By Scott Gilfoid: Billy Joe Saunders (25-0, 12 KOs) has challenged former IBF middleweight champion David Lemieux (38-3, 33 KOs) to fight him in December. Saunders, who holds the WBO middleweight title, plans on fighting in December as well.
Lemieux is fighting on December 2 in New York on HBO, and he could be facing Miguel Cotto. Lemieux says Saunders is a “coward” and he’s pricing himself out for the fight by asking for too much. Lemieux says that if the fight does take place, Saunders is going to wind up in the hospital.
For his part, Saunders thinks that Lemieux ducked a fight against him recently by saying he was injured when he was his mandatory challenger. Lemieux suffered a shoulder injury in his last fight against Marcos Reyes on May 6, and he’s only now able to resume training much to the delight of his boxing fans around the world.
Here’s the conversation between Lemieux and Saunders on social media:
Lemieux: “Waiting impatiently to receive some news on my next fight which should be December 2nd, excited and ready.”
At this point, Saunders sent this message to Lemieux:
“P*%#, you was my mandatory and you was saying you was injured. Come fight me now.”
Lemieux is still rated No.1 by the World Boxing Organization at 160. If Saunders wants the fight with him, it’s a fight that should happen. It’s unclear whether Lemieux’s promoters at Golden Boy Promotions want Saunders for Lemieux. They would like to match Lemieux against Miguel Cotto on the December 2 card on HBO World Boxing. If that fight can’t happen due to Cotto not being interested, then perhaps Golden Boy would be interested in matching Lemieux against Saunders.
Lemieux: “We did make you guys an offer but you’re over pricing yourself, another way of saying no, you coward. When I fight you you’re ending in hospital.”
Saunders has not looked good lately in his last couple of fights. Saunders looked sluggish and ring rusty in his last fight in beating Willie Monroe Jr. by a 12 round unanimous decision last month on September 16 at the Copper Box Arena in London, England. Monroe Jr. was able to hit Saunders with head-snapping jabs all night long. The only reason Monroe Jr. lost the fight was because he didn’t throw anything else other than occasional jabs.
Having seen Monroe Jr. fight many times in the past, his new fighting style that he uses is a backwards step for him. Monroe Jr. used to let his hands go, and he was fun to watch. But he’s now turned into a jabber, and he doesn’t throw enough power shots to give himself a chance of winning. Saunders won the fight, but only because Monroe sabotaged his own efforts by just throwing jabs and not letting his hands go by trying to nail Saunders with big punches.
“Make me an offer,” said Saunders to Lemieux. “Don’t talk [expletive], come over for December. I hold the title, you come to UK.”
I don’t think Golden Boy and Eye of the Tiger Promotions are going to be agreeable to having Lemieux, 28, travel to the UK to fight Saunders in his own neck of the woods. They’re priming Saunders for a fight against Saul Canelo Alvarez, and it’s doubtful that they’re going to let him risk his record fighting in Saunder’s home country.
You never know though. If Saunders is serious about wanting to fight Lemieux, and I have my doubts that he really is, then he needs to get his management to make a big offer to Lemieux to get him to travel to England to make the fight happen. Golden Boy wants Lemieux to fight Miguel Cotto next on December 2m and then face Canelo if he gets past Golovkin on May 5 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Saunders, 28, wants to fight the winner of the Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin fight. It’s unclear whether he’s going to be able to get that fight though. Golovkin and Canelo may look to face each other a third time if their fight is close enough, and if the boxing public purchases their second fight in high numbers on HBO PPV. Golovkin definitely wants to fight Saunders for the chance to win his WBO middleweight title. The Canelo fight is more important than Golovkin going after Saunders’ paper title.
Golovkin vs. Saunders will not sell in the U.S, as the casual boxing fans don’t have a clue who the British fighter is. It only sells in the UK, and I don’t think it would be a PPV fight over there. Golovkin would be better off forgetting about wasting time in his career trying to collect all the titles in the 160 lb. division. It’s smarter for Golovkin to fight the best guys he can that the fans want to see him fight. Saunders is not someone that the fans want to see GGG fight. These are the guys that boxing public wants to see Golovkin matched against:
• Canelo Alvarez
• Danny Jacobs
• Jermall Charlo
• Jermell Charlo
• Sergiy Derevyanchenko
• Gilberto Ramirez
• Miguel Cotto
• Erislandy Lara
• Demetrius Andrade
• George Groves
If Lemieux wants to pick up an easy title at middleweight, Saunders is his guy. I think he would beat him bad. It would then setup a rematch between Lemieux and Golovkin or a fight between Lemieux and Canelo. That’s the more likely fight. I can’t see Golden Boy letting Lemeiux fight Golovkin ever again after the way he was beaten in 2015.
Lemieux vs. Cotto would be a PPV worthy fight on HBO in the U.S. Unless Lemieux can make big money fighting Saunders on PP in the UK, then it might not be worth it for Lemieux to take that fight. He would have to travel to England to fight Saunders, and the money night not be the green stuff for him to fight over there. Lemieux fighting Cotto would have an end game of getting a big money fight against the Canelo-GGG 2 winner. The only good that Lemieux could get from a fight against Saunders is winning his WBO middleweight title. Lemieux could then use the WBO strap as a lure to get Golovkin or Canelo to fight him. With a world title, Lemieux might be able to get a better cut of the revenue against Canelo of Golovkin.