OSCAR DE LA HOYA: Thank you to the media for joining us today in this International Media Conference Call for Saunders versus Lemieux. We are kicking off fight week with this call and have a week of events leading up to Saturday’s events, which will surely be a showdown between two heavy hitters this Saturday, December 16th, at the brand new Place Bell in Laval, Quebec, Canada. WBO Middleweight World Champion Billy Joe Saunders will battle the heavy-handed David Lemieux for Saunders title, which is a WBO title. This event is presented by Golden Boy Promotions and Eye of the Tiger Management in association with my partner Frank Warren.
Additionally, we have a spectacular co-event as part of the HBO telecast. Antoine “Action” Douglas versus Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan will be a ten-round fight for the WBO International Middleweight title presented by Golden Boy Promotions, Eye of the Tiger Management, and in association with GH3 Promotions and Murphy’s Boxing. And opening up the HBO telecast, we will have Cletus “Hebrew Hammer” Seldin returning to the ring just more than a month after his dominating knockout victory. He’s taking on a highly regarded Yves Ulysse Jr., and that’s a ten-round super lightweight, and that will be opening up the telecast on HBO, which begins at 9:40 Eastern/Pacific time. Tickets for the Saunders-Lemieux are priced beginning at $45 all the way up to $500. They’re still for sale. Tickets are going fast. We’re going to have a full house at the brand new arena. So at this time, it is my pleasure to introduce to you the president of Eye of the Tiger Management, my good friend and partner at Golden Boy Promotions, Camille Estephan.
Camille Estephan: Hello, everyone. It’s fight week. We’re here. We’re ready. This fight is going to be a war. We expect a show that we’ll talk about for the next decade. HBO undercard as well, two styles that, I think, will marry very well. Great fight, Action Douglas against O’Sullivan. I can’t wait to watch the fight myself as a fan. We thank you for supporting HBO, Golden Boy, Frank Warren. Everybody’s involved. So many promoters, so many people got together to put this great, great event together.
Oscar, Eric, and the team, wonderful job. Thank you very much. We’re ready here.
OSCAR DE LA HOYA: Thank you very much, Camille.
Let me introduce now the trainer for David Lemieux. Obviously, he’s been doing an amazing, amazing job. They’ve been training for months now getting ready for this incredible showdown on December 16th. Here is Marc Ramsey to say a few words. Marc?
MARC RAMSEY: First of all, I would like to thank everybody who made this happen, HBO, Golden Boy, Camille Estephan, and Eye of the Tiger Management, Frank Warren. I proposed to David Lemieux a couple of tough, tough training camps, but a very successful training camp where we reached every single goal in camp. I’m very enthusiastic about the performance of David Saturday night and a very nice victory just before Christmas for our fans here in Montreal.
OSCAR DE LA HOYA: Thank you. Thank you very much. So now it’s my pleasure to introduce to you Canada’s biggest star. He’s a former IBF Middleweight World Champion. He has a stellar record of 38 wins, 3 losses, and 33 knockouts. David is a thunderous puncher with tremendous, tremendous power in both hands. He captured the IBF World Middleweight Title against Hassan N’Dam in 2015, knocking the then world title holder out four times en route to a decision victory. This year, Lemieux blasted out title contender Curtis Stevens in a third-round impressive knockout, which is a contender for the Fight of the Year. And then also he went on to beat Marcos “Dorado” Reyes. Now he’s up for another big challenge in Billy Joe Saunders, and that will be for the WBO Middleweight title. It is my pleasure to introduce to you from Canada, David Lemieux.
DAVID LEMIEUX: Thanks, Oscar. Hi, everybody. I’m so excited for this week. Very, very grateful for another great opportunity to become world champion again. I’m thankful for everybody to be part of this. Thanks to Golden Boy Promotions, Eye of the Tiger Management, HBO, and everybody around. Thank you, guys. It’s been a great camp. I’m really excited for this fight. I’m more excited, actually, just to lay my hands on Billy Joe Saunders more than anything else. He’s got a big mouth. It’s rare I see fighters with such a big mouth. I just hope his fighting is going to come as close as his mouth on Saturday night. He has a very, very aggressive Lemieux on his back, and I’m going to be ready. I’m extremely prepared for this fight. So, it’s not going to be easy for him. It’s actually going to be hell for him. I’m here to knock him out. I’m here to destroy him every round. It’s 12 rounds. It’s unfortunate for him, but I’m ready for 12 big rounds. I’m excited for this fight to give the fans their money’s worth and finish the year with a new WBO title.
OSCAR DE LA HOYA: All right. Thank you, David. Do we have Team Saunders on?
BILLY JOE SAUNDERS: Here ready to rock and roll.
OSCAR DE LA HOYA: All right. It is my pleasure to introduce to you the man behind the WBO World Champion. Obviously, when you have a world champion like Saunders, you need a great trainer, and so it’s my pleasure to introduce to you Dominic Ingle. Dominic?
BILLY JOE SAUNDERS: No, this is Billy Joe. Dominic is not here. It’s the champ here, just the champ alone.
OSCAR DE LA HOYA: All right. So, let me — it is my pleasure to introduce to you, hailing out of Hatfield, United Kingdom, Saunders is undefeated coming off back-to-back defenses. He is the WBO World Champion. He demolished Irish Andy Lee in 2015. He is the WBO Middleweight Champion, fighting the likes of Willie “The Mongoose” Monroe. And on Saturday night he’s looking to stay undefeated, and he’s ready. He trained hard for this fight. So, it is my pleasure to introduce the WBO Middleweight Champion Billy Joe Saunders.
BILLY JOE SAUNDERS: Good afternoon, everybody. Training camp is very, very good. It’s come to an end now. Lovely, beautiful, it’s done. Fitness is done. Feeling in the best shape ever. No excuses. No excuses. Don’t need no excuses about injuries or anything else. It’s going to be a very good fight. I think David is a good fighter, but at the minute, he’s just the last bit of dog meat for me because (indiscernible) Golovkin told me I am the dog himself. And I know he’s given David a bit of a beating and also set that big fire out for me.
OSCAR DE LA HOYA: We will now open it up for questions from the media.
My first question for David is I guess this is going to be the first time there’s going to be a boxing event in this particular arena they opened this year in Laval. I wonder, just from your perspective, I know you’ve had a lot of fights in Quebec and in Montreal in particular, but what would it mean for you to win a world title in front of your hometown, the way you did the first time you won a world title belt, especially in a new building, and excited about the fight?
DAVID LEMIEUX: Well, it’s been done once. It’s going to be done twice. I think it’s going to be a great night for the fans, what I’m going to bring to the ring and how I’m going to fight. People are just talking about my punching power and this and that, but they’re going to be surprised once I start mixing it up with Saunders, and not just the punching behind here, there’s a boxer too. So, we’ll see how he holds up.
When you fought in your last fight that was — in a world title fight and you lost that fight. What makes you believe that your performance against Saunders is going to be a whole lot different than the way it went down against Golovkin? I know that wasn’t your best performance.
DAVID LEMIEUX: I’m a whole different guy than I am facing Golovkin. I’m a whole different guy. You put Golovkin back in front of me, and it’s going to be a whole different scenario. Now I’ve got Saunders to take care of. We’ve done everything we need to do in camp. I don’t think it’s going to be very difficult in the ring against him.
I’m going to be nice manners because it’s going to be hell for him. But I’m ready. I’m ready to take the title now.
You made it clear, David, in your opening remarks that you don’t really seem to have much like for Billy. I wonder where does that come from? What’s the reason? I’ve heard you talk in other fights, and you didn’t have that kind of animosity between Gennady Golovkin or even Curtis Stevens, necessarily. What is it about Saunders that has you going in the wrong way?
DAVID LEMIEUX: I’m going to make him pay in the ring. All this animosity is going to come out in the ring. If he thinks he can run away for 12 rounds, he’s in a lot of trouble. Q. Is there something he said that got you upset or something he did?
DAVID LEMIEUX: Well, he said a whole bunch of things. Just his character, he is who he is, and I don’t like him. Q. Billy, can you give me your perspective about traveling to your opponent’s hometown to defend your title. Your previous world title fights have taken place in front of the more friendly crowds over in the UK. Give me your mindset about coming to enemy territory.
BILLY JOE SAUNDERS: I go to enemy territory all the time. Where I’m from, when I boxed Andy Lee, it was the biggest feud amongst possible gypsy culture, English, Irish, Scottish, and Welsh all there in one mixture. Most of them there for Andy Lee. I perform under pressure. I’ve seen David’s absolute best performance against Gennady Golovkin. I think David is very weak in the mind. And at the end, I don’t care if it’s in his backyard, put the ring there. As long as there’s a ring we can get in, that’s all that matters. I’m quite happy to know I’m under his skin because, if he wants to play a boxing match, then bring a blindfold, and I’ll put it on, and I’ll beat him. That’s how confident I am.
Q. Do you have any regard for his punching power? Most people watch David fight, they think — and have seen knockouts he had against Curtis Stevens, and think of David honestly as one of the top punchers in the sport regardless of weight class. Do you have any thoughts about the kind of punching power he possesses?
BILLY JOE SAUNDERS: Against bums, yeah, knocking out old men, but he got stuck against Rubio. He’s a tough man with power. He lost his next and then fought bums all the way up until Golovkin. Curtis Stevens, he’s not an A-level fighter. He’s just a step up, a bit of a seasonal fighter. He’s really nothing special. He dealt with him, fair play. But he got spanked by Golovkin previous to that. When you mix him up against the very, very best of the league, he’s not quite comfortable. He didn’t win a round against Golovkin.
Q. One more question for you, Billy. Since you’re so confident you’re going to win this fight, what kind of big fight in the middleweight division or maybe a different division do you want after this fight? There’s obviously a possibility of a Canelo Alvarez-Gennady Golovkin rematch. What do you want to do after you beat him?
BILLY JOE SAUNDERS: I want whoever’s next. I would love to fight Canelo Alvarez. I would love to fight him. As long as it’s all a fair playing field here in Canada, which I’m sure it will. I don’t want no Canelo-Golovkin results. I want a fair result. If David Lemieux beats me fair and square, I will shake his hand. But when I beat him fair and square, he won’t even shake my hand, and rightly so.
Q. Billy, just what you just mentioned about going to basically his hometown and you want fair play, how concerned are you about the judging if the fight goes the distance? Continue reading