By Keith Idec
Spike O’Sullivan doesn’t buy David Lemieux’s “crap” about why he lost to Billy Joe Saunders.
Lemieux explained Wednesday on a conference call that the torn labrum in his left shoulder suffered before that bout prevented him from fighting the way he is capable when Saunders soundly defeated him eight months ago. O’Sullivan dismissed Lemieux’s explanation as an “excuse” and doesn’t believe Lemieux’s shoulder injury is the reason the unbeaten WBO middleweight champion beat him so easily in their 12-round, 160-pound championship match December 16 in Laval, Quebec, Canada.
“I think it’s just an excuse, to be honest,” said O’Sullivan (28-2, 20 KOs), who’ll fight Lemieux (39-4, 33 KOs) on the Canelo Alvarez-Gennady Golovkin undercard September 15 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. “Look at David. He doesn’t look like a guy that trains like I do. … He tires easy in a lot of his fights. I don’t think he lives right and doesn’t train as hard as I do. And I don’t think he can win his fight.”
Lemieux disagreed with O’Sullivan’s assessment of what he said about his shoulder injury limiting him versus Saunders.
“I’m gonna make Spike eat all his words,” Lemieux said. “He says I’m finding excuses against Billy Joe Saunders, that I had an injury or whatever. But I have no excuses. I’m just giving facts. But now I’m a hundred percent, so let’s see what happens on September 15th. The talk is done. Let’s just walk the walk. So now let’s see what’s up.”
The 29-year-old Lemieux considered surgery to repair his shoulder injury. The Montreal native settled for physical therapy, which thus far has helped his shoulder heal.
“Surgery was definitely something I looked into,” Lemieux said, “but I didn’t wanna be off for a full year, so I tried to avoid it as much as I could. And leading up to the Saunders fight I said, ‘It’s gonna be OK. It’s gonna be OK.’ But obviously it wasn’t. So we tried different things and finally something worked. It’s been good ever since and we’re sticking with that plan. And it’s been going great, so we don’t need the surgery right now. So I keep training and everything is solid. I’ve got my left hand back and I’m back to a hundred percent, and not 50 percent.”
Saunders (26-0, 12 KOs), who also has beaten O’Sullivan by unanimous decision, has harshly criticized Lemieux for blaming his lopsided loss on his shoulder injury. O’Sullivan suspected Saunders would beat Lemieux, just not that way (120-108, 118-110, 117-111).
“I had a good feeling that he’d beat him, but I didn’t think he’d beat him as convincingly as that,” O’Sullivan said. “I thought Lemieux, being a former world champion, I thought he was a better fighter. Prior to that fight, I thought he was better than that. I didn’t know a great deal about him, and the more I look into him and obviously I’m fighting him now, so I’ve watched back a lot of his fights and, you know, I’m not surprised Billy Joe kind of beat him like that. Initially, I didn’t think it was gonna be as easy as it was for Saunders.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.