By Keith Idec
David Lemieux claims he is more than just a puncher.
The former IBF middleweight champion feels his boxing ability is underrated not only by fans and media, but by Billy Joe Saunders. That’ll help, according to Lemieux, the French-Canadian contender become a two-time 160-pound champion when he challenges Saunders on Saturday night for the WBO middleweight title in Laval, Quebec (HBO; 9:40 p.m. ET).
“I think it’s gonna be a great night for the fans, what I’m gonna bring to the ring and how I’m gonna fight,” Lemieux said during a recent conference call. “People are just talking about my punching power and this and that, but you know, they’re gonna be surprised once I start mixing it up with Saunders. There’s not just a puncher behind here – there’s a boxer, too. So we’ll see how he holds up.”
Saunders (25-0, 12 KOs) respects Lemieux’s impressive power, but the southpaw from England isn’t the least bit concerned about Lemieux’s boxing ability. There’s only one way, Saunders says, that Lemieux (38-3, 33 KOs) can become the first professional fighter to defeat him – and that’s by knocking him out.
The left-handed Saunders isn’t a big puncher, but he is the superior boxer heading into this 12-round title fight at Place Bell, just outside of Montreal.
“David’s already said he’s gonna knock me out, so we don’t need judges, do we?,” Saunders said. “He’s already put that pressure on himself. He has to come and knock me out. Because if he don’t knock me out, there’s no way in God’s name is he gonna win this fight. Because to me, he will be a walking punch bag.”
Saunders-Lemieux will headline HBO’s “World Championship Boxing” tripleheader Saturday night.
The three-bout broadcast will open with a 10-round, junior welterweight fight that’ll match Long Island’s Cletus Seldin (21-0, 17 KOs, 1 NC) against Montreal’s Yves Ulysse Jr. (14-1, 9 KOs). The Seldin-Ulysse bout will be followed by a 10-round middleweight match between Antoine Douglas (22-1-1, 16 KOs), of Burke, Virginia, and Ireland’s Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan (26-2, 18 KOs).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.