By Keith Idec
Billy Joe Saunders wasn’t the least bit surprised David Lemieux made excuses for Saunders’ easy victory over him.
That’s what Saunders expected before they stepped into the ring December 16 in Laval, Quebec, Canada. That’s also why the unbeaten WBO middleweight champion continued to tell Lemieux before the boxed to avoid making such excuses once their fight concluded.
England’s Saunders used his athleticism, intelligence, jab and head movement to out-box the hard-hitting Lemieux throughout their 12-round fight at Place Bell. Lemieux had difficulty landing clean punches against the skillful southpaw, who won by big margins on all three scorecards (120-108, 118-110, 117-111) in a bout HBO televised.
Montreal’s Lemieux (38-4, 33 KOs) told a group of Canadian reporters the week after his one-sided defeat that an injury to his left shoulder, suffered during the second round, prohibited him from using his jab and left hook against Saunders (26-0, 12 KOs). During his post-fight interview with HBO’s Max Kellerman, Lemieux mentioned that something was wrong with his left hand.
“I kept saying before the fight, ‘Listen, no excuses. I don’t wanna hear any excuses from your team,’ ” Saunders said during the most recent episode of CompuBox’s “Inside Boxing Live” podcast.
“Because I knew what was gonna happen and I knew they were gonna come up with an excuse. First it was his hand, then it was his shoulder. He couldn’t get close to me because I was moving. But, you know, my game plan, and I told him my game plan from Day One, was I’m gonna box his head off. That’s it.
“I said, ‘I’m gonna box your head off. I’m gonna pick you to pieces.’ And that’s exactly what I did. I mean, David probably wanted me to just stand there and have a slug-out with him, which would’ve suited him more. But, you know, why do that? Why do that when I can make an easy night’s work for myself. And I did say I was gonna make that fight only as hard as I’m gonna make it.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.