Saunders stayed true to his word on Saturday and delivered a sensational, career-best performance as he retained his WBO middleweight crown and easily outpointed Canadian slugger David Lemieux.
In the build-up there were a lot of critics doubting whether Saunders could back up his claims and outbox a tough, rugged world-class operator like Lemieux. But Saunders proved everybody wrong as he made Lemieux consistently miss and made him pay with snapping jabs and peppered him with short, sharp combinations en-route to a landslide points decision.
The scores of all three judges – Wales’ Phil Edwards (118-110), Puerto Rico Gerardo Martinez (117-111) and Canada’s Benoit Roussel (120-108) – each reflected Saunders’ dominance.
Saunders spoke after the fight and was full of praise for trainer Dominic Ingle –
“I knew what sort of fighter David Lemieux is and I know what sort of coach he’s got,” Saunders told HBO’s Max Kellerman after the fight. “I knew what he was coming for. I look easy to hit, I look easy to hurt, I look easy to put down, I look like I’m running out of gas. But you can’t hit me. If David landed four shots on me the whole fight, and he’s a world champion, been in with the best … I like to come in someone’s backyard because I perform better.
“At this time last year, I was an absolute disgrace [against Artur Akavov] in Scotland. And I would never, ever jump in the ring again with a performance like that. And that’s down to one man and one man only, [trainer] Dominic Ingle from Sheffield. If it wasn’t for him, my boxing career would be finished and over.”
With the win, Saunders is surely in line for the winner of the GGG-CANELO rematch in May. GGG has spoken about his desire to fight Saunders and unify the division so a September bout would look most likely