By Manuel Perez: WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders (25-0, 12 KOs) and David Lemieux (38-3, 33 KOs) are official for December 16 on HBO from the Bell Center in Montreal, Canada. The fight will be shown in Canada, the UK and the USA.
Golden Boy is happy this fight is happening, as it gives them a potential chess piece to match against Saul Canelo Alvarez if Lemieux can beat Saunders to win the WBO middleweight title. Golden Boy might pull the trigger on a fight between Canelo and Lemieux if the negotiations with Gennady “GGG” Golovkin sour. It certainly gives Canelo more bargaining room to get a better deal against Triple G.
This is the most dangerous opponent or Saunders’s 8-year career. He’s going to have to be on point in this fight just to survive the huge bombs that Lemieux will be sending his way on December 16.
HBO likes televising Lemieux’s fights, as he always makes it exiting, even when he loses from time to time. Saunders, 28, is more of an unknown commodity to the casual boxing fans in the States. Saunders is known to the hardcore fans, and to the casual fans that follow who holds title. But Saunders’ fights aren’t televised in the States.
Saunders recently narrowly escaped what would have been a very dangerous fight for him against with Avtandil Khurtsidze, who was charged for racketeering. Saunders would have had his hands full with the hard hitting Khurtsidze. He was replaced by the feather-fisted Willie Monroe Jr., and Saunders had no problem beating him. Monroe Jr. looked worse than awful against Saunders. It’s shocking that the World Boxing Organization had him rated so highly.
Saunders has got to be one of the worst middleweight champions the division has seen in quite some time. Saunders was allowed by the World Boing Organization to wait an entire 12 months before he finally made his first defense of his WBO title against fringe contender Artur Akavov on December 3, 2016.
Saunders was quite lucky that he got the win against the visiting Akavov, as you could that he deserved a nice defeat. The fight was in the UK though, which kind of explains why Saunders didn’t lose. Saunders definitely lost the fight, but the judges gave him the victory. Boxing News Results had Akavov winning 8 rounds to 4. Again, the fight was in the UK, so Saunders won.
Lemieux has done a good job of rebuilding his career since his loss to middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin in October 2015. Lemieux has won his last 4 fights, and looked good for the most part. He didn’t look so great in his last fight against Marcos Reyes, but he was impressive in his fight before that against Curtis Stevens in knocking him out in round 3.