IF Billy Joe Saunders comes through Saturday’s WBO middleweight title defence against David Lemieux in Montreal it would barely make the top ten best British boxing wins abroad.
The Hatfield traveller knows it won’t rank with Lloyd Honeyghan beating Donald Curry, John H Stracey’s epic Mexico City triumph over Jose Napoles or Ken Buchanan being victorious in the fierce Puerto Rican heat against Ismael Laguna.
Those three stunners along with Kirkland Laing getting the better of Roberto Duran in 1982 and then vanishing for 12 months because he hated getting recognised on London buses are my personal favourites.
What a night of glory against Lemieux will do is present a path paved with dollar bills, and when he opens the door a golden ticket delivering a life changing pay packet against Gennady Golovkin or Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez will be thrust into his fists.
A fight against either GGG or Canelo with the likelihood of all four world title belts on the line following their likely rematch next May would trouser Saunders a hefty seven figure sum.
It’s ironic that Honeyghan, Stracey, Buchanan and Laing found it hard financially after boxing while Billy Joe has already made serious money they could only dream of.
Saunders joined promoter Frank Warren after boxing at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and it’s a relationship that has lasted - extraordinary in a generation where boxers often switch promoters.
He has been handsomely rewarded and tested Warren’s patience when he has taken his foot off the gas in training leading to poor performances and let loose on social media.
Warren has always believed in Billy Joe. Sprinkled in between off nights where he always found a way to win has been brilliance.
His world title winning performance against Andy Lee was a masterclass and a points success over Chris Eubank Jr is a result that continues to look better.
Lemieux might be one of boxing’s most feared punchers, but a repeat of the form showed against Lee and particularly the first six rounds against Eubank Jr and Saunders will be making an impressive and winning statement in Canada.
IT was quite disturbing that trainer Jim McDonnell got lashed by some fans after James DeGale’s shocking IBF super-middleweight title loss against Caleb Truax last weekend.
So often when a fighter gets beaten especially in an upset the trainer is the one who cops the flak.
McDonnell’s record statistically is as good as any trainer in the country and when DeGale was confirming his status as the world’s number one 168lb boxer with wins in America there wasn’t a Twitter queue taking potshots at him.
McDonnell, who was also one of the finest British boxers never to win a world title, will be wounded by the criticism even if he puts on a brave face.
DeGale said he needed to make changes, but I would still be shocked if Jimmy Mc was a victim.
When I filmed a Fighter By Trade with DeGale three weeks before the Truax setback, he lavished praise on McDonnell insisting he was his trainer for life.
Any decisions DeGale makes must be respected. It’s his career, but McDonnell should not be made a scapegoat.