Cooper’s Corner: Is Saunders Ready?

Time To Back Up All The Talk


Next Saturday in Laval Quebec, Canada all the talking finally stops and Billy Joe Saunders has to prove his fists can write checks that his mouth can cash.

This will be the WBO champion’s  first fight outside of the United Kingdom in his 25 fight pro career, and arguably his biggest test, Lemieux is easily the biggest puncher that the champion has ever faced.

Saunders championship reign hasn’t been particularly inspiring and he has gone about his title defenses with little to no fanfare. Saunders has been champion since winning a split decision over Andy Lee. Since that point cancelled fights, hand injuries, rumors of unsigned contracts and one of his opponents being apprehended for working for the Russian and Georgian mob, Saunders has been relatively inactive and has chopped and changed trainers 3 times.

However, the move to the Ingle gym seems to have inspired Saunders and it was clear from his last fight and the better shape he came in that he is taking his boxing seriously. Saunders has come into previous fights less than prepared and has faded down the stretch in years gone by. It seems Ingle has got Billy-Joe focused on the task at hand and a change in lifestyle seems to have led to better conditioning. I say seems because his last fight wasn’t exactly fought at the kind of pace that any problems would have been made available to see.

David Lemieux has had to overcome his own hurdles. Following back to back loses against Marco Antonio Rubio and Joachim Alcine (both fights he was expected to win) Lemieux fought back reeling off 8 straight wins on his way to picking up the vacant IBF title only to be stopped in his tracks by current Middleweight king Gennady Golovkin.

How do I see the fight going?

It’s an interesting conundrum. One fighters weakness is another’s strength. Lemieux is very simple and straightforward. He’s a flat footed, come forward fighter that has some serious pop. Saunders on the contrary is everything his opponent is not. Billy Joe is awkward, slick with (as much as it pains me to say it) good skills and a good boxing brain. But with only 12 KO’s to his name as oppose to Lemieux’s 33, does Billy Joe have the power, and the chin to take his opponents best shots and keep coming forward. Lemieux’s power has proven to be scary a times, just a short while ago his KO of Curtis Stevens ensured poor Curtis left the arena on a stretcher.

Prediction: I’m going with a Saunders points win. I think Billy-Joe has the skills to outpoint him and I expect Lemieux to gas down the stretch.




By: Aaron Cooper


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