By Keith Idec
The weigh-in Friday for Billy Joe Saunders’ middleweight title defense Saturday night was at least less eventful than the weigh-in for his last fight.
England’s Saunders and Montreal’s David Lemieux made weight Friday afternoon in Laval, Quebec, Canada, but not before Saunders and his trainer, Dominic Ingle, yelled until Lemieux got on the scale a second time. They protested because Lemieux got off the scale quickly the first time he weighed in at exactly 160 pounds.
Lemieux, 28, stepped on it again and officially weighed 160 pounds even, the limit for the middleweight division. The 28-year-old Saunders (25-0, 12 KOs), who stripped naked, also weighed in at exactly 160 pounds.
While unusual, Friday’s scene was nothing like the weigh-in the day before Saunders’ previous fight.
That day, Saunders’ 8-year-old son, Stevie, punched challenger Willie Monroe Jr. in the groin and kicked Monroe in the leg after Monroe harmlessly patted the younger Saunders on the head. Saunders defended his son’s actions and didn’t apologize to Monroe, who lost a unanimous decision to Saunders on September 16 at Copper Box Arena in London.
Against the hard-hitting Lemieux (38-3, 33 KOs), the left-handed Saunders will make just the third defense of the WBO 160-pound championship he won nearly two years ago against Andy Lee. The odds on their scheduled 12-rounder – a prototypical boxer versus puncher matchup – are just about even.
Saunders has traveled to Lemieux’s home turf for what will be his first fight outside of England since he turned pro in February 2009. Saunders last fought away from his home country at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China.
HBO will televise Saunders-Lemieux as the main event of a “World Championship Boxing” tripleheader from Place Bell, a new arena just outside of Montreal.
The four other fighters scheduled to box in bouts broadcast by HBO also made weight Friday afternoon.
Middleweight contender Antoine Douglas (22-1-1, 16 KOs), of Burke, Virginia, weighed 159.2 pounds for his 10-round fight against Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan (26-2, 18 KOs). Ireland’s O’Sullivan weighed 158.8 pounds.
Junior welterweight Cletus Seldin (21-0, 17 KOs, 1 NC), of Bay Shore, New York, got on the scale at 141.6 pounds for his 10-round bout with Yves Ulysse Jr. (14-1, 9 KOs). Montreal’s Ulysse officially weighed 141.2 pounds.
HBO’s broadcast is scheduled to begin at 9:40 p.m. ET.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.