Benavidez on win over Lemieux: ‘Mike Tyson gave me the name ‘The Mexican Monster’, what do you think I’m gonna do?’

Once again, undefeated David “El Bandera Roja” Benavídez didn’t disappoint the hometown crowd as the Phoenix native became a super middleweight champion for the third time in dramatic fashion, scoring a third-round TKO against former world champion David Lemieux to win the vacant Interim WBC World Title on Saturday night at the Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona

Benavidez (26-0, 23 KOs) beat and battered a gutsy Lemieux (43-5, 36 KOs) from the opening bell knocking him to the canvas for the fifth time in his career midway through the second round on a massive uppercut that nearly sent Lemieux through the ropes. Lemieux somehow survived the onslaught of Benavidez’s power punches and returned to action in the third round. But Benavidez went right to work dishing out more and more punishment as Lemieux’s corner stepped in and signaled surrender to referee Harvey Dock, who waved off the fight with 1:31 remaining in the third round.

 Photos: Esther Lin/SHOWTIME

“Mike Tyson gave me the name ‘The Mexican Monster’, what do you think I’m gonna do?” Benavidez told Jim Gray after the fight. “I just feel like I’m the strongest 168 pounder. No one can mess with me.”

Benavidez staggered Lemieux in the closing seconds of round one, the big blow a left hook that sent Lemieux into the ropes with Benavidez pouncing with a 10-punch combination of uppercuts, hooks and straight jabs. Dock later said he was about to stop the fight had the bell not rung to end the round.

“Lemieux is a special type of breed,” said Benavidez, who landed 49 percent of his total punches and 52 percent of his power punches. “This guy was swinging until the end. I had to be on my p’s and q’s. He’s a tough champion, so my hat’s off to him. He’s the only one with the guts to face me.”

Lemieux never backed down and told Gray he was impressed with Benavidez. “I’m good, Benavidez is a hell of a fighter,” Lemieux said. “I congratulate him. After the first round I was okay, he had gotten me with some good shots. I tried to come back, but he’s a very good fighter.”

Benavidez said he wants the best the 168-pound division has to offer. “I’m waiting for [Caleb Plant, Jermall Charlo, David Morrell] to sign the contract. Them b****** know what’s up. I’m right here waiting for them. I’ll put myself up against everyone. I guarantee I’m knocking everyone out.

“I can get better everywhere. You can always learn. It only gets better from here. I’m just going to keep working. Facing tough guys like Lemieux just pushes me to keep moving to the next level.”

Benavidez is ready take over the 168-pound division

Unbeaten two-time world champion David “El Bandera Roja” Benavídez and former world champion David Lemieux officially kicked off fight week events with a media workout on Wednesday ahead of their 12-round showdown for the vacant Interim WBC Super Middleweight Title which headlines live on SHOWTIME this Saturday, May 21 from Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona in a Premier Boxing Champions event.

The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® telecast begins at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT and features two exciting undercard matchups as hard-hitting Cuban prospect Yoelvis Gómez faces Mexico’s Jorge Cota in the co-main event, while Dominican prospect Luis “The Twist” Núñez squares off against Mexico’s Jonathan Fierro in a battle of unbeatens that kicks off the action.

The two-power punchers (combined 85% KO rate for Benavídez and Lemieux) showed off their skills at Central Boxing Gym, as they look to grab the interim title and move one step closer to regaining world champion status with an emphatic victory on Saturday night. For Benavídez, he will be returning to fight in his home state for the second-straight outing, after he knocked out Kyrone Davis in front of his hometown fans in November.

Here is what Benavidez and Lemieux had to say Wednesday:

DAVID BENAVIDEZ

Photos: Esther Lin/SHOWTIME

“I definitely want to go out there and follow my gameplan. I don’t care [if the KO] comes in the first, second, fifth or 12th round. When it comes, it comes. I visualize everything I’m going to do in the ring.

“I just hit the weight yesterday and now everything is amazing. We took that stress off the table after four months of hard work. Now, I’m excited to go out there, fight for the title and give the fans a great fight.

“It makes me happy to be able to inspire kids and to see the smiles on the faces of the people in my city. It’s inspiring to have them come out and support me the way that they do.

“It means the world to me to be here in my hometown with my family – both my son and my dad. Now I know what my dad meant when he said that once you have a child, your life changes. My son Anthony is 18 months and he’s given me so much motivation to be the best version of myself.I have a newfound focus and I’m ready to conquer the division.”

DAVID LEMIEUX

“On fight night I’ll be about 180 pounds. I don’t care what he is at. Maybe 190? It doesn’t really matter. I’ll be ready no matter what.

“If he wants a war, he’ll get a war. I’m strong and I’ve very confident in my abilities. I know he’s a very strong fighter, but we have a plan going in against him. We’re not worried and we will do what we have to do to be at our best on fight night. David Benavídez will have his hands full on Saturday night.

“If you know David Lemieux, he’s never refused a fight and he’s always taken whatever fight they put in front of him. When we had big fights in the past, we always took them. If you want to be a world champion you have to fight the best.

“He’s a great fighter and you can’t take anything away from him, but he’s never fought David Lemieux and he will see what that means on Saturday night. I know what I’m going in there against. Does he know what he’s going in against?”

Lemieux withdraws from fight with Ryder due to hand injury

An unfortunate hand injury has forced David Lemieux (40-4, 34 KOs) to withdraw from his 168-pound debut against London’s John “The Gorilla” Ryder (27-4, 15 KOs) in what was going to be the scheduled 12-round co-main event of  Canelo vs. Jacobs. Lemieux injured his right hand during a sparring session, and his doctor has recommended that he rest for eight weeks before returning to the gym.

Details for the new co-main event will be announced shortly. The Canelo vs. Jacobs will continue as planned on Saturday, May 4 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and will be streamed live exclusively on DAZN.

Lemieux, a 30-year-old native of Montreal, Canada, is disappointed at his injury, but promises to return stronger than ever.

”Training camp was going really great,” said David Lemieux.“I felt in tremendous shape, the strongest I’d ever felt in my entire career. But, I will be back soon. Hopefully, the fans will understand. I promise I will make it up to them once I’m healed.”

“I’m very disappointed since he was in the best shape of his life both in the gym and in the ring,” said Camille Estephan, President of Eye of the Tiger Management. “We will take the time to heal his hand and get right back in the chase for a world title.”

“It’s very unfortunate that David Lemieux’s return has been postponed,” said Eric Gomez, President of Golden Boy. “But this is boxing, and these things happen. We wish David a speedy recovery and look forward to his return, so he can make big waves at 168 pounds.”

David Lemieux-John Ryder to headline Canelo-Jacobs undercard

David Lemieux (40-4, 34 KOs) will make his 168-pound debut when he takes on John “The Gorilla” Ryder (27-4, 15 KOs) in the scheduled 12-round co-main event of Canelo vs. Jacobs. The card will also feature the returns of Vergil Ortiz Jr., Pablo Cesar “El Demoledor” Cano, Joseph “JoJo” Diaz Jr., Sadam “World Kid” Ali and Lamont Roach Jr., in separate bouts. The event will take place Saturday, May 4 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and will be streamed live exclusively on DAZN.

“There comes a time when every fighter must move up in weight, and now is that time for David Lemieux,” said Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy. “Lemieux was the hardest-hitting puncher in the 160-pound division, and I’m absolutely certain he will be the biggest puncher at 168 pounds. John Ryder will be in for a tough fight on May 4. Also, this undercard will feature some of our brightest stars, including Vergil Ortiz Jr., who with only 12 fights will face a tough veteran in Mauricio Herrera. Golden Boy and DAZN have crafted an excellent night of action, so don’t miss out on this one!”

Lemieux, 30, was last seen on the televised pay-per-view undercard of Canelo vs. GGG 2when he scored a first-round knockout victory against Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan. The native of Montreal, Canada promises to be stronger than ever in his super middleweight debut.

“I’ve seen [John] Ryder fight,” said David Lemieux. “He’s a credible rival, but I’m going to make a statement out of what I’m going to do with him. At 168, I’m going to be the strongest that I’ve ever been.”

Ryder is a 30-year-old native of London who is the No. 1 contender for the WBA Super Middleweight Title. Ryder has faced tough opposition, including a close fight against Rocky Fielding and a tough battle against Billy Joe Saunders. The “Gorilla” is coming off a seventh-round technical knockout win against previously undefeated Andrey Sirotkin, and he’ll look to retain his shot at the title with a win against Lemieux.

“I’m fully focused on the fight with David Lemieux, but obviously there’s a massive pot of gold for the winner,” said John Ryder. “There’s the potential for a fight with Canelo or a fight with Callum Smith, which are both huge. Lemieux is a big puncher if you stand in front of him. I’m a boxer-fighter. I’ll box him at times and fight him at other times when it suits me. Our fighting styles are sure to gel for a great fight. I’m expecting to win and to win well. I’m there to keep my mandatory position.”

“We can’t wait for David to show that he can be a powerhouse in the super middleweight division. What better way to demonstrate this than by fighting the No. 1 contender in John Ryder!,” said Camille Estephan, President of Eye of the Tiger Management.

“This is a great fight on a great night of boxing,” said Eddie Hearn, Managing Director of Matchroom Sport. “John Ryder has been on a tremendous run, and now takes to the big stage in Las Vegas with the dangerous David Lemieux. It’s a huge fight for both with the winner being mandatory challenger for Callum Smith, and I fully expect that to be John Ryder.”

The undercard for this explosive co-main event will be filled with Golden Boy’s current and future stars.

Vergil Ortiz Jr. (12-0, 12 KOs) will face the biggest test of his career when he takes on Mauricio “El Maestro” Herrera (24-8, 7 KOs) in a 10-round welterweight battle. Ortiz Jr. is moving to welterweight for this fight only, and if he’s successful in this tough challenge, he’ll be on the fast track to a world title at 140 pounds.

Pablo Cesar “El Demoledor” Cano (32-7-1, 22 KOs) will defend his WBC International Silver Super Lightweight Title against Michael “The Artist” Perez (25-3-2, 11 KOs) in a 10-round fight. Cano will return after his dominant knockout victory against former three-division world champion Jorge “El Niño de Oro” Linares.

Joseph “JoJo” Diaz Jr. (28-1, 14 KOs) of South El Monte, Calif. will fight against a soon-to-be-announced opponent in a 12-round battle for the vacant WBA Gold Super Featherweight Title. Diaz Jr. will return after a dominant victory against rugged warrior Charles Huerta.

Sadam “World Kid” Ali (27-2, 14 KOs) will return in a 10-round clash for the vacant USNBC Silver Welterweight Title against Anthony Young (20-2, 7 KOs) of Atlantic City, N.J.

Lamont Roach Jr. (18-0-1, 7 KOs) of Washington, D.C., will unify his WBO International Super Featherweight Title in a 10-round battle against NABO Super Featherweight Champion Jonathan Oquendo (30-5, 19 KOs) of Bayamon, Puerto Rico. The winner of this bout will earn the No. 1 spot for the WBO Super Featherweight World Title.

Alexis Espino (1-0, 1 KO) of Las Vegas, Nevada will participate in a four-round super middleweight fight against a soon-to-be announced opponent.

Canelo vs. Jacobs is a 12-round fight for the WBC, WBA, Lineal, Ring Magazine and IBF Middleweight World Titles presented by Golden Boy in association with Matchroom Boxing. Lemieux vs. Ryder is a 12-round super middleweight battle presented by Golden Boy in association with Eye of the Tiger Management and Matchroom Boxing. The event is sponsored by Tecate, “THE OFFICIAL BEER OF BOXING” and Hennessy “Never Stop. Never Settle.” The event will take place Saturday, May 4, 2019 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and will be streamed live exclusively on DAZN.

Lemieux will battle Tureano Johnson on Canelo-Fielding undercard

Middleweight knockout sensation David Lemieux (40-4, 34 KOs) will look to make a second potential Knockout of the Year performance before 2018 ends as he takes on Tureano Johnson (20-2, 14 KOs) in the scheduled 12-round co-main event of Canelo vs. Rocky. The card will also feature the return of Sadam “World Kid” Ali and will showcase some of Golden Boy Promotions’ best rising stars. The event will take place Saturday, December 15 at Madison Square Garden in New York City and will be streamed live on DAZN–which, at just $9.99 per month after a one-month free trial, means new subscribers to DAZN will enjoy the entire Canelo vs. Rocky fight night for free.

“Golden Boy Promotions will give fans early Christmas gifts this year as we offer yet another great card to close 2018 on a very high note,” said Oscar De La Hoya, CEO and Chairman of Golden Boy Promotions. “David Lemieux still has his eyes set on Canelo, and that night they will be in the same arena. Lemieux knows that if he loses against Tureano Johnson, he can forget about any shot with Canelo. Also, each of these undercard fights, even the ones featuring Sadam Ali, Ryan Garcia, Vergil Ortiz and Lamont Roach, Jr., could easily be the main attraction of any other event, so fans should not miss out on this great night of action – especially when it’s free for new DAZN subscribers.”

Lemieux is a 29-year-old puncher coming off a spectacular first-round knockout victory against Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan on the televised pay-per-view undercard of Canelo vs. GGG2. The native of Montreal, Canada will look to earn another shot at the middleweight crown in this bout against Johnson.

“I’m extremely ready and looking forward to my next fight against [Tureano] Johnson,” said David Lemieux. “I didn’t take a break since my last fight because I thought that I would be facing Canelo. Training camp has been great. Johnson is a solid opponent. I’m ready for an explosive performance and a great victory to end the year in a great way.”

Johnson is a 34-year-old contender who hopes to fight for a world title despite some setbacks. Johnson’s only losses were against Curtis “The Cerebral Assassin” Stevens and Sergiy “The Technician” Derevyanchenko. If the native of Nassau, Bahamas can get past Lemieux, he will join a short list of fighters who are worthy of a middleweight title shot.

“David Lemieux is a former world champion, so he’s the kind of guy I’ll have to defeat if I want a shot at the title,” said Tureano Johnson. “I’ve had some setbacks in my career, but I’m feeling better than I ever have before. I’m excited to be part of this platform and will take advantage of this opportunity with a victory against Lemieux this December.”

“We are happy to have David Lemieux fight on December 15 in the Mecca of boxing,” said Camille Estephan, President of Eye of the Tiger Management. “He is having a great training camp and is getting ready to bring two sledgehammers to the ring, one in his left hand and one in his right. He’s healthy and ready to go.”

Former WBO Junior Middleweight World Champion Sadam “World Kid” Ali (26-2, 14 KOs) of Brooklyn, N.Y. will make his welterweight return against the rugged and experienced Mauricio “El Maestro” Herrera (24-7, 7 KOs) of Riverside, Calif. in a 10-round battle.

Ryan “Kingry” Garcia (16-0, 13 KOs) of Victorville, Calif. will fight for the first time under the tutelage of Eddy Reynoso, head trainer of Canelo Alvarez, in a 10-round lightweight battle.

Yves Ulysse Jr. (16-1, 9 KOs) of Montreal, Canada will return in a 10-round super lightweight fight.

Super lightweight knockout artist Vergil Ortiz (11-0, 11 KOs) of Dallas, Texas will return in a clash scheduled for 10 rounds. Opponents for Garcia, Ulysses and Ortiz will be announced shortly.

Lamont Roach Jr. (17-0-1, 7 KOs) of Washington, D.C. will defend his WBO International Super Featherweight Title against Alberto Mercardo (15-1-1, 3 KOs) of Humacao, Puerto Rico in a 10-round fight.

Bilal Akkawy (18-0-1, 14 KOs) of Sidney, Australia will take on Victor Fonseca (17-8-1, 14 KOs) in a 10-round super middleweight battle.

Munguia-Cook; Lemieux-O’Sullivan highlight Canelo-GGG undercard

Fans at T-Mobile Arena and millions watching at home will be treated to a stacked undercard featuring current world champions and returning contenders in support of the September 15 fight between Lineal Middleweight World Champion Canelo Alvarez (49-1-2, 34 KOs) and WBC/WBA/IBO Middleweight World Champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin (38-0-1, 34 KOs). The event will take place Saturday, Sept. 15 and will be produced and distributed live by HBO Pay-Per-View beginning at a special time of 8:00 p.m. ET/5:00 p.m. PT.

“This historic rematch between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin can only be supported by an equally great undercard,” said Oscar De La Hoya, Chairman and CEO of Golden Boy Promotions. “That’s why some of the best champions and contenders from all over the world will be featured on this event of international proportions, while some of our brightest prospects will have the opportunity of a lifetime on this undercard so they can one day headline events of this magnitude.”

In the co-main event, breakout Mexican star Jaime Munguia (30-0, 25 KOs) will make the second defense of his WBO Junior Middleweight World Title against rugged Canadian contender Brandon “Bad Boy” Cook (20-1, 13 KOs) in a 12-round battle.

Also on the card, former IBF Middleweight World Champion David Lemieux (39-4, 33 KOs) of Montreal, Canada and Irish warrior Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan (28-2, 20 KOs) of Cork, Ireland will go head-to-head in a 12-round middleweight battle that has Fight of the Year candidate written all over it. Former pound-for-pound king and former four-division world champion Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez (46-2, 38 KOs) of Managua, Nicaragua will make his highly anticipated return against experienced Mexican warrior Moises “Moi” Fuentes (25-5-1, 14 KOs) in a 10-round super flyweight battle that will open the HBO Pay-Per-View telecast.

On the non-televised portion of the card, super lightweight knockout artist Vergil Ortiz Jr.(10-0, 10 KOs) of Dallas, Texas looks to add another stoppage victory to his record as he takes on experienced warrior Roberto “Massa” Ortiz (35-2-2, 26 KOs) of Torreon, Mexico in a scheduled 10-round 140-pound fight.

Rising welterweight prospect Alexis “Lex” Rocha (11-0, 8 KOs) of Santa Ana, Calif. will risk his undefeated record against Carlos Ortiz (10-2, 10 KOs) of Torreon, Mexico in an eight-round welterweight clash.

Undisputed WBC/WBA/IBF/WBO Champion Cecilia Braekhus (34-0, 9 KOs) of Cartagena, Colombia will defend her titles in a 10-round welterweight fight.

Francisco Esparza (8-0-1, 3 KOs) of Las Vegas will take on a soon-to-be announced opponent in either a four or six-round featherweight fight.

Photo: Golden Boy Promotions

David Lemieux: ‘People like to see blood and big punches, and that’s what they’ll see on Saturday’

MONTREAL (Dec. 14, 2017) – WBO World Middleweight Champion Billy Joe Saunders (25-0, 12 KOs) and former IBF World Middleweight Champion David Lemieux (38-3, 33 KOs) hosted their final press conference on Thursday for their WBO World Middleweight Championship fight that will take place this upcoming Saturday, Dec. 16 at Place Bell in Laval, Québec.

Here is what the participants had to say:

BILLY JOE SAUNDERS, WBO World Middleweight Champion

“I’ve been in the ring 25 times now, and in a lot of those fights, I’ve been the underdog, bigtime. And in those fights, I was outboxed 60 per cent of the time. When you don’t love boxing and you’re still winning, and you look back and wonder, ‘how did I do that? How did I get through that?’ But when you do find a love for it, and you have good people working around you, people who make you happy – there’s a saying, a happy fighter is a thankful fighter. And I haven’t been this happy since my amateur days. For the last six or seven months, I’ve never been happier. I’m excited to get into the ring. I’m excited to get into the ring and eager to put on a classic display. Because not only am I mixing it with a boxer who is in the top-5, but I’ll be fighting in front of great fighters I’ve watched as a kid, like Bernard Hopkins and Oscar De La Hoya.”

“David has to come from round one and try to knock me out. Because when he’s eating fresh air, he’s very injury prone. But what I don’t want from David’s team are excuses. David is a good fighter, he’s mixed it with Golovkin at a very elite level. But some boxers are not quite enough to be at that elite level. And David, you’re not quite good enough. Am I good enough? We’ll soon see. In my own mind, I know I can deal with it, and then with Golovkin or Canelo, we’ll see where I really am.”

DAVID LEMIEUX, Former IBF World Middleweight Champion

“The time to talk is over and now it’s time to let the fists do the talk and show you who the real World Champion is. A lot of things are going to happen on Saturday, but my promise to you is that by the time I will leave Place Bell, I will have the WBO belt on me. I will be World Champion. I’m ready to give you guys a great evening of boxing. Saunders made a lot of promises, about his chin, about his purse, and that’s something I haven’t forgotten.”

Let’s see for how long you will be able to back up those words and put them together again this Saturday. I’m well aware of your abilities, I hope you are aware of mine. I’m not just a puncher. People like to see blood and big punches, and that’s what they’ll see on Saturday.”

CAMILLE ESTEPHAN, President of Eye of the Tiger Management

“We promised, we delivered, the goal was to offer the best boxing card in Quebec, and that is what we will deliver. The ultimate goal and what we want to make sure of, is that David Lemieux becomes World Champion again. He’s the real deal, he’s a man who represents our team as well as the province of Quebec with pride. I am so proud of the person and the athlete that he is, and also of all the efforts he’s put into this, inside the ring as well as outside.”

ERIC GOMEZ, President of Golden Boy Promotions

“This really is a historic event. Four different promoters here in Montreal. I want to thank Billy Joe Saunders for coming out here, we have great respect for you. He truly wants to be great. We are really excited for David, to have this other opportunity to be champion again. The fact that he is now able to give the fans in Montreal, an exciting fight, another world title is truly exceptional. This promises to be a historic event.”

PETER NELSON, Executive Vice president of HBO Sports

“It’s always great having shows in Quebec. Media always shows up, true fight fans always shows up. It’s truly wonderful when the sport works together to make great fights possible. There is no predetermined results in boxing. On Saturday night, we expect that all three fights are going to be 50/50 fights. I want to particularly thank the champion Billy Joe Saunders for stepping up and coming up into enemy territory to fight on David’s turf. I want to thank David Lemieux who’s never backed away from a great fight, who’s always stepped up for great challenges that’s been put in front of him like this one. We commend fighters like him, and we reward fighters like him. Sometimes, putting on events like this is complicated, but in this case, it was easy, because both fighters wanted to put on a great event. And that is, I think, what we are going to see on Saturday, from top to bottom of the show. “

BERNARD HOPKINS, Future Hall of Famer and Golden Boy Promotions Partner

“David Lemieux… Billy Joe Saunders… They both have the goods to carry on in the middleweight division, over the next year, 2018, with an excitement of what’s going to happen next. I look at this fight… We have two guys whose styles really go together. When you have that type of skills and that type of matchup, you’re going to have fireworks. Anyone that underestimates a fighter that Frank Warren brings over, from wherever he brings him from, you gotta take that seriously. I know from experience that he didn’t come here to lay down, he didn’t come here to give anything away. So David Lemieux has to know that he needs to be at his best. Both fighters now have the opportunity to become superstars in their weight division, but first they have to pass the test that comes Saturday. After the works that’s been done so far, the best is to come. “

FRANK WARREN, President of Frank Warren Promotions

“I think you’re in for something very special on Saturday. This is a great athlete I’m involved with, Billy Joe Saunders is a fantastic ambassador for British boxing, and he’s done everything the hard way, all the titles he’s won. He’s here, he’s in David’s backyard, and I think we’re going to see something very special, because we have two boxing styles that complement each other well. Billy’s a very smart boxer, he’s got a great chin, he’s never been on the floor whether it be in the amateurs or the pros, he’s gotten himself into a fantastic position at the moment. He’s in top shape physically and mentally. I think this has the potential to be the fight of the year. “

DOMINIC INGLE, Trainer to Billy Joe Saunders

“It’s going to be a great fight, it’s a 50/50 fight. I’ve always said that Billy Joe can walk the talk and walk the walk. Interesting analogy of Bernard Hopkins of boxing being like a book and a story. I think he is right, I’m reading the first chapter of Billy Joe Saunders. But I think we’re on the final chapter of David Lemieux. And he’s not going to have a fairy tale ending. This is a classic Bull and Matador fight. David can punch, Billy can box. And I can tell you that on Saturday, Billy Joe Saunders will be leaving the ring still WBO World Middleweight Champion.

David Lemieux on Saunders: ‘I will drop him and I will hurt him.

MONTREAL (Dec. 12, 2017)  Golden Boy Promotions and Eye of the Tiger Management, in association with Frank Warren and Vidéotron, today hosted a media workout for the upcoming WBO Middleweight World Championship fight between Billy Joe Saunders (25-0, 12 KOs) and David Lemieux (38-3, 33 KOs), set to take place thisSaturday, Dec. 16 at Place Bell in Laval, Quebec, Canada. The evening’s co-main event will feature Antoine “Action” Douglas (22-1-1, 16 KOs) against Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan (26-2, 18 KOs) for the WBO Intercontinental Middleweight title while Cletus “Hebrew Hammer” Seldin (21-0, 17 KOs) will face off against Yves Ulysse, Jr. (14-1, 9 KOs) in the opener of the HBO World Championship Boxing event that will kick off live at9:40 pm ET/PT.

Here is what the participants had to say at today’s media workout:

BILLY JOE SAUNDERS, WBO Middleweight World Champion:

“I’m used to fight outside the UK, I’m a traveler of the world. I don’t care if there’s a million people. It’s just me and him in that ring, end of the story. As for the rest, I don’t care.

“David has no chance of winning, and I’m convinced that he will not make the distance against me. I’m willing to bet part of my purse to charity if I lose and the winner will choose which charity to give it to. I’m not here for the money or anything like that, I’m here to make a statement. There’s no point in talking anymore, all that matters now is what happens on Saturday.”

DAVID LEMIEUX, Former IBF Middleweight World Champion:

“I’ve never said that I doubted his chin. Regardless he will hit the floor. And whether I win by knock out or go 12 rounds, it’s no matter. But I will drop him and I will hurt him.

“There are a lot of fans in England who’ve written to me because they don’t like Saunders, and they want me to get rid of him. I’ll do everyone a favor, I’ll take care of him.”

ANTOINE DOUGLAS, Middleweight Contender: 

“I’m very exited to have the opportunity to fight on HBO. I had a very strong camp, moved up to Jersey with my team. I’m prepared to fight 10 explosive rounds and give fans in Canada a show to remember.”

GARY O’SULLIVAN, Former WBC International Silver Super Lightweight Champion and Middleweight Contender:

“It’s absolutely fantastic to fight here on HBO! It’s a very big opportunity, and it’s nice to be here. To me, fighting out of town makes no difference because I fought most of my career out of town – the US, the UK, and I come from Ireland.”

CLETUS SELDIN, Super Lightweight Contender: 

“I’m nice outside the ring but once I’m inside the ring, I become an animal that I can’t even contain. I don’t come to score points but to do damage and hurt, and that’s the difference between me and Ulysse, Jr. My trainer and I have studied Yves Ulysse, Jr. and we know he is a solid boxer-puncher who fights with intensity and angles. He can try to dance like Sugar Ray Leonard but he is not Leonard. His strategy will not work against me, I’m very excited about being able to get back on the ring quickly and it’s an honor to be part of such a big event.”

YVES ULYSSE, JR., Super Lightweight Contender:

“He’s a high-calibre fighter, it’s gonna make a great show! I know that this fight will bring out my character, what kind of person I am. Every time I’ve faced obstacles, I’ve always responded with strength. I will do it again.”

Saunders vs. Lemieux, a 12-round fight for the Saunders’ WBO World Middleweight Championship, is presented by Golden Boy Promotions and Eye of the Tiger Management in association with Frank Warren. Douglas vs. O’Sullivan is a 10-round fight for the WBO Intercontinental Middleweight Title presented by Golden Boy Promotions and Eye of The Tiger Management in association with GH3 Promotions and Murphy’s Boxing. Seldin vs. Ulysse, Jr. is a 10-round super lightweight fight presented by Golden Boy Promotions, Eye of The Tiger Management and Star Boxing. The event will take place Saturday, Dec. 16 at Place Bell in Laval, Quebec, Canada and will be televised live on HBO World Championship Boxing beginning at 9:40 p.m. ET/PT.

Photo: Vincent Ethier / Eye of the Tiger Management

Billy Joe Saunders: ‘I think David(Lemieux) is very weak in the mind’

In order to keep his WBO middleweight title, Billy Joe Saunders is going have to go on the road to beat Canadien David Lemieux. Saunders will defend his title in a 12-round battle against Lemieux this Saturday at Place Bell in Laval, Quebec, Canada.

Saunders, who is from the UK, believes that fighting in Canada will not be a problem.

“I go to enemy territory all the time,” Saunders said in a conference call on Monday. “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.”

One thing that Saunders(25-0, 12 KOs) needs to worry about is Lemieux’s power(38-3, 33 KOs), but Saunders is not concerned.

“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,” Saunders said. “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.”

Saunders has the utmost confidence in his chin, and believes it will hold up against Lemieux.

“My chin will hold up. I’ll promise you that. That’s one thing I’ll promise you, my chin will definitely hold up,” Saunders said.

We’ll see if Saunders’ chin can hold up come Saturday night in Canada.