 punches (38 percent) to 67 of 356 for Lemieux (23 percent). Saunders landed 62 power punches to Lemieux’s 55, but it was Saunders’ jab output that tells the story: 103 of 279 for Saunders (37 percent) to just 12 of 120 for Lemieux (10 percent).
As Saunders began his post-fight comments in the ring, he thanked the fans for coming out, then added, “I know you’re booing me because I whipped your fighter’s ass, but you know, that’s boxing.”
Saunders said he performed so well because he knew Lemieux’s style and knew what he was coming for.
“I look easy to win, I look easy to hurt, I look easy to put down, I look like I could run out of gas. But you can’t hit me,” said Saunders. He gave all the credit to his trainer. “That’s down to one man and one man only. Dominic Ingle from Sheffield. If it wasn’t for him, my boxing career would be finished and over. So down to that man, I’m moving like that. I knew the very first day I was excited to get in the ring. I wouldn’t have come over if I thought I was going to get beat.”
Saunders said his performance was due to his new discipline and guidance from Ingle throughout the fight to stick to the game plan and not get reckless. “I’m an all different animal now. When I hurt David, I wanted to put it on him. I really did want to put him on him. But that’s what I pay Dominic Ingle to do. I went to put it on him, and Dominic said, “no no, take your time.” To be fair, that was the best advice. I picked, poked, prodded and put it on him, and then I exhausted him.”
Lemieux said after the fight he wasn’t at his best. “As of the second round, my left hand, I couldn’t use it the way I wanted to. He was on the run, I had difficulties throwing my shots. It wasn’t my best nigh … I guess his strategy to win is to run away. If that’s the way you want to win then hey, congratulations.”
With Saunders in possession of the one title Gennady Golovkin needs to unify the division, he called out the unified champion. “What I want to say, Golovkin, you keep saying you wanted my WBO belt when I was 14 stone and out of shape. Fight me now, you’ll be punching air.”
Golovkin could face the same challenges Lemieux did against Saunders, and it goes double for Canelo Alvarez. But wouldn’t Daniel Jacobs love to try and take Saunders’ belt from him and dangle it for the winner of Canelo vs. Golovkin II? Jacobs was ringside Saturday and watching with interest. Since Jacobs is represented now by Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing, it’s a cinch. Sweet Science Santa, please make it so.
Gary O’Sullivan vs. Antoine Douglas
Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan (27-2, 19 KOs) took his time sizing up his middleweight opponent Antoine “Action” Douglas (22-2-1, 16 KOs) in their middleweight bout, then from the fourth round forward started to get the upper hand with an increased punch output and command of the fight. It set him up to seize the opportunity in the seventh round with a textbook overhand right hook to the head, followed by a well-timed follow-up left hook just as Douglas was feeling the effects of the first punch. The referee counted but wisely stopped the fight as he realized Douglas was in no condition to continue.
O’Sullivan outlanded Douglas overall, 130 of 447 punches (29 percent) to 108 of 376 (29 percent) for Douglas, but landed 102 power punches to 77 for Douglas, including the two that counted at the end. It’s a strong victory for O’Sullivan, who now puts himself in position for a bigger name opponent and payday, though probably not against the elite of the division just yet.
Oy vey. The best that can be said for Brooklyn native Cletus “The Hebrew Hammer” Seldin (21-1, 17 KOs). Seldin In his blowout beatdown loss to Montreal native Yves Ulysse Jr. (15-1, 9 KOs) is unlike Guillermo Rigondeaux last week, Seldin didn’t quit. Ulysse wins a unanimous decision with scores of 99-88 on all three card by:
- He showed the amateur experience in his pedigree and made Seldin pay with three knockdowns in the first three rounds.
- Ulysse could spend the rest of the round employing good side-to-side movement and a Mayweather style defense, landing carefully selected punches.
- He landed 157 of 360 punches through (44 percent) to just 42 of 333 (13 percent for Seldin. Ulysse landed 143 power punches to just 34 for Seldin.
- Ulysse has earned himself another solid opportunity in the super lightweight division.
The Hammer needs to go home to Long Island and do some serious rethinking about his approach to boxing, a coaching change for a start.
Ryan Garcia vs. Noe Raygoza
Super featherweight Ryan “Kingry” Garcia (13-0, 12 KOs) of Victorville, California scored another stoppage after eight solid rounds Noe Martinez Raygoza (23-10-2, 10 KOs) of Mexico. Garcia stopped his opponent at 1:45 of the round with a flurry of shots.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is a veteran boxing observer covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +
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