By Keith Idec
As satisfying as it was to dominate David Lemieux before his hometown fans, Billy Joe Saunders suspects he hurt his chances of landing bigger fights.
The unbeaten British southpaw wants big-money matchups with Mexican superstar Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin. Saunders understands that they’re likely headed toward a middleweight championship rematch May 5, but even if negotiations break down, Saunders doesn’t think Alvarez (49-1-2, 34 KOs) or Golovkin (37-0-1, 33 KOs) would face him next.
Kazakhstan’s Golovkin wants to add Saunders’ WBO middleweight title to the four 160-pound championships he already owns. It still won’t be worth the risk, according to Saunders, especially if Golovkin’s lucrative second fight against Alvarez still hasn’t taken place.
“Listen, that performance tonight will scare them off,” Saunders told BoxingScene.com following his 12-round, unanimous-decision defeat of Lemieux on Saturday night. “I don’t think they’ll wanna fight me after that performance. But listen, it’s there. Everything’s there. I just wanna enjoy Christmas now, switch off from boxing for a month, you know, chill out for a month. I haven’t seen me kids, I haven’t seen nobody for six months.”
Re-dedicating himself to training and a switch to trainer Dominic Ingle paid off for Saunders (26-0, 12 KOs). The elusive, skilled southpaw toyed with Montreal’s Lemieux (38-4, 33 KOs), a hard-hitting former IBF middleweight champ, on his way to a relatively easy victory Saturday night in Laval, Quebec, Canada (120-108, 118-110, 117-111).
Saunders is certain that terrific performance proved what he has been boasting all along, that when focused and properly conditioned, he is an elite middleweight. The brash Brit stuck up his middle finger to those who’ve doubted he’d ever live up to his potential.
“Now spin on that, who said that,” Saunders said. “Now look at me. And next time – see, what people don’t realize, all the ring rust is gone now. I’m just gonna get better and better and better. And when I get in there with someone that I know is gonna be better than [Lemieux] again, I’ll perform better again.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.