Billy Joe Saunders bagged himself a signature win following a punch perfect performance against David Lemieux at the Place Bell, Quebec. Saunders, who left with his WBO Middleweight strap and unbeaten slate unchallenged, exposed Lemieux’s limited abilities all night long, picking off his challenger with relative ease as he controlled both range and pace. Ringside officials saw the contest 120-108, 117-111 and 118-110, while I tallied matters a clear shutout at 120-108.
Saunders quite simply emptied Lemieux’s cup tonight. An impressive, calculated hit-and-move game plan never allowed Lemieux the chance to set his feet and unload, meaning his renowned lights-out left hook – which demolished Curtis Stevens in March – quickly became redundant. Saunders’ circling of the ring and elusive movement made Lemieux fall short with many of his punches, keeping him off-balance, and, at times, in a glorified sparring match.
Saunders kept things tidy, never getting greedy with his overmatched opponent, and did some notable damage in the second half of the fight, beginning with the busting of Lemieux’s nose in the 7th. Having neutralised and made one of the world’s best 160-pounders look remarkably ordinary, Saunders ends the year with a bang, putting himself in contention for even bigger nights in 2018.
Really, that’s about all there is to say, as the boxing community will now no doubt shift their attention to Middleweight showdowns with kingpins Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez. Both men are expected to meet in May for an anticipated rematch following their competitive, memorable Draw in September, which, depending on who you ask, still carries the odour of some controversy. Give us your two cents on Saunders vs Lemieux, where you place Saunders among today’s top 160 pounders, and how he might fare against GGG and Canelo.