The one big mistake that David Lemieux made with Billy Joe Saunders
At stages, Billy Joe Saunders toyed with David Lemieux as he defended his WBO middleweight title in style on Saturday night.
Saunders entered enemy territory and boxed circles around Lemieux at Place Bell in Quebec, providing a convincing audition for a potential lucrative unification clash with the winner of Gennady Golovkin vs. Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez II.
It was Saunders' most impressive performance to date against a legitimately dangerous opponent and even his promoter Frank Warren admitted that he was surprised by the ease with which the British fighter dealt with Lemieux.
"The outcome was not what they anticipated because Lemieux was a big favourite over there and it was believed Bill’s title was there for the taking," Warren wrote for BoxingScene.com. "We obviously saw things differently, but even I didn’t expect him to do quite such a job on him."
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The performance was not dissimilar to Saunders' close friend Tyson Fury's famous upset of Wladimir Klitschko in Dusseldorf in 2015 in that both Englishmen were able to avoid all trouble thanks to a combination of dazzling footwork and elusive head movement.
Lemieux found himself swinging at air at points and Saunders has since identified his challenger's crucial error.
"They made one mistake tonight," Saunders told BoxingScene.com. "They tried everything to upset me.
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— billyjoesaunders (@bjsaunders_) December 17, 2017
"But they made one mistake – big ring. Big ring. Give me my element, just played with him."
The unanimous decision improved Saunders' undefeated professional record to 26-0 and, in dominating Lemieux, the champ proved that he's more than capable of bringing his talents abroad as his first ever fight outside the UK saw him put on a masterclass of movement.
"The moment round one went, I saw it," he added. "I knew it, I knew it. I seen him fade.
"Every feint I was doing I was making him leap. Pop-pop, move, pop-pop. And then I knew – you get the matador with the bull, bang, turning him, bang, I made him dizzy in there."