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This Saturday, current 160-pound WBO champion Billy Joe Saunders (25-0, 12 KOs) is slated to face perennial title contender and former world champion, David Lemieux (38-3, 33 KOs). The fight is scheduled for 12 rounds and will take place at the Place Bell in Laval, Quebec.  The event will be televised on HBO’s World Championship Boxing series.  Saunders will be making the third defense of his belt.

The Champion

Saunders is a rugged 28-year-old southpaw from the United Kingdom that won the title in 2015 via a majority decision over Andy Lee.  Lee — a lanky hard-hitting lefty – was thoroughly dominated in the first half of the fight but roared back to make it close.  Although Saunders preserved the victory, questions regarding his stamina and championship viability arose.

Saunders’ first two defenses left a lot to be desired in quality of opponent and performance.

In December of 2016, Saunders faced little-known Russian, Artur Akavov. The champion won a lack-luster 12-round unanimous decision. Saunders then faced Willie “El Mongoose” Monroe, Jr. in September of this year.  Monroe, Jr.’s claim to fame at the time was beating Philadelphian journeyman Gabriel Rosado.  The fight was a stylistic nightmare as both El Mongoose and Saunders did little to electrify the masses.  Saunders retained his title via a “I’m glad that’s over and done with” decision.

Against Lemieux, Saunders will be facing an aggressive, lights-out puncher with a ton of experience.

The Challenger

Lemieux won the IBF title in 2015 against Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam. Unlike Saunders, the Canadian went for broke in the first defense facing unified world champion, Gennady “GGG” Golovkin.  Lemieux was valiant but ultimately outgunned against the Kazakhstan destroyer.

He yielded to GGG’s power in the eighth-round, surrendering his title via technical knockout.

Lemieux since rebounded from his loss to Golovkin with four wins.  The Canadian earned decisions over Marcos Reyes and Cristian Rios.  He added two knockouts to his dossier against Curtis Stevens and Glen Tapia.

The Fight Prediction For Saunders vs Lemieux

The elements are certainly present to indicate that this could be an exciting match.  Lemieux will be on the hunt, aggressively moving forward while winging concussive blows looking to end it quickly.  Saunders is the better technician so out-boxing his Canadian adversary early is a very real possibility.  The true test for both men will come if the fight moves into the latter rounds.

Will Saunders’ endurance hold up after what should be a lot of early movement to avoid heavy artillery?

Will Lemieux have enough left in the tank to mount a comeback in the second half should his power fail to end it early and he fall behind?

Although I believe Saunders is capable of outmaneuvering Lemieux, I’m going with the challenger on this one.  Lemieux will be fighting on his home turf and his power will ultimately be difference.   Tell us what you think, in the comments section!



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