By Keith Idec
Billy Joe Saunders is so sure he’ll be able to withstand David Lemieux’s power, the WBO middleweight champion claimed Monday that he would give Lemieux his undisclosed purse if Lemieux knocks him out Saturday night.
Saunders’ offer was made in response to Lemieux telling him during a conference call to make sure his “granite chin holds up.” England’s Saunders has traveled to Lemieux’s native Quebec for a 12-round, 160-pound championship match HBO will televise as the main event of a three-bout broadcast from Place Bell in Laval, just outside of Montreal.
“My chin will hold up. I promise you that,” Saunders said. “That’s one thing I promise you – my chin will definitely hold up. I promise you that. If it don’t, you can have my purse. How about that? No problem.”
Lemieux immediately replied, “OK. I’ll keep that in mind for after the fight.”
Montreal’s Lemieux (38-3, 33 KOs) obviously is the draw in Quebec, but Saunders (25-0, 12 KOs) apparently will make a considerably larger purse for traveling across the Atlantic Ocean for this dangerous fight. Though they didn’t disclose how much they’ll make, Saunders alluded to a significant purse disparity during the conference call.
Once Lemieux mentioned that he’d keep Saunders’ purse promise in mind, Saunders replied, “Keep that in mind, because you’ll need it. Because you’re only getting a small one this time, aren’t you?”
Lemieux didn’t deny Saunders’ statement.
“OK,” Lemieux said, “we got you in Canada, at least.”
That’s fine by Saunders, who hasn’t fought outside of England since the 2008 Olympian turned pro in February 2009.
“Yeah, you got me in Canada,” Saunders said. “No problem. At least it’s a ring, isn’t it? You got me in Canada. All this is a little bit of motivation to smack you up and then go and do what I’ve gotta do after. So that’s all good.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.