By Keith Idec
Billy Joe Saunders made sure to mention David Lemieux’s loss to Gennady Golovkin during a conference call Monday.
Lemieux’s last middleweight title fight resulted in Golovkin stopping the hard-hitting former IBF champion in the eighth round two years ago at Madison Square Garden. The contender from Montreal is 4-0 since losing to Kazakhstan’s Golovkin, though, and Lemieux (38-3, 33 KOs) assured Saunders that he is not the same fighter he was when Golovkin (37-0-1, 33 KOs) dropped him in the fifth round and beat him by technical knockout in October 2015.
“I’m a whole different guy than I [was] fighting Golovkin,” said Lemieux, who’ll challenge Saunders for the WBO middleweight title Saturday night. “It’s a whole different guy. Now it’s gonna be a whole different scenario. Now I’ve got Saunders to take care of. We’ve done everything we need to do in camp. I don’t think it’s gonna be very difficult in the ring against him. I’m gonna be his nightmare, his biggest nightmare, in the biggest fight of his career. It’s gonna be hell for him. But I’m ready. I’m ready to take the title now.”
England’s Saunders (25-0, 12 KOs) has traveled to Lemieux’s native Quebec for his third defense of the WBO title he won in December 2015, when he out-pointed Irishman Andy Lee (35-3-1, 24 KOs) by majority decision to win the title in Manchester. Saunders, 28, has not fought outside of England since he turned pro in February 2009.
Their 12-round fight for Saunders’ WBO 160-pound championship will headline a 12-bout card Saturday night at Place Bell in Laval, just outside of Montreal. The odds on Saunders-Lemieux, a prototypical matchup between a boxer and a puncher, are just about even.
It’ll headline an HBO “World Championship Boxing” tripleheader.
The three-bout broadcast is scheduled to start at 9:40 p.m. ET with a 10-round, junior welterweight bout between Long Island’s Cletus Seldin (21-0, 17 KOs, 1 NC) and Montreal’s Yves Ulysse Jr. (14-1, 9 KOs). It’ll also include middleweights Antoine Douglas (22-1-1, 16 KOs), of Burke, Virginia, and Ireland’s Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan (26-2, 18 KOs) in another 10-rounder.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.