Billy Joe Saunders toys with, dominates David Lemieux to retain world title

Billy Joe Saunders fought outside of his native United Kingdom for the first time in his career Saturday and put on a boxing clinic.

He retained his WBO middleweight world title with a unanimous decision over David Lemieux at Place Bell in Laval, Quebec.

One judge scored it a shutout, 120-108, while the others had it 118-110, and 117-111, respectively. scored it 120-108.

Saunders (26-0, 12 KO's), 28, put on a dazzling performance, leaving Lemieux, one of boxing's most devastating punchers, lost, confused, and delusional.

"I wasn't at my best. Hats off to Billy Joe," Lemieux said. "As of the second round, my left hand, I couldn't use it the way I wanted to, and he was on the run, so I had difficulties throwing my jab. He was running away from the first round until the end. I guess that's his strategy to win, to run away from fighters who are fighting. If that's the way you want to win, congratulations."

It is simply ludicrous. Lemieux lost every round and got whipped. Saunders dictated the pace with an excellent jab and outlanded Lemieux 103 to 12 in that category.

Overall, Saunders connected on 165 of 430 (38 percent) total punches, while Lemieux landed just 67 of 356 (19 percent) punches thrown.

"I know you're booing me because I whipped your fighter's ass, but that's boxing," Saunders told the crowd. "I know what sort of fighter David Lemieux is; I know what sort of coach he's hot. I look easy to whip, I look easy to put down, I look like I can run out of gas. But you can't hit me.

Saunders, who was in his second fight with trainer Dominic Ingle, credited his coach for keeping him composed and sticking to the game plan throughout the bout.

"I wanted to put it on him. I really did want to put it on him," Saunders. "I went to put it on him and [Ingle] was screaming, "Take your time! Don't! Don't!' It was the best advice because then I picked, poked, and prodded him."

With the victory, Saunders has plenty of opportunities ahead of him, and they are all significant.

Saunders could fight Jermall Charlo, former middleweight titlist Daniel Jacobs, or the winner of the expected rematch between three-belt world champion Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez. Saunders wants the Kazakh.

"Golovkin, you keep saying you want my WBO belt," said Saunders, who has the only major belt he needs to become the undisputed champion. "Fight me now. You'll be punching fresh air."

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