By Keith Idec
Billy Joe Saunders’ textbook boxing demonstration December 16 drew plenty of praise among fans and media.
Saunders dominated David Lemieux in what was considered a 50-50 fight by out-boxing and out-smarting his hard-hitting opponent in their middleweight title fight. Some were critical, though, because the unbeaten British southpaw’s performance wasn’t entertaining enough for their tastes.
They want more action than Saunders provided while consistently jabbing, moving and avoiding the dangerous Lemieux’s punches throughout their 12-round championship match at Place Bell in Laval, Quebec, Canada. The WBO middleweight champion responded to that criticism during the most recent episode of CompuBox’s “Inside Boxing Live” podcast.
“All well and good them saying that,” Saunders said, “but what I say to people about that is, look, we’re in this game to earn what we can and to come out with our senses intact afterwards. It’s no good coming in this game, earning tons of money, but going out with no brain cells left. The art of boxing, the original heart of boxing, is to hit and not get hit. It’s not, ‘I’m gonna hit you with one and I’m gonna let you hit me with two.’
“You know, that’s the reason why people have got their opinion of boxing, because you’ve got some styles that these sluggers that’ll stand and trade. They do that because they haven’t got natural boxing ability, not that they choose to. You know, it’s just that they haven’t got that natural ability to do what I can do and what other fighters can do. So, you know, you’ve got your boxers and your fighters and that’s why nine times out of 10 what you’ll find out when a slugger meets a boxer, then the boxer, more or less, generally wins a good six out of 10 [fights].”
The 28-year-old Saunders (26-0, 12 KOs) befuddled a limited Lemieux (38-4, 33 KOs) for much of their fight on his way to a wide win on all three scorecards (120-108, 118-110, 117-111).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.