WBO world middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders was in typically forthright mood when he faced off with challenger David Lemieux for the first time in Laval, Quebec.
Saunders (25-0, 12 KOs) makes the third defence of his crown in Canada — his first fight abroad — but showed no signs of discomfort as he delved into his expansive repertoire of verbal jabs ahead of the Dec. 16 clash.
Saunders told a press conference: “This fight has good fight written all over it. There is a lot at stake. I’m going to be very aware because as you all know, boxing is a funny game, it can end very quickly with one punch. And it goes both ways.
“David is going to eat some, and he’s going to beg me to finish him off.
“Styles make fight. It’s the classic match-up between the boxer and the puncher and I’m looking forward to it. I was born to fight, and I’m going to prove it by unifying the belts as soon as I’m done with David.
“Lemieux shows a lot of heart when he comes to fight but the real truth is, I’m too slick and too good for him. I’m in boxing to win and defend my belt all over the world, Lemieux is my tester for the winner of Canelo and Gennady Golovkin.”
Lemieux (38-3, 33 KOs) is a former IBF world champion himself — a strap he handed over after a one-sided stoppage defeat to Golovkin almost exactly two years ago.
The local fighter told his visitor: “I think that you are in for a surprise. I will be at my best and take the title from you.
“If the fight demands me chasing you, I will chase you. If the fight demands me to go toe-to-toe, I will. On Dec. 16, I promise that I won’t leave the Place Bell without the belt. I’m extremely excited. Let’s get it on.”