By Scott Gilfoid: With a little less than a month to go before his title defense against #1 WBO David Lemieux (38-3, 35 KOs), WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders (25-0, 12 KOs) is looking thin already.
You can say that Saunders is looking TOO thin. This is what I was afraid of when the Saunders-Lemieux fight was first announced. Due to the high potential of suffering a knockout at the hands of Lemieux, I figured that Saunders would over-train and wind up taking too much weight off. It looks like I was correct. Saunders is looking like he’s been on a serious diet, and he’s way too thin right now for him to beat a knockout artist like Lemieux.
Before Saunders started training for his WBO ordered defense against the 28-year-old Lemieux, he was chubby and nowhere near the kind of condition that he would need to be in for him to hold onto his WBO 160lb. strap. But now, Saunders looks like he’s gone overboard with his weight loss, and I think he might end up being too thin. It’s not a clever idea for Saunders to be too thin for a knockout artist like Lemieux, as he won’t have the power to keep him off of him. Lemieux walks though guys that have no punching power.
Saunders and Lemieux will be fighting on December 16 at the Place Bell in Laval, Quebec, Canada. The winner of the fight will be in the position to fight Saul Canelo Alvarez or Gennady “GGG” Golovkin. There’s a lot of money to be made fighting those guys.
Look at these before and after photos of Saunders:
— Boxing Polls (@BoxingPolls111) November 17, 2017
As you can see, Saunders has taken off a mess of weight in getting ready for the Saunders fight, but in my opinion, he looks like he’s taken too much weight off. Unless Saunders plans on putting a little bit more weight back on, he’s going to have huge problems trying to stand and fight Lemieux on December 16. Let’s be clear about this. Saunders isn’t going to beat Lemieux by running around the ring for 12 rounds. If that’s Saunders game plan for the Lemieux fight, then he should vacate his WBO title right now and save himself the embarrassment of being knocked out by him. The only fighters that have done well against Lemieux were ones that stood their ground and fought him.
For Saunders to have a chance of beating Lemieux, he’s going to need to come into the fight at least 175 on the night of the fight. Saunders can’t boil himself down to below 170, and expect to be able to hold off a freight train like Lemieux.
The only positive that can come from Saunders losing to Lemieux due to him being too thin is it will give him a good excuse to tell his boxing fans after the fight. Instead of Saunders telling the fans that he got beaten by the better man, he can blame it on him being too light. Losing the fight will be detrimental to Saunders career, because he’s going to lose his only bargaining chip that he has for him to get a fight with Canelo or GGG. Without the WBO title, Saunders has nothing to lure either of those tarts to fight him. They’re not going to select Saunders for a fight if he can’t get past Lemieux. There would be no point in either of them fighting Saunders, because he’ll be just another one of the many guys that has been knocked out by Lemieux.